Fate of Key NHL Goalies for 2020-21 Season

NHL goalies 2020-21 season
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 28: Robin Lehner #90 of the Vegas Golden Knights makes a diving save against the Buffalo Sabres in the third period of their game at T-Mobile Arena on February 28, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Golden Knights defeated the Sabres 4-2. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

At least four well known NHL goalies may be changing teams when the 2020-21 season begins. We will cover who they are and what the chances are that they will stay put, or move on to another team.

NHL Goalies Fate for the 2020-21 Season

Where Will These Goalies Play Next Season?

Robin Lehner

This well-qualified netminder has been bouncing around the league lately. Robin Lehner has played for four different teams over the course of the last three seasons. The likelihood of him staying with his latest team, the Vegas Golden Knights seems remote at best. With the Sin-City team obligated to pay Marc-Andre Fleury $7 million over the next two seasons, they would need to make some roster adjustments to overcome a shortfall of cap space to accomplish that.

It gets worse if the salary cap remains at its present $81.5 million ceiling or even decreases below that. They would only have a little over $8 million to sign all of their free-agent players.

Paying Lehner a contract over the $5 million he was earning when they acquired him looks to be quite a trick to get done. Vegas has four other unrestricted free agents and two restricted free agents to consider.

Over his past two seasons, Lehner has really picked up his game which will allow him to pick and choose where he wants to play next season. His best year was with the New York Islanders where he went 43-25-13 with a .930 save percentage and a stellar 2.13 goals-against-average.

While staying in Vegas would really solidify their one-two punch in net, it seems that Lehner may be headed somewhere else. Sorry, Vegas you come up with snake eyes on this one.

Braden Holtby

It seems that the Washington Capitals and Braden Holtby may be parting ways. He is currently earning $6.1 million and there’s a really up-and-coming rookie goalie by the name of Ilya Samsonov ready to take his place. The Capitals also have Pheonix Copley, who was the backup goalie the previous two years sitting in the AHL. He is signed for two more years at a cap hit of $1.1 million per season. The team could save a lot of space by going with Samsonov and Copley next year.

Holtby has really decreased his value with his less than admirable play this season. He has a good 25-14-6 record only because he is on a good team. His other statistics show that he has to regain his old game. He has a .897 save percentage which is horrid at best. His 3.11 goals-against-average is nothing to brag about either.

It seems the stars are aligning for Holtby’s exit, especially when you consider how well Samsonov is playing. Holtby would be a really expensive backup.

So, where would Holtby land? If Jacob Markstrom were to leave the Vancouver Canucks, Holtby could attempt to redeem his game there. Of course, he may need to take a pay-cut since the Canucks are currently paying Markstrom $3.67 million to be their starter, and also have Thatcher Demko knocking on the door.

Jacob Markstrom

We all know that when the Chicago Blackhawks traded Lehner, they had to realise that an ageing Corey Crawford may not fill the net the way they would want. They really need a younger goalie, and Jacob Markstrom may fill that bill. With a Markstrom/Crawford tandem in net, the Chicago team may be able to shake some of its issues keeping pucks out of their net.

Markstrom’s three-year $11 million contract is expiring at the conclusion of the season (whenever that may be). He may want to test the market and Chicago may be ready to make a deal to lure him to the Windy-City.

It would be a good move for Chicago. They still don’t know how reliable Crawford’s health will be going forward.

Henrik Lundqvist

King Henry’s reign may be coming to an end. At 38-years-old, all good things must come to an end. His record this season displays his deterioration of the level of play we’ve seen from him for years. He has gone just 10-12-3, with a 3.66 goals-against-average and a .905 save percentage. Compared to his lifetime NHL stats of 459-310-96 with a 2.43 goals-against-average and .918 save percentage, the writing is on the wall.

Henrik Lundqvist has another season after this one with an $8.5 million cap hit and it seems the competition for the job is catching up to him. With two younger prospects getting more ice time, Lundqvist could see his contract bought out, although that would cost $7 million over two seasons. The Rangers could also try to trade Lundqvist, even if they have to retain salary. Alexandar Georgiev has played well and so has Igor Shesterkin, the apparent heir to King Henry’s throne. Shesterkin has had an impressive 10-2-0 record and a 2.52 goals-against-average with an even more eye-opening .932 save percentage. Georgiev will need a new contract coming off of his entry-level deal at this season’s end.

It would be sad to see such a class act netminder go to the wayside. He really doesn’t seem interested in playing elsewhere and has a no movement clause in his contract. He is a New York Rangers 15-year veteran.

Conclusion

There will be some movement for NHL goalies for the 2020-21 season. Teams will be deciding what to do about their all imperative goalie position as the next season approaches. Possibilities are endless, but the one that may be certain is that Lehner will be moving elsewhere… again. It’s quite obvious he will want to settle down somewhere and save on moving expenses.

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