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New York Islanders Should Extend Robin Lehner

UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - JANUARY 20: Robin Lehner #40 of the New York Islanders celebrates a 3-0 shut-out against the Anaheim Ducks at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on January 20, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
UNIONDALE, NEW YORK - JANUARY 20: Robin Lehner #40 of the New York Islanders celebrates a 3-0 shut-out against the Anaheim Ducks at NYCB Live at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on January 20, 2019 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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With another wonderful performance on Saturday night, the New York Islanders should pony up and give Robin Lehner a contract extension.

Before the season started if you asked me who of the pending UFA’s will the New York Islanders extend first the obvious answer would be Anders Lee. While Lee is still a fair answer, there’s someone else who should absolutely be extended right now, and that’s Robin Lehner.

Roughly seven months ago, Lehner was unwanted by his team. The Buffalo Sabres elected not to offer the restricted free agent a contract. Heck, they could’ve decided to trade his rights but instead, they just cut bait altogether.

The Isles decided to give Lehner a one-year $1.5 million contract, $3.5 million less than what he was making last season. So far, Lehner has been the steal of the 2018 free agency class.

With another solid performance last night, in the Islanders 4-2 win over Los Angeles, Lehner now has a

.932 save percentage and a 2.02 goals against average.

Both of those lead the league. You could legitimately make the case that he’s been the best goalie in the league.

Get A Deal Done Now

On top of him playing out of his mind right now, he’s become a fan favorite with his story. Before the season, Lehner was very open in an Athletic article (subscription required) about his struggles with mental health. His story is an inspirational one and shows that even star athletes are human and struggle with the same things we do.

The Islanders have been very supportive of Lehner, and he seems to finally be thriving both mentally and on the ice. What better reward than a contract extension?

The Isles have been known to give extensions in the middle of the season in the past. Just last year, Josh Bailey and Scot Mayfield signed extensions with the club. The year before it was Thomas Greiss and Cal Clutterbuck getting extensions during the season.

Sure, the Islanders have things to worry about like their playoff race and possibly acquiring talent at the deadline. But the longer you wait the more Robin Lehner’s price goes up. On the open market, he could likely get upwards of $4 million AAV after his performance this year.

The Isles could likely give him a similar deal that Thomas Greiss got a couple of years ago. Three years for $10.5 million ($3.5 million AAV) seems like a fair offer. That’s a $2 million raise for Lehner, and more than double what he’s making now.

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Keep in mind Robin is only 27, there’s no reason he can’t be the Isles solution at goalie for the foreseeable future. I’m perfectly okay with running Thomas Greiss and Robin Lehner for one more year, the best goalie tandem in the league, and then getting one of the kids up here.

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