A league source has told NYI Hockey Now and Vegas Hockey Now that the Vegas Golden Knights are interested in Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov.
With Robin Lehner injured and the Golden Knights in a dogfight for the playoffs, Varlamov could slot in as the team’s starting goaltender during the stretch run. The Toronto Maple Leafs are also linked to Varlamov. But the asking price is high for the veteran goaltender with at least a first-round pick being in talks.
A veteran of 14 years in the league, Varlamov has played in 20 games for the Islanders this season. He currently has a .912 save percentage and a 2.85 goals-against-average. His cap hit is that of $5.5 million and he has another year left on his deal. So some salary-cap maneuverability will be required.
The Islanders are set to miss the playoffs after coming off two-straight trips to the Conference Finals. Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin have shared the net all season but given Sorokin’s age (26) compared to Varlamov’s (33) it makes sense that the Islanders would opt to stick with Sorokin.
The Golden Knights are in a bit of an unfamiliar position leading up to the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline. For the first time in team history, the thought of the team missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs might have something to it. The Golden Knights got back on track Thursday night with a big win over the Florida Panthers, but are still in a battle in the Western Conference standings.
Robin Lehner is out for the Golden Knights with a lower-body injury. He has denied rumors stating that he will miss the remainder of the regular season, but he still remains on IR. Laurent Brossoit and Logan Thompson have struggled in Lehner’s absence but LT took a step in the right direction with a 33 save effort against the Panthers and the win.
Varlamov could provide the Golden Knights with a veteran goaltender as their temporary starter. But due to the extra year left on his contract, he would likely stick around as the Golden Knights backup/1B option into next season. Laurent Brossoit would likely have to be dealt back to the Islanders in a hypothetical deal. The Islanders are reportedly not interested in retaining salary.
The asking price for Varlamov seems to be high with teams like the Golden Knights, Maple Leafs, Washington Capitals, and Edmonton Oilers all in need of a goalie. Lou Lamoriello is reportedly asking for a first-round pick and maybe more. Brossoit and a first from the Golden Knights may get it done.
The Golden Knights do not have their 2022 first-round pick as it was traded away in the Jack Eichel trade. But they do have their 2023 and 2024 first-round selections. Lamoriello is being patient with Varlamov as there is no rush for him to deal him. The Trade Deadline is scheduled for Monday, March 21st.