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New York Islanders Ranking 2018 Free Agent Acquisitions

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders prior to the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: Lou Lamoriello of the New York Islanders prior to the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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PHILADELPHIA, PA – FEBRUARY 11: Goalie Robin Lehner #40 of the Buffalo Sabres looks after giving up a goal in the second period against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on February 11, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

Robin Lehner | G

The New York Islanders desperately needed a goalie going into the 2018-19 season. As of July 1 they had Thomas Greiss and Linus Soderstrom in the system. Both Jaroslav Halak and Christopher Gibson were UFAs.

In comes Lehner on a single year $1.5 million deal. After not receiving a qualifying offer from the Buffalo Sabres, Lehner was up for grabs as a UFA.

The Sabres originally acquired Lehner from the Ottawa Senators for a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL draft. A first-round pick that originally belonged to the New York Islanders. (Buffalo got it from the Thomas Vanek trade).

Lehner has the potential to be a good starting goalie in the NHL. Two years ago, in 53 games played for the Sabres, Lehner had a 2.68 GAA and .920 SV%.

Of course, there’s a reason that the Sabres chose to let Lehner leave in free agency rather than give him a qualifying offer. He’s, putting it lightly, got some issues keeping his cool. Whether it’s on the ice, or off sometimes Lehner’s attitude can get the best of him.

That could be an issue for the Islanders next season. But for $1.5 million it’s worth the gamble to see if Lehner can pull himself together, use Buffalo’s dismissal as motivation and be the starting goalie he’s capable of being.

If he can be, the Islanders will have found themselves an absolute steal and a player that can band-aid over some of the defensive issues this team is going to have in 2018-19.

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