Robin Lehner | G
This deal is going to be tough. Not because of a “should-we, shouldn’t-we” type of debate. The New York Islanders should absolutely re-sign Robin Lehner. But for how much and how long?
First the value. Lehner is (at the time of writing) second in the NHL for save percentage* with a 0.932SV% and first in goals against average* with a 2.02GAA. (*for goalies who’ve played at least 15 games.)
Lehner is currently making $1.5 million on the cap. What do you give Lehner, who was on his last leg in the NHL before the Islanders gave him that single year deal? Goalies with at least a 0.910SV% and 2.50GAA with 15 games played have an average cap hit of $3.231 million.
That’s roughly what Thomas Greiss’ cap hit is ($3.3 million) that’s got to be the starting point in negotiations with Lehner with the ceiling being a $4 million AAV. While the narrative says he might take a discount to stay with the team that showed him faith, this is a business and Lehner and his team will approach it that way (as they should). He’ll get $4 million.
Now, for how long?
The New York Islanders still seem interested in bringing over former third-round pick in 2014 Ilya Sorokin once his KHL deal expires. That won’t happen until that start of the 2020-21 NHL season. That’s two years from now, and who knows what Sorokin will be at the NHL level when he comes over?
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Giving Lehner a three-year deal covers the Islanders bases until the Russian white whale comes over. With a single year sample size it’s hard to go all in on a player, not to mention that player is a goalie. If there’s a position in the NHL that’s subject to wild swings in form, it’s goaltending. Longer than three years could get the Isles in some hot water down the line.