Golden Knights trade for Chicago goalie Robin Lehner


Nam Y. Huh / AP

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Robin Lehner looks up the score board during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Boston Bruins in Chicago, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.

Published Mon, Feb 24, 2020 (12:19 p.m.)

Updated Mon, Feb 24, 2020 (2:48 p.m.)

At the buzzer, the Golden Knights made arguably the biggest move of the trade deadline.

The Golden Knights swung a trade for Chicago goaltender Robin Lehner today, moments before the noon deadline. It was a three-team deal with Toronto in which the Maple Leafs retained a portion of Lehner's salary. In return, Vegas sent current backup goalie Malcolm Subban, prospect Slava Demin and this year's second-round pick to Chicago, and this year's fifth-round pick to the Maple Leafs. Vegas also acquired prospect Martins Dzierkals from the Maple Leafs.

Lehner has a .918 save percentage, which ranks 11th in the league, and has been worth 10.1 goals saved above average, which is 13th. He makes $5 million against the cap this season and is an unrestricted free agent this summer.

In a separate trade, the Golden Knights acquired forward Nick Cousins from the Montreal Canadiens for a 2021 fourth-round draft pick, the team announced. He is a strong defensive forward who had 22 points in 58 games with Montreal this season and he is a restricted free agent this summer. He figures to slot onto Vegas' third line, particularly with Alex Tuch and Cody Glass sidelined with injuries.

The prize of deadline day though, was Lehner. He was a Vezina Trophy finalist last season with the New York Islanders as part of a timeshare in net with Thomas Greiss. He joined the Blackhawks this year on a one-year deal to share the net with Corey Crawford.

Presumably, Vegas envisions a similar 1a and 1b situation with Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury, who has struggled this season after a terrific start.

Fleury has a .906 save percentage, which would be his worst since the 2009-10 season. He’s also been worth minus-6.34 goals saved above average, which ranks 64th in the league.

Even if Fleury remains the starter, having a terrific backup could allow the Golden Knights to get Fleury more rest as the season goes on. Subban has struggled mightily with an .890 save percentage this season in his current role.

It is the third deadline in team history and the third time Vegas has swung a deal in the final minutes of the deadline. Two years ago, the Golden Knights acquired Tomas Tatar, and last season they got Mark Stone.

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