With Hammond Signed, Is Robin Lehner Truly Expendable?


With the Ottawa Senators signing of goaltender Andrew Hammond to a new three-year deal today most of the conversation around the web has been focused on what the Senators will do with their other two goaltenders, Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner.

In a previous post I reviewed the options that the Senators would have if they had signed Hammond. You can re-read that post here. My intuition was that the Senators would sign Hammond and later deal Lehner.  With the news today, lets take a look at what the Senators might do with Lehner.

Keeping Secrets?

First things first, lets remember that Lehner has not been seen very much around the Canadian Tire Centre or in the City of Ottawa in general since his collision with teammate Clarke MacArthur. It’s been stated that Lehner is still dealing with severe headaches and has not been able to ride a bike without suffering post-concussion symptoms.

Lehner has not been seen very much around the Canadian Tire Centre on in the City of Ottawa

Do Bryan Murray and medical staff know something that the rest of us do not? It is a long shot, but perhaps the Senators organization is looking at long term problems with Lehner.

The signing of Hammond may be due to the fact that Lehner himself does not think he will ready to go, let alone be skating come the opening of training camp. If this is the case, expect Lehner to still be a Senator come October, no team will be giving away assets for damaged goods.

Trade Bait

Most Senators fans around the web are speculating that Lehner will be traded during the off season. I can admit that I am one of those speculators and below are two trades scenarios I could see happening with Lehner being the main piece leaving the Senators.

"OTT –  Lehner, Cowen and 2nd Round Pick  for EDM – Eberle & 3rd Round Pick"

A lot of people have been talking about the Edmonton Oilers and their need for a top goaltender and defensemen. This trade covers both of those, with a healthy Lehner they would get a young goaltender who would probably benefit from a new beginning. They’d also get a big sized defenseman in Jared Cowen. Cowen is still a young guy, who still needs time to prove he can be a top 4 defenseman in this league.

With a young core of players, Edmonton would likely be okay with having Cowen as a 5-6 guy with the potential to play more minutes if needed.  In return Ottawa would get a proven top 6 forward. Eberle is exactly what this team needs. A proven play maker with scoring touch and above average hockey IQ. Slotting Eberle into the wing on the second line would make our 1-2 line punch pretty dangerous. Of course picks would be included in this deal, but mostly fans would be looking at the big names in any deal.

"OTT – Lehner & 3rd Round Pick for BUF – Moulson"

With Tim Murray, once the Senators Assistant GM  at the helm, I wouldn’t be surprised if Buffalo had been in contact with the Senators  regarding the availability of Lehner. Murray was influential in the drafting of Lehner in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. At the moment the Sabres are slated to start the 2015-16 season with Chad Johnson and Anders Lindback as their opening day goalies. Johnson is the most veteran of the two, but the belief is that he is most likely a career back up goaltender.

Most of the time when a goaltender is traded there is a goaltender coming back. But with the Senators recent signing of Hammond and NCAA goaltender Matt O’Connor, there is not a lot of need for the Senators to get a goaltender in return. Thus, I think Matt Moulson might be a good player to focus on. Check out Moulson’s first game with the Sabres this past season.

There was talk during the season of the Senators eyeing Moulson as far back as his days with the New York Islanders, and if Bryan Murray is still interested in him, this might be the best chance to land him. Moulson is a proven NHLer who has averaged 53 points a season over his eight year career. Moulson could easily slot into a top six role, and could easily be a nice addition to a Senators powerplay that lacked net presence.

Whatever happens going forward surrounding the Senators and their extremely crowded crease, it is sure to be a very interesting off season, the possibilities are endless. Which goaltender will be the teams starter? Will Anderson or Lehner be traded? Will the team start with three goalies with the big club? How does Matt O’Connor fit into all this? Do the Senators try and trade Hammond now that he is signed? Whether the Senators trade one of the three or not, having 3 goaltenders under contract surely can not be a bad thing.