Robin Lehner: Ottawa Senators star of the future

By Matthew Kirkpatrick

Robin Lehner is a budding star. The Ottawa Senators goalie of the future has shown the big game potential so far in his professional career that could someday help lead his team to the Stanley Cup.

The Ottawa Senators acquired the Swedish native in the second round of the 2009 draft with the pick they received from the Columbus Blue Jackets when they traded Antoine Vermette for Pascal Leclaire.

Leclaire was supposed to be the Senators next, (or first), great netminder, but bad luck and injuries derailed the former first round picks career.

This paved the way for the likes of Brian Elliott, and Craig Anderson to make their mark on the franchise, but make no mistake at some point the Ottawa Senator’s crease will belong to Robin Lehner.

In his first pro-season Lehner posted a respectable 10-8-2 regular season record with a 2.70 goals against average, and a .912 save percentage playing with the Senators AHL club in Binghamton.

It was in the playoffs that Lehner really made his mark.

Robin Lehner took over for starter Barry Brust in the first round with the team floundering, and led Binghamton to a Calder Cup championship winning the playoff MVP trophy along the way.

Lehner took a step back this season, posting a mediocre 13-22-1 record, with a robust 3.26 goals against.

However, the organization is quick to point out the fact that most of his championship teammates made the jump to the NHL this season where they helped Ottawa to a surprising playoff berth, and the team in Bingo was just not as good as in years past.

Lehner was called upon to fill in for starter Craig Anderson during a critical stretch this season, and he performed well going 3-2 with a 2.01 goals against average, and a .935 save percentage.

He showed his big game potential in a February game versus the Boston Bruins when he beat the defending Stanley Cup champions 1-0.

The win was the Senators only one against Boston last season, and was Robin Lehner’s first NHL shutout.

Lehner has proved time and again that he is a gamer, and it seems that no stage is too big for him.

The only knock on him seems to be his temper, which he seems quick to lose at times.

Lehner was involved in an incident last season when he elbowed New York Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin in the chest as the teams were heading to their dressing rooms at the end of a period.

Such things can be chalked up to Lehner being only 19 and a little immature at the time. I don’t imagine the club is too worried about it.

Next season Lehner will push for a full time NHL gig, but it is expected that he will spend the year back in Bingo for another season of development as Craig Anderson, and Ben Bishop occupy the net in Ottawa.

After decades of searching for a solid goaltender Ottawa has finally developed some depth at the position, and with Robin Lehner’s help should be set between the pipes for years to come.




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