As training camp winds down for the Vegas Golden Knights, coach Peter DeBoer is painfully aware of the situation he has as it pertains to his team’s goaltending. Especially with the 2021 season opener vs. Anaheim Thursday rapidly approaching.
Both Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury have acquitted themselves well through the first half of the 10-day camp and DeBoer said there is a plan for the way he uses his tandem.
“I’m sure to start the season we’ll look at some kind of 50-50 split,” he said Saturday. “We’ll get their games established and ease them in. And then we’ll go from there and all bets are off as we go from there.”
Lehner signed a $25 million contract extension in the fall and he’ll be with the Knights for the next five years. Fleury has two years left on his deal at $7 million per. There had been much speculation that Fleury would be moved in the offseason after the now infamous photo his agent Allan Walsh posted on social media depicting his client having a bloody sword through his back with the name “DeBoer” on the blade. But Fleury remains with the team and he will play.
💻 DeBoer: In three years, this team has been to the Stanley Cup Final and the Conference Final. There are teams that have gone decades without winning a round in the playoffs. I think they've set the bar for expansion teams going forward. This is a great place to work and play. pic.twitter.com/EI86WPG2Ez— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) January 9, 2021
DeBoer said he has a good feel for what both can do so it’s not as big a concern to him now. He’s still trying to see who is going to play in front of his goalies. Which was why he decided to hold a second game at T-Mobile Arena Saturday night after the team played against each other Thursday.
“I thought it was a little bit sloppy,” DeBoer said of the first contest. “But it was to be expected give in was the fourth day of camp. So we called an audible and we’re going to do it again tonight.”
DeBoer said he’s seeing a lot of positive things from a lot of people and there may be some hard decisions to make for those final opening night lineup spots. But one guys who need not worry is defenseman Shea Theodore. He is looking to use his strong play in the playoff bubble last summer as a catalyst for a bigger year. Playing with veteran Alec Martinez for the entire season will certainly help his development and having Alex Pietrangelo to take some of the pressure off him to contribute offensively will be important.
“Those so many layers to Theo’s game,” DeBoer said. “You could see his confidence grow last year and he’s a year older, more mature and having Petro (Pietrangelo) will help him too.”