A National Hockey League goaltender has likely just burned a pair of bridges for good.
Veteran goaltender Robin Lehner has not exactly had a glorious path through the NHL thus far and although you can certainly attribute some of that to his own play, he also has not been given the best roll of the dice. Lehner entered the NHL with a lot of hype after he was selected in the 2nd round (46th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft due in part to his large side and promising talent. Unfortunately concussions caused Lehner to stumble in his first few seasons with the Senators and as we now know the internal workings of that organization leave a great deal to be desired.
After failing to ever secure a consistent spot as Ottawa's top goaltender the Senators would eventually give up on him, a move that proved to be quite valuable for them/ Both Lehner and Lehner and David Legwand were traded to the Buffalo Sabres for a draft pick that would go on to become Colin White but going from Ottawa to Buffalo wasn't exactly doing Lehner himself a huge favor. The Sabres were quite poor night in and night out when Lehner got there and things did not change much during his tenure with the Sabres.
In spite of finding himself in yet another frustrating situation on yet another losing team Lehner performed admirably for the Sabres. In his first season he appeared in 21 games and recorded a 2.47 goals against average and .924 save percentage over that limited stretch.Even with a bigger work load on his shoulders Lehner performed well for the Sabres in the following season, recording a 2.68 goals against average and a .920 save percentage over a 59 game schedule.
It appeared that Lehner would get an extension from the Sabres and was in fact reportedly negotiating such a deal with general manager Tim Murray before Murray himself was fired. Newly appointed general manager Jason Botterill seemingly has no interest in any such arrangement and he let Lehner walk as a free agent earlier this simmer.
Now Lehner finds himself a member of the third team of his professional career the New York Islanders, a team that he has yet to play for at this time. Lehner may be endearing himself to his new team at the moment but when asked about the situation in New York Lehner fired some big shots at the Senators and Sabres. Lehner who has yet to be used in a single game was asked about being sidelined and he seemed perfectly happen wit hthe situation.
Andrew Gross reports that Lehner expressed full confidence and support for head coach Barry Trotz and for Mitch Corn as well as the rest of the coaching staff and added that he needs to improve his own game before earning a start. It was a big change for the normally fiery and confrontational Lehner, but that may have a lot to do with the situation he currently finds himself in. Lehner added a big compliment to the Islanders while speaking with the media, but unfortunately for his former teams it will be a slap in the face.
Being with the Islanders is “like being part of a real team,” said Lehner.