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Golden Knights Trade Talk

5 Goaltending Options for the Vegas Golden Knights at the Deadline

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Joonas Korpisalo Columbus Blue Jackets (Photo- Columbus Blue Jackets via Twitter)

The Vegas Golden Knight’s plans for the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline have been halted by three things. First and foremost the team has no salary cap space given the acquisition of Jack Eichel. Secondly, the Golden Knights currently have ten injured players on their roster.

And finally, the team has lost ten of their last fourteen games making some question if this team will even do anything as the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs become more unlikely. If the Golden Knights do make a move, it is likely going to be in net with Robin Lehner out for the foreseeable future.

Laurent Brossoit and Logan Thompson have allowed 17 goals in the past three games. Lehner is out and might require crutches if he decides to get surgery for his lower-body injury. Robin Lehner and injures have gone hand and hand this season and it has been tough for the Golden Knights starter to stay consistent as a result.

The Trade Deadline is only five days away, and general manager Kelly McCrimmon is likely looking at the NHL goaltending market for an opportunity to improve his team. There is no shortage of names on the market with some overshadowed goaltenders as well as some reliable backup options.

Let’s get into some of the goalies the Vegas Golden Knights could add at the 2022 Trade Deadline.

Emerging Starters

Joonas Korpisalo

There are two goaltenders that I look at in this year’s trade deadline that I could see becoming starting goalies in the NHL given the right circumstances. They are Joonas Korpisalo and Alexander Georgiev. Both have been overshadowed by starting goaltenders with Igor Shesterkin and Elvis Merzlikins. Both have also struggled this season. Perhaps a change of scenery is what they need.

Korpisalo already has seven years of NHL experience under his belt at 27 years old. He has played in 19 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets this season and has a .883% save percentage. His cap hit is that of $2.8 million and he is a pending UFA.

Perhaps what Korpisalo is most remembered for is making 85 saves (the most in NHL history) in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Blue Jackets and Lightning’s Game 1 played eight periods in that game and before Brayden Point scored in the fifth overtime.

The price might be high for Korpisalo, especially given the Blue Jackets’ recent deadline history. They have sold off both Nick Foligno and David Savard in recent deadlines for first-round picks. Given Brossoit’s shaky past handful of games, it is not completely out of the question for him to be available.

But it might be worth it as Korpisalo, in my opinion, is the best fit available for the Golden Knights if they want to add a goaltender.

Alexander Georgiev

The other option for the Golden Knights if they want to try and find a diamond in the rough is with Alexander Georgiev of the New York Rangers. Similar to Korpisalo, Georgiev is being completely overshadowed by what might be a Hart and Vezina Trophy season from Igor Shesterkin.

Seriously he has had to resort to making saves from the bench this season.

Also similar to Korpisalo, Georgiev is most famous for an oddity of an event as he was the player that had an altercation with former teammate and now Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Anthony DeAngelo.

In 24 games this season Georgiev has a losing record at 8-9-2. His save percentage is that of .892 and his goals-against-average is 3.14. He has one year left on a deal that pays him $2.4 million.

There is a chance that the Rangers would want to hold onto Georgiev as they will be back in the Stanley Cup Playoff this season and Keith Kinkaid is currently their third option.

The Rangers have cap space, which could make a potential deal between the Golden Knights and Blueshirts even more interesting. Jeff Marek has suggested that the Rangers are interested in Reilly Smith a pending free agent who is currently out with a knee injury. The NHL right of Vitali Kravtsov are also still owned by the Rangers which could be added to the deal.

The first option for the Golden Knights will likely be looking at one of these young underutilized goaltenders that can potentially go on a run with the team and get them into the playoffs.

Veteran Backups

Jake Allen

Option two for the Golden Knights is less risky. They acquire a veteran backup goaltender who can come in and start some games while Lehner is out.

Jake Allen is returning from injury with the Montreal Canadiens. He is on the second to last year of a $2.8 million contract and is 31 years old. The extra year on his contract would likely make him the Golden Knight’s backup next season meaning bad news for Brossoit.

Allen has played in 24 games this season amidst the Canadiens goaltending carousel. He currently has a save percentage of .904% but has nine years of NHL experience and a Stanley Cup to his name. The Golden Knights could look to Allen as their goaltender for the stretch run to try and make the playoffs.

James Reimer

Reimer is essentially in the same boat as Allen as an experienced 34-year-old goaltender who has another year left on his contract past this season at $2.25 million.

Again, given his experience, the Golden Knights could look to Reimer to be their temporary starter and get them into the playoffs until Lehner comes back. Peter DeBoer has a history with Reimer as well as they both went to the Stanley Cup Finals with the San Jose Sharks together in 2016.

But injuries may keep Reimer from being moved. The last thing the Golden Knights need is another injury-prone goaltender.

Thomas Griess

Griess has only one year left on his deal with theĀ Detroit Red WingsĀ but it comes at a bit of a steeper price at $3.6 million. In 13 years of NHL experience, the furthest he has made it in the Stanley Cup playoffs was with the New York Islanders in 2019-20 behind Semyon Varlamov.

But one thing stands out with Griess as opposed to others and that is his relationship with Robin Lehner. Griess and Lehner combined to win the William M. Jennings Trophy in 2018-19 for the goaltending tandem with the overall highest save percentage with the New York Islanders.

Adding Griess as a temporary starter and backup for when Lehner comes back might boost Lehner’s overall play as well and get him back to his 2019 season form. Given Griess’ age of 36 years old, this might be his last season in the NHL.

Darkhorse Candidate

Karel Vejmelka

Veljmelka could be considered one of the most underrated names on the trade market this year. That is, assuming the Arizona Coyotes will be willing to deal him. The rebuilding Coyotes have 16 expiring contracts on their active roster with Veljemlka being one of them, set to be an RFA. Arizona seems to be making everyone available as they enter yet another chapter in their franchise’s rebuild.

It would be a risky bargain for the Golden Knights to go after such an inexperienced goaltender. But Veljmeka has impressed this season despite being on a bad team and he may be on the path to becoming an NHL starter.

His cap hit is more than reasonable given that he is still on his ELC. The 25-year old only takes up $842,500 against the salary cap.

This move is a long shot, but if the Golden Knights are looking for a young goaltender that might be able to go on a run and get them into the playoffs, Velkmelka might be their guy.

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