Robin Lehner is now a Buffalo Sabre, but the new digs doesn’t mean better fantasy value.
Buffalo has spent the last couple of years stocking prospects and picks. The end-game was obvious: once this draft passed (with either McDavid or Eichel in the fold), the team would be starting to really rebuild their talent pool.
This process started in earnest when they acquired Evander Kane during the season. Today, they added more real-life NHLers to the lineup by trading the 21st overall pick from this year's draft to the Ottawa Senators for goalie Robin Lehner and centre David Legwand. Lehner has two years left at $2.25-million per season while Legwand has one year left with a $3-million cap hit.
Buffalo desperately needed a goalie. They traded any goalie last year who dared try to win games, and they badly needed to re-tool at that position. Adding Robin Lehner does exactly that.
Like a few out there, I have been a big fan of Lehner over the years. He plays an aggressive style that could probably best be described as Jonathan Quick on speed, and with a similar temperament. Lehner is bigger, standing 6-foot-5, but he still plays very aggressive at the top, or often, outside of his crease.
Lehner had a couple of good short spurts earlier in his career, but his overall save percentage over the last two years has been below league average. In fact, when looking at his five-on-five save percentage over those two years, Robin Lehner is sandwiched between Antti Niemi and Curtis McElhinney. Assuredly, that's not good company to be keeping.
*upate: That save percentage I cited was in all situation over those two years. Lehner’s five-on-five save percentage was sandwiched between Anders Lindback and Ray Emery. Not that it improves things.
Going to Buffalo won't help. That team does have a bright future, but even a massive leap forward this year still has them well out of the playoff race. That blue line has promising players like Rasmus Ristolainen and Mark Pysyk, but they, too, are a ways away from really being stellar. Just ask Devan Dubnyk, Ben Scrivens, or James Reimer how easy it is to post stellar numbers behind a team that has the defensive properties of a straw house when the Big Bad Wolf is prowling around.