Robin Lehner signed a three-year extension with Ottawa in July, only to watch the club give Craig Anderson an extension of equal length and anoint him the starter on day one of training camp.
If the Swedish netminder’s bothered by the turn of events, though, he certainly isn’t showing it.
“Yeah, [Anderson] is tabbed as the first goalie, but I also have a chance .. and this is what they’ve been pushing to me, it’s up to them to show it,” Lehner said, per the Ottawa Sun. “If I play good, and if I deserve to play a game or two, then I will play a game or two, That’s the message I’ve gotten.
“You never know, but that’s what has been said. I think we’re having good conversations, and me and Craig are on the same page, too.”
Lehner, 23, has shown flashes of quality play during his brief NHL career, most notably during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign, when he went 5-3-4 with a 2.20 GAA and .936 save percentage, finishing 13th in Calder voting. While his numbers regressed last season (.913 save percentage, 3.06 GAA), Ottawa still felt it was worth securing his services through 2017 at $2.225 million per season, presumably to challenge Anderson for playing time.
But for this season? Who knows what’ll transpire.
Anderson turns 34 in May and has struggled with injuries over the last two year, missing extensive time with ankle and upper-body ailments. When healthy, he can turn in dominant performances — twice he’s finished fourth in Vezina voting — but he’s also struggled with consistency, often due to his health.