Robin Lehner Should Not Be The One Moved, Pending Full Recovery


Elliotte Friedman’s 30 thoughts piece is one of my favourite blogs out there. With Friedman discussing the fact today that Ottawa will have to move one of their proven guys in Robin Lehner, Craig Anderson, or Andrew Hammond, if Lehner is able to make a full recovery, he should not be the piece moved.

There are a few reasons behind why I feel this way. The first being Lehner’s previous successes and background as a goaltender.

Lehner was scooped up by Ottawa in the 2009 second round; a round that also saw the Sens draft F Jakob Silfverberg, now with the Anaheim Ducks

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A big, swedish goaltender with high promise had quite the expectations attached from the moment his name was called by the Senators’ table. And until recently, he had lived up to those expectations (or exceeded them).

The hype started in 2009-10 when Lehner saw his first year of pro hockey where as a 19-year-old, he backstopped Binghamton all the way to a Calder Cup, while taking home playoff MVP honours.

Lehner would toil in the minors for a few more seasons, getting a call-up here and there before finally breaking in full-time during the lockout shortened 2012-13 season. This was the first year in which Lehner faced the challenge that was a goaltending battle. Proven veteran Craig Anderson led the team with hart-like numbers, Ben Bishop had numbers similar to Lehner’s and during one of Anderson’s more bizarre injuries, the two back-up goaltenders stepped up.

Ottawa made the playoffs that year and Lehner seemed to prove that he was one to reckon with in terms of fighting for a starting role later on. Bishop was shipped out at the deadline and has moved on to become Tampa Bay’s number one guy. Looking back on it, it’s clear to see that Ottawa made a mistake in moving Bishop, especially for Cory Conacher and a 4th round pick.

With a similar battle this time between Hammond/Lehner and Anderson at the top, the Senators have six options heading into 15-16,

—and they don’t want to make the same mistake as last time. 

The Choice, It Isn’t Easy

If the choice means you can only carry two goaltenders, the Senators will likely have to choose between Hammond/Lehner as to who goes. That choice will be made easy if Hammond decides to sign elsewhere as a free agent,

but staying in a Senators’ uniform for Hammond may signify the goodbye to Lehner; who may still have enough value to allow the Senators to part ways. Or, as Friedman discussed in his article “If one of them can get the Senators a top-six forward, that’s the guy who goes.”

Lehner has proven he can play in the NHL. There have been inconsistencies, but there have also been bright spots.

On the other hand, you have hot-shot goaltender Andrew Hammond who really did come out of nowhere to bring the Senators to the playoffs.

As well, the Senators were also able to see during the first round what they still have in Anderson, one of the league’s best. Given the playoff performance of Anderson, I highly doubt the franchise likes the idea of moving a proven goaltender over one who has less than 30 games NHL experience and the other a young player who still has question marks attached to his name.

Andrew Hammond deserves that one-way contract, perhaps with some term. His AAV shouldn’t be too high, as this contract could simply act as a bridge-UFA deal. “Show us you can do this, and we’ll reward you” type of thing.

Hammond is actually younger than Bishop, and Lehner is still a spring chicken at 23-years-0ld. O’Connor doesn’t play into the NHL picture at this point, but Binghamton should find themselves with quite the depth in net with O’Connor and 22-year-old Chris Driedger, who showed evidence of development late last season.


It certainly sounds like Lehner is the odd man out.

The Senators find themselves having depth at the goaltending position

It could be a possibility that the organization holds all three into training camp and through the summer. However it’s risky as at that point the Senators might not find their dance partner with NHL clubs already having their rosters established.

But perhaps what is riskier is moving one of these three not knowing how their summers are going to go. It’s especially risky when dealing with a product as young as Lehner, who could come back to bite you later on.

The Senators may know something we don’t regarding Lehner’s status. Perhaps there are issues with his commitment, conditioning, strength, etc, in which case maximizing Lehner’s value at the draft or free agency period may be the way to go.

The injury is there and it’s a concern. We’ve seen no updates on Robin and have been introduced to some of the organization’s issues with his game in the past; his temper being atop the list. But with any young product, you have to wait. He’s displayed what he’s got in the past and pending a full recovery, Lehner could still be a very important piece going forward.

Revisiting Elliotte Friedman’s thoughts today, and I think he put it best when dealing with young players:

“Inconsistency may drive you crazy, but not as crazy as seeing a player you drafted and developed shine somewhere else.”

Next: If Konecny Falls, Senators Should Be Prepared To Select

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