In continuation with SenShot’s review of this year’s Binghamton Senators, we take a look at the future of the franchise, goaltender Robin Lehner. With goaltending always being the Achilles heel for the Senators organization, Lehner is the great white hope. Read on to find out how Lehner’s upcoming year could turn out.
Standing 6’4” and 225 lbs, Lehner is a big boy who plays a butterfly style and covers a lot of net. Playing this past season in the OHL for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Lehner had a record of 27-13-3 with a GAA of 2.80 and a SV% of 0.918. On top of these impressive numbers, he also had five shutouts and guided the Greyhounds back to the playoffs after they spent the previous season at the bottom of the standings. After the Greyhounds bowed out of the OHL playoffs, Lehner signed an entry level contract with the Senators and suited up for two games in Bingo. In the summer, the Senators informed the Greyhounds that Lehner would not be returning this season as he will be playing at the pro level either in the NHL or AHL.
Where will Lehner be playing this upcoming season? With Leclaire and Elliott in Ottawa, most likely he will be suiting up for Binghamton and battling Mike Brodeur for games. With Brodeur now being considered a legitimate goalie prospect, he has earned a chance to be the starter for Bingo. This means Lehner will have to earn his playing time. However, playing two games last season gave Lehner a taste of where his game needs to be to be successful in the AHL.
In Lehner’s back pocket is his father, Michael Lehner, who coached NY Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and has had a big influence on his career. Scouting reports say Lehner looks very similar to Lundqvist as he makes himself look very big in the net and likes to challenge shooters. Lehner does have a swagger to him which you got to love in a goalie, and he is not afraid to drop the gloves when needed.
Lehner looks to be slated for Bingo, but he will get a chance to be the starter for the World Junior U-20 Sweden team at this year’s IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo. This tournament will give us a chance to see how Lehner handles pressure at this very competitive event.
Lehner will either be the back-up to Brodeur or be in a 1A-1B tandem with him this upcoming season. Depending on how well he plays, he could see action in 30 to 40 games. Being fourth on the Sens goalie depth chart means Lehner most likely won’t see any NHL action this season. But Sens management is high on him and will give him all the time he needs to develop into an elite NHL goalie. Look for Lehner to push for an NHL position in the 2011-2012 season depending on how the goalie situation plays out in Ottawa.
Prediction: 18 AHL Wins and 3 Awesome Goalie Fights.