On July 3, the New York Islanders landed their starting goalie for this past year. Robin Lehner was everything they hoped for and more.
Robin Lehner was set to become an RFA after the 2017-2018 season. The Buffalo Sabres, who held his rights, didn’t offer him a contract making him a UFA and leading to the New York Islanders landing a starting goalie for dirt cheap.
The market for Lehner was surprisingly nonexistent. He was coming off a bad year but the Islanders were able to get him on a one-year $1.5 million deal. Essentially chump change for someone who is a starting level goalie.
We would later find out why when Robin Lehner wrote a tell-all to The Athletic describing his addiction and mental health issues. It was beautifully written and it made Islander fans gravitate more to him because as an athlete he humanized himself.
His first start in blue and orange was historic. He was the second Islanders goalie ever to have a shutout in their debut as he stopped all 35 San Jose shots.
That was only the beginning. Lehner never slowed down from there. He started 43 games for the Islanders just edging out Thomas Greiss in the Isles 1a and 1b setup.
With a .930 save percentage and a 2.13 goals against average, Lehner was downright elite this year. The Islanders won the Jennings Trophy on the backs of Lehner and Thomas Greiss and his play even made him a Vezina Candidate.
If his regular season wasn’t impressive enough he was even better in the playoffs. In eight starts he had a .936 save percentage and a 2.00 goals against average. If you isolate just the Pittsburgh series he was a .954 with a 1.50 goals against average. Just ridiculous numbers.
Based on his play on the ice and everything he went through off the ice there’s only one grade appropriate for Robin Lehner, A+. What can you say about Lehner, otherwise he was everything the Islanders could’ve hoped for and more.
At 27 and a UFA, the Islanders should look to give him a four or five year deal with an AAV around $4.5 million-$5.5 million. The Isles may have found that long-term solution in net that they’ve been looking for.