Fansided
Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks to Robin Lehner: “It’s not us, its you”

sstauffer
Robin Lehner #40, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)
Robin Lehner #40, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

When the dust from the trade deadline settled, Robin Lehner was gone.

The guy the Chicago Blackhawks signed to potentially take over for Corey Crawford as the number one goalie was sent to the Golden Knights-exchanged for a second-round pick, Malcolm Subban, and Slava Demin.

However, after being traded to Vegas, Lehner basically complained about Chicago to anyone who would listen.

Then, on the LockedOn Blackhawks podcast from Feb 28, 2020, Jay Zawaski said that one of his sources says that the Blackhawks did offer Lehner a three-year deal, and that was what they wanted to sign him for.

This is completely contrary to Lehner’s claims that this kind of deal was never considered.

Then there were Lehner’s parting comments about “taking less money”. They sounded vague when he first said it, and now it might not even be accurate.

What kind of money was he looking for?

Instead of 60-70 million over 6-8 years, he’d “settle” 40 million over three years? You can do the math yourselves on that potential cap hit, but Lehner’s opinion struck me as a bit off the mark. Something about those contract negotiations went sour, and while I know people are angry at Bowman, and justifiably so, I’m not sure the Blackhawks’ GM is entirely to blame on this one.

Let’s also not forget that when Lehner was signed, two-time Stanley Cup-winning goalie Corey Crawford was already on the roster, and playing well.

Did Crawford complain to the media about Lehner being signed? No. Did Crawford complain about sitting in the press box so that Lehner could play? No.

Lehner, for his part, did not like his time in the press box, even though Crawford was simply playing better.  ( Lehner’s numbers vs. Crawford’s numbers)

When Lehner came to Chicago, Bowman seemed to have sorted out a long-term problem for Chicago. However, it was partially possible because negotiations with the Islanders didn’t work as Lehner had wanted. At the time he was quoted in a SportsNet article saying,

“Lehner explored returning to New York. He wanted multiple years, but he said he still wanted to work it out with the Islanders when they made it clear they were only going to offer him a short-term deal.”

“It was a little bit off in money and it was kind of ultimatum put in front of me,” he said. “I took a couple of days to kind of think about it and when I came back and wanted to make something work they already went for another goalie.”

“It was a little bit off in money and it was kind of ultimatum put in front of me,” he said. “I took a couple of days to kind of think about it and when I came back and wanted to make something work they already went for another goalie.” 

Earlier in his career, Lehner wasn’t thrilled with being a back-up in Ottawa. He may have had a point here because he’d posted good numbers, but it didn’t work out. Then the Senators traded Lehner to Buffalo, and that didn’t work out. He had a one year deal with the Sabres, avoiding an arbitration hearing. As noted above, things didn’t work with the Islanders either. Which brings us to the present.

All of Lehner’s past venting about contracts and negotiations sound to me like how he’s been talking about the negotiations with the Chicago Blackhawks. It’s basically been the same issue with every team he has played for. He’s not happy with his situation, he moves on, or is moved, and then criticizes the previous organization.

Now Lehner is in Vegas playing alongside another Stanley Cup-winning goalie, Marc-Andre Fleury. Maybe Lehner is there to be Fleury’s replacement. Let’s see how this turns out.

This whole thing could have ended better, and as Zawaski noted in his podcast, the chances of Lehner coming back look to be about zero. I for one am not upset about that.

Despite all that, Corey Crawford is a great goalie, and while the Blackhawks do need to find a new number 1 netminder, fans can enjoy what’s left of Crawford’s career while the search continues for his replacement.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments or online!

facebooktwitterreddit