In the 2018-19 season can New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner achieve more or less than a .912 SV%? Probably!
Robin Lehner comes to New York Islanders trying to salvage his NHL career. After a bad season with the Buffalo Sabres where Lehner went 14-26-9 with a 3.01 GAA and .908 SV%. When Lehner’s contract expired the Sabres chose not to give him a qualifying offer.
The Sabres walked away from a goaltender they traded a first-round pick just three years prior. And a goalie that just two years ago played 59 games (he started 58 of them) and kept a 2.68 GAA and .920 SV% for an equally terrible Buffalo team.
Now that he’s with the New York Islanders on a single years $1.5 million deal, the question is: can he be an average goaltender in the NHL?
Last season in the NHL, average goaltending numbers were a 2.78 GAA and a .912 SV%. Can Robin Lehner provide that type of shot-stopping for the New York Islanders in 2018-19?
Actually, the question is will he be better or worse than average? Based on Lehner’s recent record it’s entirely plausible that he can be an above average goalie in 2018-19.
Over the last five seasons, Lehner’s played more than 20 games in each season. In those five seasons, Lehner has passed the .912 mark on three occasions. In 2013-14 he squeaked by with a .913 SV%.
The two other times Lehner posted a save percentage of .920 or more. So Lehner’s definitely got the ability to be an above average goalie. Even with a terrible team in front of him like the Buffalo Sabres.
It’s hard to believe that the Islanders will be worse than the Buffalo Sabres over the last few years. It’s also hard to believe that the New York Islanders can be as terrible defensively as they were last season.
The Isles will undoubtedly be better with Barry Trotz behind the bench. But with most of the same defenders coming back in 2018-19 it won’t be a complete paradigm shift on the blueline for the Isles.
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Give Lehner an OK blueline with proper structure, the best goalie coach in the NHL directing his development, and the incentive to perform with a $2.5 million decrease to his salary and he should be an above average NHL goalie next season.