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Golden Knights Analysis

Lehner’s Injury Gives Logan Thompson A Clear Path To NHL

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Thursday’s shocking injury news regarding Robin Lehner leaves us with a lot to talk about for the Vegas Golden Knights. Perhaps the biggest question of them all is who will be the Golden Knight’s new starter? Yesterday we looked at five options outside of the VGK organization that could potentially be acquired to patch the team’s hole at goalie. Today, we will look from within.

Laurent Brossoit, Logan Thompson, Michael Hutchinson, Jiri Patera, Isaiah Saville, Jesper Vikman, Cameron Whitehead, and Carl Lindbom make up the remainder of the team’s goalie depth. Let’s take a look at these players and rank them in their likelihood of being the Golden Knight’s new starter.

Logan Thompson- Emerging Starter?

Last season when the Golden Knights were going through similar injury issues, Logan Thompson was summoned from the Henderson Silver Knights and looked strong. In 19 total games, he managed a record of 10-5, a .914 save percentage, and 2.68 goals against average.

One of Thompson’s biggest strengths is his overall confidence level. Despite being a rookie goaltender, in 2021-22, LT looked calm and composed and was not phased by anyone, including Alex Ovechkin.

Yesterday amidst the Lehner news, Thompson posted his new pad setup for 2022-23, basically saying ‘I’m ready.” It’s likely a coincidence how the pad design was ready the same day Lehner’s status was announced, but still poetic nonetheless.

There is nothing left for Thompson at the AHL level, as he has done everything he can with the Silver Knights. The undrafted goaltender was the AHL West’s goalie and rookie of the year in 2019 and was named the overall top goaltender in the AHL in 2021, as he also had the highest save percentage.

Goaltenders usually take a little longer to develop a path into the NHL as not everyone is Marc-Andre Fleury. At 25 years old, the time is nigh for Thompson to enter the NHL permanently. The biggest red flag for him being the Golden Knight’s new starter is obviously his experience level.

But that can only change by giving him starts in the NHL.

Laurent Brossoit- Backup

Like Lehner, Laurent Brossoit also had offseason hip surgery. But unlike Lehner, he will play in the upcoming season. It is up to Bruce Cassidy and the Golden Knights to decide just how much they will utilize Brossoit as they won’t want to repeat the same song and dance when it comes to hip injuries in their goaltenders.

The last thing the VGK need is for Brossoit to go down as well. In the event that this happens, I think the Golden Knights will cut their losses and look at the trade market then for an additional goaltender as Thompson and Michael Hutchinson is far too risky of a tandem.

In his eight season in the NHL, Brossoit has proven to the be epitome of a solid NHL backup. His role will most certainly increase this upcoming season with Lehner out. He will be looking for a bounceback season after a shaky and injury-ridden second half to his first season as a Golden Knight.

Michael Hutchinson- AHL Depth

The Golden Knights signed journeyman NHL/AHL goaltender Michael Hutchinson to a two-year deal during NHL free agency. As a tenured NHL goalie with 137 games of experience, he will likely get a call up or two this season from the Golden Knights and see some games.

But at 32-years old the upside for Hutchinson is merely an AHL starter and backup on a bad team. He can be utilized as a third goaltender for the Golden Knights in 2022-23. Jiri Patera, Isaiah Saville, Jesper Vikman, Cameron Whitehead, and Carl Lindbom are also in the Golden Knights system, but will likely all stay playing in the minors or in other leagues.

Consensus

From the way things currently stand, it looks like the Golden Knights will enter 2022-23 with Thompson and Brossoit as a tandem. We are simply too late into the offseason for Kelly McCrimmon to do an energy search for a replacement goaltender. Besides, he still has two RFA’s left to re-sign.

As mentioned before, the only way I see the Golden Knights making a move for a goaltender would be if Brossoit or, god forbid, Thompson also go down with an injury. Here’s a list of 5 possible replacements.

Keep an eye on LT. He will have every opportunity to succeed with the Golden Knights, and here is hoping he can carve out a solidified roster spot with this chance in 2022-23.

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Owen Krepps covers the Vegas Golden Knights for Vegas Hockey Now. A 2022 Robert Morris University graduate, he has previously written for RMU Sentry Media, Colonial Sports Network, The Titusville Herald, Pittsburgh Sports Now, and Pittsburgh Hockey Now.

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Fraser

Thompson, 25, went 10–5–3 with a .914 save percentage in 19 appearances with the Golden Knights last season. I like it….the future is now….Logans time to shine.

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