Chicago Blackhawks: 2020 Free Agents To Re-Sign
By Ryan Fedrau
4. Robin Lehner (UFA)
Besides being poor in the shootout, Robin Lehner has been stellar this season. In his 30 starts, Lehner is 16-9-5. After winning both the Jennings and Masterton trophy last season, I was shocked the Blackhawks went after him.
I was certain Lehner was going to be an Islander for the rest of his career. If you look back at his time in both Buffalo and Ottawa, he played really well. Both of those teams didn’t help him out much.
Both the Sabres and the Senators have been awful during the last few seasons. Players like Lehner had the unfortunate duty of playing there. Despite that, he still played really well.
Lehner is currently on a one-year deal worth $5,000,000 AAV. As a goalie with a career record of 113-119-45, should he really be paid more than that?
I look at it in two ways. Lehner finally had his chance on a good team and won both the Jennings and Masterton trophy. If the Blackhawks can tighten up and fix their problems, how well would Lehner do here?
If we’re choosing between Corey Crawford and Lehner, I have to go with Lehner. The Blackhawks can afford to pay him this summer. With both goalies’ contracts expiring, they’ll have $11,000,000 AAV to spend.
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If they want to give $8,000,000 AAV to Lehner, go for it. That’s when you have to believe in either Collin Delia or hope Crawford will re-sign for $3,000,000 AAV or less. I think that’s a slap in the face to Crawford though. If he tests the free-agent market, there will be a team that’ll pay him more money.
If the Blackhawks are smart about this, they could get both guys back next season. If Lehner will sign $7,500,000 AAV for multiple seasons, they could get Crawford back for $3,500,000 AAV on a one year deal. It’ll keep Crawford around and maybe give him a shot somewhere else.
Of course, if Lehner wants to be paid in the $9,000,000 – $10,000,000 AAV range, he’s not worth it. The Blackhawks would have to keep Crawford and spend their money on a more proven goalie.
Lehner is valuable to the Blackhawks. If they can sign him for five years, $7,500,000 AAV, they might get a Stanley Cup or two out of him. With the bright future of players they have, a goalie with the skill set of Lehner can be the difference.