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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Lehner's tenure with the Sabres didn't go off the rails until the third and final season when his poor performance failed to convince the team to re-sign him. With limited demand for goaltenders this summer, Lehner settled for a one-year contract with the Islanders, with whom he'll likely start as the No. 2 goaltender behind Thomas Greiss. Both goaltenders are trying to prove they're capable No. 1's, so the battle will be interesting to see during the season. At his best, Lehner is a capable mid-tier starter, but at his worst allows too many bad goals and seems incapable of making a save in a shootout. Lehner's injury history is also a concern, but a minimum of 20-30 appearances shouldn't be out of the question even if he's firmly in backup role, making him a worthy handcuff for fantasy owners who have Greiss.
Lehner appeared in a career-high 59 games in 2016-17, but he finished with a losing record for the fourth straight season. He performed admirably, however, notching a .920 save percentage despite playing behind a frustratingly inconsistent Sabres club. The 26-year-old Swede certainly felt the benefits after dropping 40 pounds prior to the 2016-17 season, but he still needs to improve his durability, especially with veteran backup Chad Johnson having returned to push him for playing time. Lehner’s been quite consistent regardless of whether he’s at home or on the road, and his save percentages have historically been good -- now all he needs is a Sabres blue line that'll stop so many shots from getting through to him. He’s a solid No. 1 goalie even with just 166 career games under his belt, and Lehner should see his GAA and record improve as the young Sabres continue to mature
Lehner’s first season as an NHL starter was cut short in his first game, as he suffered a high-ankle sprain, then aggravated upon his eventual return, ultimately limiting him to just five wins in 21 appearances on the season. When he did get out there, Lehner’s performances were quite promising -- he put up a .924 save percentage, often performing well but still getting tagged with losses thanks to Buffalo's struggles with providing consistent goal support. He should be healthy to start the 2016-17 season, and considering they allowed backup and unsung hero Chad Johnson to walk over the offseason, the Sabres are showing confidence in Lehner as their No. 1 guy.
Lehner got what he wanted -- a starter’s gig -- with his move to western New York. But for as much as the team in front of him projects to improve in 2015-16, there’s no Erik Karlsson or Marc Methot in front of him any longer. This may be the epitome of -- at least for this year -- the old adage of "be careful what you wish for." Lehner is talented, but he’s coming off a concussion that limited his playing time in 2014-15. And despite decent career numbers (2.88 GAA, .914 save percentage), his most recent (and busiest) two seasons have been less than impressive. His GAA in the last two seasons as a full-time backup hasn’t gone below 3.02. And his save percentage last season was .905. Buffalo general manager Tim Murray knows Lehner from his days in the Ottawa system, so the goalie will be given lots of rope. But don’t stake your team’s success on his back -- he may only get 50 starts and will be hard-pressed to win 20. He's a more attractive entity in dynasty or keeper formats.
Lehner just inked a three-year extension with the Senators, and at age 23, is widely considered the Senators goaltender of the future. He suited up for 36 games since starter Craig Anderson struggled, but was unable to secure the starting job due to some disappointing performances of his own. He finished the year with a 12-15-6 record, a 3.06 GAA, and a .913 save percentage. Look for him to get a good number of starts again in 2014-15 as the Senators rebuild, and if he gets another chance to grab the starting job for himself, he could suddenly find himself as a regular NHL starter.
Lehner inspired enough confidence in GM Bryan Murray last season that he was willing to trade away backup Ben Bishop to the Lightning in exchange for Cory Conacher. Lehner played 12 games last season while starter Craig Anderson was injured and after Bishop was traded, and he recorded a stellar .938 save percentage and a 2.20 GAA. He'll be the full-time backup in 2013-14, and should get a decent number of starts, especially if Anderson gets hurt again. He's still just 22 years old, and is widely considered the Sens goalie of the future.
The 2011-12 season for Robin Lehner could be considered a wake-up call of sorts as the gifted goaltender was told in no uncertain terms that he had to shape up and mature as a professional hockey player. Sens management spoke loud and clear when they traded for Ben Bishop near the end of the season to help replace the then-injured Craig Anderson in goal. With Bishop's one-way contract, Lehner will have to prove that he's heads and tails above Bishop if he hopes to win the backup spot out of training camp. Lehner showed flashes of brilliance when he was brought up as he posted a 3-2 record with a .935 save percentage and a 2.01 goals-against average in five appearances. His AHL season was inconsistent at best, as he only posted a 13-22-1 record with a .907 SV% and a 3.26 GAA in 40 appearances. With all of that being said, Lehner came to Ottawa's development camp in late June this off-season in tremendous shape and a much more mature and professional attitude which was remarcked upon by several of Ottawa's managment staff, including assistant GM Tim Murray. With his athleticism and size, not to mention his ultra-competitive attitude, Lehner is still one of the best goaltending prospects in the league and at only 21 years of age, he's a fantastic keeper league prospect.
After a year of ups and downs in 2010-11, Lehner cemented himself as Ottawa's goalie of the future by not only winning the Calder Cup Championship with Binghamton, but also taking away the Jack A. Butterfield trophy as the AHL playoff MVP. Only 19 years old at the time, Lehner posted a 14-4 record with a 2.10 GAA and an outsanding .939 SV%. He'll spend the 2011-12 season as Binghamton's No. 1 goaltender, but could see time with Ottawa if Craig Anderson goes down with an injury. Ottawa's management has already said that if Anderson does miss time, Lehner will be called up and be the No. 1 in Ottawa until Anderson returns. The youngster still needs to work on his consistency and rebound control, but has shown remarkable progress in both of those areas. Expect Lehner to crack the big club for good in 2012-13, likely as the understudy to Anderson.
The 19-year-old Lehner will start the season playing for Ottawa’s AHL affiliate in Binghamton where he’ll likely share the starter’s duties with veteran Mike Brodeur. The 2009, 2nd round pick came over to North America last year and helped lead a subpar Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds team into the OHL playoffs. He has excellent mobility for a big man—he’s 6’4”—but the thing that Ottawa really loves about him is his mental game and his confidence. Lehner is the type of goalie who can recover quickly from a bad goal or a bad game before putting on a big winning streak. While Lehner himself has informed GM Bryan Murray he’ll compete for a starting role on the big club (again, his confidence is off the charts), don’t expect him to make a real contribution until 2011-12 at the earliest.
Lehner had an excellent rookie camp this year, winning both of his games while allowing only two goals. He'll suit up for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL this year and should see plenty of rubber as the Soo Greyhounds are one of the weaker teams. Lehner has turned some heads in the pre-season camps and should be on your radar in keeper leagues. He's two or three years away from battling for a spot with the big club, but he's made an excellent first impression on Ottawa's management.