Signing Robin Lehner to a 1-year deal
As Isles fans were still recovering from John Tavares shunning the franchise for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Lamoriello was making underwhelming moves, including signing Leo Komarov and Valtteri Filppula while trading back for fourth-liner Matt Martin.
With Jaroslav Halak not returning, the Islanders needed another goaltender to pair with Thomas Greiss. The talented and unpredictable Robin Lehner wasn’t Lamoriello’s first choice, but he was the right one. He signed a one-year $1.25 million deal with the Islanders after the Sabres decided not to offer him a new contract as an RFA.
Lehner turned his life and career around on Long Island, becoming a Vezina Finalist in his only year with the Islanders. The low-risk, high-reward signing of the 27-year Swede was one of the best bets made by Lamoriello as Lehner and Greiss captured the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals in the league during the 2018-19 season.
Lehner created a unique connection with the fanbase during his brief time on Long Island. The way his relationship with Lamoriello and the Isles ended was surprising and strange, but that does nothing to diminish Lehner's memorable turnaround season with the franchise, one of personal and professional triumph when it was least expected.