NHL Rumors: Golden Knights, Flames, Wild, NHL Playoff Sites, More

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, one scribe asks if the Vegas Golden Knights might consider keeping Robin Lehner and moving on from Marc-Andre Fleury. Speaking of goaltenders, have the Calgary Flames lost confidence in David Rittich? And, if the NHL condenses their playoff format, what cities might they be looking at to host games?

Golden Knights to Shop Fleury?

Jesse Granger of The Athletic posted a recent article looking at the potential chance the Vegas Golden Knights retain Robin Lehner and move on from netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.

Vegas Golden Knights Marc-Andre Fleury
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The Golden Knights acquired Lehner, 28, from the Chicago Blackhawks at the February trade deadline. He’s eligible for unrestricted free agent status at season’s end. Meanwhile, Fleury is 35 and might only have value on the trade market for a couple more seasons. Granger explains:

If Lehner outplays Fleury in the postseason, it presents an option to sign Lehner to a long-term contract and perhaps move Fleury. That would be the most shocking move in franchise history and this team just fired Gerard Gallant to hire the coach of its hated rival just a few months ago.

source – ‘Five pressing questions the Golden Knights need answered this offseason’ – Jesse Granger – The Athletic – 03/30/2020

Granger admits the more likely option is that the Golden Knights let Lehner walk in free agency and that it would take a huge effort from Lehner with Fleury falling hard to make this decision, assuming the playoffs even take place. It’s easier for Vegas just to find another backup on the market.

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What Will Flames Do In Goal?

On the topic of goaltenders, Sportsnet’s Eric Francis recently examined the Calgary Flames’ goaltending depth and what may happen with Cam Talbot and David Rittich. Talbot, 32, is due to become a UFA after this season and the Flames may not be sure Rittich is up to the task of being a starter.

Cam Talbot Calgary Flames
Cam Talbot, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Francis believes the Flames will try to re-sign Talbot after a strong season but how well he played and interest around the league in goaltenders might convince Talbot to test the free-agent market. Francis suggests the Flames might even use their extra cap space to try and land someone like Lehner or Jacob Markstrom.

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NHL Looking at Playoff Host Cities?

NHL insider Pierre LeBrun noted on the TSN Insider Trading update that the league is considering a “four city” playoff format. Basically, the 16 teams who qualify for the playoffs will play to empty crowds in just four chosen cities across the league. 

Shawn Simpson of TSN notes, “The NBA is looking at Vegas as a quarantine site, to finish the NBA season. What could possibly go wrong? The NHL is talking about Saskatoon.”

Evason Will Remain Coach of Wild

If the NHL season resumes, GM of the Minnesota Wild Bill Geurin has noted that interim coach Dean Evason will remain head coach. Guerin explained that any decision on who will coach the team next season can wait.

“Other people can do what they want, but to me personally, it doesn’t seem the time or place to do that,” Guerin said. He added, “If we come back (this season), hopefully we do, we already went through one coaching change. I want to give the guys the consistency of Dean’s thoughts and give Dean that opportunity too. And I’m very happy with him.”

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Micheal Ferland Finally Getting Healthy

When Rick Dhaliwal of TSN looked into the status of Vancouver Canucks’ forward Micheal Ferland, there was finally good news to report. He was told by Ferland’s agent Jason Davidson that “Mike is back in Brandon working out and experiencing zero symptoms.”

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