The New York Islanders have two big free agents left to sign, captain Anders Lee and goalie Robin Lehner. And Lehner just let everyone know how much he loves the Islanders.
Jordan Eberle signed a five-year deal with the New York Islanders last week. Once the signing was public, he couldn’t help but tell everyone just how much he loved playing for the Islanders and being on Long Island.
It’s something Islanders fans are starting to hear more and more; players wanting to play for their team.
But while free agent goalie and 2019 Vezina finalist
isn’t signed to an extension, yet, it isn’t because he doesn’t want to be here. Speaking with
, he made it abundantly clear how much he loved the Islanders and that he wants to stay.
“I Love The Organization”
We’ve all heard Robin Lehner’s incredible story just before the start of the 2018-19 season. Diagnosed as bipolar with ADHD and PTSD with trauma, his first season with the Islanders was going to be challenging.
He faced that challenge head-on and crushed it. He finished the season with a 25-13-5 record, a 2.13GAA (third best in the league*), a 0.930SV% (second best in the league*) and six shutouts (fourth best in the league*).
*for goalies who played at least 30 games
Not only did he (and Thomas Greiss) earn the Jennings Trophy for the lowest number of goals conceded this season, but Lehner (thanks to those incredible numbers) was named as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. (He’s also a finalist for the Masterton trophy).
Signed to a one year deal in the free agency leading into the 2018-19 season, Lehner is close to becoming a free agent once again. But, if it were up to him, he’d stay with the Islanders.
"“It’s just the reality of things. Would I wish we had something done right now? Sure, I would. But it’s not and you’ve got to play the cards you’re dealt.“I know the team knows where I stand and I just hope something works out. … I just want to be a part of this team.” –Robin Lehner"
Lehner wants nothing more than to be with the New York Islanders. Dan Rosen indicates in his piece that Lehner is even open to signing a short-term deal with the Islanders. Lehner wants nothing more than to stay with the Isles.
"“I hope something works out,” Lehner said during NHL Awards Media Day on Tuesday. “I don’t want to be anywhere else, but if that has to happen, it happens. It’s not going to be from my side.“I love my team. I have the mindset that this is still my team and I’m going to have it until the day I’m not on this team.”"
Lehner admitted that discussion hadn’t truly started yet, which is a worrying sign, even if Lehner’s a “special case” as he says. A deal has to be done with Lehner. It might take some time, but it has to be done.
Not just because of what he’s been through and how he persevered. But simply because he’s a great goalie. Again, those 2018-19 numbers are incredible.
Clearly, the Islanders will do their due diligence and try to get him to a number they feel is fair. A number that has to be within a $4 to $6 million AAV. Even at the lower end of that range, you have to think Lehner is willing to sign the deal.
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Ultimately there just isn’t a good reason to not re-sign Robin Lehner. He’s a good goalie? Check. He’s a good teammate? Check. Does he want to be here? Check. This needs to get done ASAP.
At the very least, Robin Lehner’s comments are refreshing and they prove just how healthy this franchise is. Players want to play for the New York Islanders.