Robin Lehner is putting up incredible numbers between the pipes for the New York Islanders. He leads all goalies in two important categories but isn’t in sight for the Vezina. Can he turn that around?
Robin Lehner has been the signing of last season’s free agency period. Signed by New York Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello in free agency for a single year $1.5 million deal, he’s established himself as one of the better goalies in the league this season.
Going into the All-Star break he leads all goalies (who’ve played at least 15 games) in both save percentage (0.931) and goals against average (2.02). But he probably won’t win the NHL’s Vezina trophy, awarded to the leagues top goalie.
Just looking at the
Robin Lehner doesn’t make their top three when it comes to the award. They went with Marc-Andre Fleury, John Gibson, and Frederik Andersen. All worthy candidates, but why?
Give Me Wins
Wins. Wins are what matters when it comes to the Vezina trophy. It’s not the only category that matters, but in order to be considered for the award, a goalie has to sit near the top of the league in terms of wins.
The last five winners of the award sat in the top five for wins in that particular season and typically ranked in the top five for goals-against average and save percentage.
Looking at the PWHA picks it fits the narrative. Marc-Andre Fleury has 27 wins (ranked first) while starting a remarkable 45 games for the Golden Knights. Frederik Andersen has 22 wins (ranked third) for the Maple Leafs. John Gibson has 17 wins (ranked 12th) for the Ducks, but he’s single handily keeping them relevant.
Lehner isn’t single handily keeping the Islanders at the top of the Metropolitan Division. Thomas Greiss is right there alongside him with a 2.50GAA and 0.920SV%.
Lehner also doesn’t have the number of wins some of the league leaders have. With 15 wins on the season, Robin Lehner ranks 16th amongst all goalies. But he isn’t that far off either. Lehner is five wins off Andrei Vasilevskyi for fifth in the league.
With the way both the New York Islanders and Robin Lehner were playing before going into the All-Star break its possible that he bridges that gap between himself and the rest of the league.
So long as he gets enough starts he can work his way up the NHL’s wins chart. Something that seems likely already. He’s already getting the lion’s share of the starts between him and Greiss since he came back from that minor injury.
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If Lehner can get within the top ten and if he continues playing like he’s doing now there’s no reason he can’t get into the Vezina conversation. With all that being said, I doubt Robin Lehner cares about where he is in the Vezina trophy rankings at the mid-season point of the year.