Newly minted Sabres GM Jason Botterill has plenty of work to do this summer, so he’s not going to try and fix things that don’t need fixing.
“There are more pressing needs,” Botterill continued. “I liked what I saw from him when he won the Calder Cup.”
Botterill is referring to the 2011 AHL championship, which Binghamton captured on the strength of Lehner’s play in goal. The big Swede has yet to find similar success at the NHL level, but has played well at times.
Last year was a big one for Lehner. Though overall a disappointment for the Sabres on the whole, there were some positives to be taken — the 25-year-old ‘tender posted career highs in games played (59) and finished with a solid .920 save percentage.
Yes, his play was erratic at times and yes, his trademark intensity was on display on several occaions — and not necessarily in a good way.
But there’s something to be said for a guy that finished 12th among goalies in save percentage while playing for one of the worst teams in the league. There’s also promise for the future, given Lehner is still reasonably young and responded well to his first full NHL workload.
So Botterill probably won’t explore uprooting his goalie situation, which makes sense. But that doesn’t mean the GM can ignore the position entirely — Lehner is a restricted free agent, and a new deal will need to be struck soon.