This is the ninth and final profile on prospects expected to play for the Binghamton Senators.
Robin Lehner, G, Contract: 0.9/13 (RFA)
2-46 2009 (Murray), 6’4, Shoots L, YOB 1991, Goteborg, Swe
2009-10 OHL 27-13-3 2.80 GAA 0.918 SV%
2010-11 AHL 10-8-2 2.70 GAA 0.912 SV%
2010-11 NHL 1-4-0 3.52 GAA 0.888 SV%
Selected by Murray with the pick acquired in the Leclaire–Vermette trade (the only goalie selected by Murray and the first by Ottawa since Ryan Daniels in 2006), Lehner was regarded as the best goaltending prospect in Europe, but was the second picked behind Islander overager Mikko Koskinen (bleacherreport.com/articles/216548-nhl-entry-draft-revealing-the-top-drafted-goaltenders). He played in the Frolunda system in Sweden, but Senators brass were happy that he was planning to play in the OHL before he was drafted. He was selected by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and spent a year with them. Here’s Hockey Futures talent analysis the year he was drafted: “A butterfly goalie with excellent size and good overall skills. Uses his big frame to his advantage and challenges the shooters, although perhaps not with the desired consistency. Rebound control is poor, but overall mobility quite impressive for a big guy. Moves pretty well side to side and is tough to beat down low” (www.hockeysfuture.com/ prospects/robin_lehner).
Lehner took over the starting job at the Sault from the undrafted Bryce O’Hagan and was named both an OHL all-star and the Sault’s MVP. This past season the intention was for Lehner to be the starter in Binghamton with Mike Brodeur providing support, but the health issues of both Pascal Leclaire and Brodeur played havoc with that plan. Lehner started the year backing up Brian Elliott and only played one game in the AHL in October. The following two months were largely spent with Binghamton (12-3-7-1), but Lehner himself was injured for a time. The Senators loaned him to Sweden to participate in the WJC, but he split time with Fredrik Pettersson-Wentzel (Winnipeg fifth-rounder) and lost the semi-final game against Russia in part because of a blown call (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1kmZWCo5CI&feature=related).
When he returned he again needed to backup Elliott and bounced between the NHL and AHL for the next two months. With the acquisition of Craig Anderson and Curtis McElhinney in February there was no need for Lehner to remain in Ottawa, but he was injured in early March and missed even more time. When he was finally healthy Barry Brust (signed to an AHL contract and intended to be the team’s ECHL goalie) was well-established as the starter. Brust was in net for Binghamton in their opening series against Manchester, but Lehner regained the job with the team down 3-1. He proceeded to go on a ridiculous run (14 wins in 19 starts, 2.10 GAA, .939 SV%), becoming only the fourth teenage goaltender to win a Calder Cup (along with Carey Price, Patrick Roy, and Gordie Bell) and was named the playoff MVP (www.jacketscannon.com/2011/6/8/ 2213043/today-in-the-a-senators-win-calder-cup).
The organisation let Lehner skip this year’s development camp and he returns to training camp as the undisputed starter in Binghamton (backed up by Mike McKenna, www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/Robin+Lehner+learning+curve+over/4917926/story.html). I believe Lehner will outplay Alex Auld in training camp, but the team wants him to start 50-60 games and that won’t happen at the NHL level. If Lehner can stay healthy he should improve on last year’s regular season totals and get 30-35 wins.
Lehner interviewed prior to the draft: www.hockeysfuture.com/ articles/11141/2009_prospects_robin_lehner/
Sens scouts interviewed about Lehner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMkg7LSKccY
Lehner interviewed at the 2009 development camp: video.senators.nhl.com/ videocenter/console?id=44936
Highlights from the Leafs/Sens rookie tournament game in 2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4Mj3KfkdNU
Fights Ramis Sadikov in the OHL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX0dYRNxDlE
Interviewed during the Calder Cup run: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okrgPw-X-mU
Bobby Butler comments on Lehner‘s growing maturity (July 15th): www.facebook.com/TEAM1200
With all the prospect profiles completed, in my next article I’ll take a look at the other pieces within the organisation (the AHL veterans like Corey Locke).