The Vegas Golden Knights have had a need for goaltending depth all season, and they addressed in a massive way on Monday.
The Toronto Maple Leafs also became involved in this trade to make it a three-team trade and will retain a portion of Lehner’s salary.
From the Maple Leafs:
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced today that the club has acquired Vegas’ fifth-round selection in the 2020 NHL Draft in exchange for forward Martins Dzierkals to complete a trade between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Vegas Golden Knights. The Maple Leafs have retained a portion of goaltender Robin Lehner’s salary as part of the transaction.
CapFriendly lays out of the important details.
The Lehner to Vegas trade was actually a three-way trade between Chicago, Toronto, and Vegas
The easiest way to show the result is using a picture of our trade engine: pic.twitter.com/mBfUY1uMlH
— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) February 24, 2020
This is a significant move and could play a huge role in the Pacific Division race, as well as the entire Western Conference playoffs. Goaltending has been one of the single biggest issues for the Golden Knights all season due to Marc-Andre Fleury having a down year and the team having no reliable backup behind him. The latter part for the past two years has resulted in Fleury taking on a huge workload, which is not ideal for a mid-30s goalie.
That will no longer be an issue.
Lehner is not only a massive upgrade over Subban and the Golden Knights’ other backup options, he also serves as a great safety net in case Fleury slumps or is injured.
He has been one of the league’s best goalies the past two years and is an unrestricted free agent after this season.
The latter point is why it makes sense for the Blackhawks to make this move. The team is going nowhere this season and there was no guarantee they would be able to re-sign him. Holding on to him for what would almost certainly be a doomed Hail Mary attempt at a playoff spot this season would have been managerial malpractice on the part of the Blackhawks.
They had to get something here.