It appears that one of the finalists for the Vezina Trophy may be on the verge of walking away from his team.
There have been reports for some time now that the New York Islanders and their goaltender Robin Lehner were not seeing eye to eye on a new contract. If I am being perfectly honest though I was convinced that due to Lehner's outstanding performance during the 2018 - 2019 National Hockey League regular season that the two sides would eventually to find a way to work out a deal before the July 1st free agency period kicked off in 2019. It appears I was wrong.
According to a report from Andy Strickland of Fox Sports, it now appears that Lehner has rejected the latest contract offer from the Islanders. It is a fairly significant one as well with the Islanders reportedly being willing to way Lehner an average annual value of $5 million per season over a 2 year term. Although there have been no reports to confirm this at this time, there are rampant rumors that the Islanders are not prepared to offer Lehner the term that he is seeking, no surprise given his substance abuse issues as well as his inconsistent play in the past.
Of course in spite of those issues Lehner was outstanding for the New York Islanders last season, with some arguing that the Vezina finalist should have gotten the nod for the award. Over his 46 games with the Isles he recorded an extremely impressive 2.13 goal against average and a .930 save percentage. Those are the kind of numbers that will earn you some big money, but I can understand why Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello and the Islanders are hesitant to give out a big term to Lehner.
We are now just a few short hours away from free agency though and this means that Lehner will become an unrestricted free agent and will have his pick of the litter when it comes to which team he plays for next. The million dollar question of course is whether or not there is another team out there that will be prepared to give Lehner a longer term deal than the Islanders were willing to offer.