The Ottawa Senators locked up an important part of their goaltending future by signing Robin Lehner to an extension on Thursday, yet the future seems cloudy for that team … even at that position.
Even so, Senators assistant GM Pierre Dorion appears confident about the outlook for both his goaltending tandem and team overall after what’s already been a challenging offseason for the franchise. Critics of this summer’s transactions might be a bit surprised about the optimistic outlook he shared with the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch.
Getting Lehner, 23, signed for the near-future was key, yet the franchise still has some big moves to make, as key forwards Bobby Ryan and Clarke MacArthur will see their contracts expire after the 2014-15 season. Dorion told Garrioch that he’s had “productive talks” with both, although it doesn’t sound like a deal is imminent for either.
Again, the Lehner signing doesn’t answer every question in net, either; the Senators also employ a prominent goalie in veteran Craig Anderson, who only has one year left on his contract. The signs seem to point to the No. 1 gig being transferred to Lehner, yet the team doesn’t seem like its totally shut the door on keeping Anderson, 33, around as well. Dorion said that extension talks might increase over the next few weeks now that the Lehner contract is settled.
” … It only helps us having a quality tandem of Craig and Robin moving forward and if it stays like that for one year it stays like that for one year,” Dorion said. “If it stays like that for more than one year we’ll see where we go with it.”
Lehner didn’t deny the notion that he wants to increase his workload next season after notching 36 games played in 2013-14, yet he seems aware that he’ll face competition from Anderson.
“I’m not in a place where I think I should play every game even if it goes really well, I think we have a strong tandem and we have a good team,” Lehner said. “I’ll just be happy with competing every day and getting a chance to get a fair battle.”
Much like the Senators team as a whole, Lehner still has some work to do. It’s clear that the organization will give him every chance to prove that he can pull it off, too.
It remains to be seen if the Swede has what it takes to back up Dorion’s claims of boasting a playoff-level team, though.