The Ottawa Senators have locked up their goalie of the future for another 3 years. The club has inked restricted free agent Robin Lehner to a 3 year, $6.675M deal.
Lehner spent a majority of last season as the backup to Craig Anderson in the Senators net, in a season where the #1 job was up for grabs. Neither goalie excelled in their chances and the opportunity was there for Lehner to sieze the role. He had one good stretch while Anderson was injured where he won 3 straight starts, but inexplicably coach Paul MacLean went back to Anderson as soon as he was healthy and relegated Lehner to the bench once again.
Both goalies will have a lot of questions heading into camp, and a strong training camp could give Lehner the inside track. Lehner has bided his time, winning a Calder Cup in the minors with the Binghamton Senators as a rookie before finally getting a full time NHL gig in 2013 after Ben Bishop was traded to Tampa Bay, albeit in a supporting role. He was the Senators 2nd round pick in 2009 and had just completed his enty level contract.
He has a career record of 21-24-12 in 61 career NHL appearances, all with Ottawa. His career GAA is 2.82 and SP is .918.
Anderson is entering the final year of his contract, after which he will become an unrestricted free agent if he does not sign an extension before July 1st. Lehner’s play this season and his ability to show that he will indeed be a true #1 goalie in the NHL will go a long way to determining whether or not the Senators extend Anderson going forward. Lehner has played his best hockey without someone breathing down his neck or looking over his shoulder, and that is what will happen if Anderson is still around.