NHL Notebook: Vegas Golden Knights and Toronto Maple Leafs give injury updates on goaltenders
2 months ago
During the off-season, a pressing question loomed over the Vegas Golden Knights: Would Robin Lehner be fit to return and hold his position between the posts this season? That question has finally been answered with the team’s announcement that he will commence the season on the Long-Term Injured Reserve.
In a press conference to kick off training camp, Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon conveyed that the shelved netminder is indefinitely sidelined and will remain on the LTIR.
Last season, the Golden Knights saw a revolving door of goaltenders assume the pivotal role between the posts, fielding five different netminders throughout the campaign. Despite this rotational challenge during the regular season, the team overcame adversity and thrived in the postseason, aided by the stellar performances of goaltenders Adin Hill and Laurent Brossoit. The collective effort was celebrated in Vegas’ triumph as the 2023 Stanley Cup champions.
One player who remained absent from their list of considerable netminders was Lehner, who wound up missing the entirety of the 2022-23 season after undergoing hip surgery in August of 2022. His last appearance on April 20th, 2022, saw him guard the crease for 20 minutes as a relief effort against the Washington Capitals. During this stint, Lehner faced 13 shots with 12 successful saves, contributing to a win for the Golden Knights.
As the previous season drew to a close, the speculation surrounding Lenher’s status with the team in the off-season reached a crescendo. Many anticipated that Vegas would weigh their options with the netminder, ranging from exploring trade considerations to a potential buyout, while some speculated that, if healthy, the 32-year-old would keep his place on the roster.
Lehner holds a five-year deal worth $5 million per season, fortified by a five-team no-trade clause. The arrangement positions him to become a free agent with the conclusion of the 2024-25 season. The goaltender has played 12 years in the NHL, splitting his time amongst five teams, including the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders, Chicago Blackhawks, and the Golden Knights. Of Lehner’s three years in the City that never sleeps, he’s posted a record of 39-21-4 with a .910 save percentage.
Alongside the revelation of Lehner’s current status, McCrimmon disclosed defenceman Daniil Miormanov will also be designated for placement on the LTIR after an undisclosed injury at the end of the 2022-23 season, and defenceman Layton Ahac’s status has been categorized as day-to-day.
Toronto Maple Leafs provide updates on goaltender Matt Murray
Brad Trevliving marked the start of training camp on Wednesday by providing an update on the injury status of goaltender Matt Murry, revealing he will undergo a “significant” surgery set to take place next week.
Treliving stated, “Matt Murray has worked closely with our medical team over the spring and summer and it’s been determined that Matt’s going to require a significant surgery which will require significant rehab.”
In a gesture of respect for Murray’s privacy, Treliving chose not to dive into the specifics of the injury but assured that he’d be happy to provide an update once the surgery is complete.
In Murray’s first season with the Maple Leafs in 2022-23, he posted a record of 14-8-2, accompanied by a .903 save percentage and a 3.01 goals-against average. Following an injury sustained after the first game of the season, Murray made a commendable return between the posts on November 15th, achieving an impressive 8-1-2 record over the ensuing 11 games.
However, as the season progressed, challenges emerged. Injuries saw Murray sidelined for a month and a half, beginning in late January, making consecutive wins a formidable task.
Prior to the announcement, a second buyout window opened for the Maple Leafs following the arbitration ruling for Ilya Samsonov. Many anticipated that Murray would be the candidate for waivers with the intent to buy him out, given the team’s tight cap situation. However, Treliving announced the netminder would be placed on the LTIR in July.
Notably, the 29-year-old has found himself on the injured reserve list approximately 10 times and has been limited to 27 games or less in the past three seasons, indicating that Murray has been battling some form of injury for a substantial period. Over 272 career games, he holds a record of 146-86-24 with a .910 save percentage and 2.79 GAA.
Trevliving also confirmed defenceman Jake Muzzin will not participate in the 2023-24 season due to a cervical spine injury and will remain on the LITR.
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