2015 Sabres Top 25 Under 25: #9 Robin Lehner
The Sabres starting goalie has a lot to prove in the coming seasons.
Weight: 225 lbs.
2014-15 team: Ottawa Senators
Acquired: Traded from the Ottawa Senators along with David Legwand for the 21st pick in the 2015 draft
Last year's ranking: N/A
When Robin Lehner was acquired, it wasn't exactly the most beloved move. Let's just say, it was a bit grim. I was one of you. Here were some of your reactions!
In one fell swoop, the day I've been looking forward to, for months, has been ruined.
I surrender. I want Darcy back.
So here is the Silver Lining in all this mess...We have an excellent chance to finish in the bottom three next year and so have a crack at Matthews...unless Murray screws us out of that chance too.
And you can't forget my personal favorite:
We can probably kiss our chances of landing O'Reilly goodbye too
Thank goodness they made that trade later that day, or else this is what the site would sound like for weeks.
To be fair, much of the outrage over Lehner wasn't exactly about him, but about the price it took to land him. The 21st pick was a lot to fork over, especially since there were other goaltending options available. Yet, Lehner is still very young, was a well thought of prospect and will be under the control of the Sabres years longer than Cam Talbot or Eddie Lack would have been. Lehner himself isn't a terrible choice, as he once was rather highly thought of.
Lehner was selected in the second round of the 2009 draft, the second goalie off the board. He quickly moved up the Senators depth chart, moving to the AHL after one junior season When he was with the Binghamton Senators he was named the MVP of the Calder Cup, helping Bingo win it's first title. He made his first NHL start at the ripe age of 19-years-old.
He had good numbers in a very small sample sizes his first three seasons, 25 games total. He posted save percentage numbers of .935 and .936 in his second and third seasons in Ottawa. However, when he started to carry more of the load his numbers went down heavily. This season he had a .905 save percentage, good for 37th in the NHL. He was dealing with a concussion after Clarke MacArthur and him collided.
Lehner has had to deal with a busy crease since coming to Ottawa. Ben Bishop was his competition before getting traded to Tampa Bay. Craig Anderson has been with the team since 2010, and Andrew Hammond is the latest commodity. The Senators signed former Boston University goalie Matt O'Connor this summer, sealing the deal that they'd have to move one of their goalies. They opted to move Lehner, likely because he had the most trade value by far.
So how good is Robin Lehner? It's a bit up in the air still, but if the Sabres are going to be successful in the next few seasons he's going to need to be all that Tim Murray thinks he is. He's never had the chance to be the bona fide starter until now. We will soon see if he is the franchise goalie he was touted as in Ottawa.