Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Lehner Gets One More Go

The Buffalo Sabres are committed to having Robin Lehner as their number one goalie for at least one more season, as they have signed the restricted free agent keeper to a 1-year, $4 million deal on Tuesday morning.

The 2016 season was supposed to be the official start to his role as the number one in Buffalo, but that season was limited heavily, due to injury, so he got his first full season at the helm in 2017 and his numbers were not very impressive, but neither was the overall look of the team in front of him.  The 26-year old Swede finished the year with 23 wins in 59 appearances, giving him 51 points on the season, only good enough for 23rd among all goalies.

The Sabres will open the 2018 season with a slightly different looking blueline in front of Lehner, having added Marco Scandella through a trade with the Minnesota Wild in this off-season, hoping to add some more quality behind Rasmus Ristolainen, Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges.  Offensively, the Sabres also added Jason Pominville and Benoit Pouliot, trying to add that veteran presence to what is still a fairly young club and it will be interesting to see how these pieces mesh together.

Forwards Cap Defense Cap Goalies Cap
Ryan O'Reilly 7.500 Rasmus Ristolainen 5.400 Robin Lehner 4.000
Kyle Okposo 6.000 Zach Bogosian 5.143 Chad Johnson 2.500
Jason Pominville 5.600 Marco Scandella 4.000
Evander Kane 5.250 Josh Gorges 3.900
Matt Moulson 5.000 Jake McCabe 1.600
Johan Larsson 1.475 Justin Falk 0.650
Benoit Pouliot 1.150 Casey Nelson 0.650
Jack Eichel 0.925
Hudson Fasching 0.925
Alexander Nylander 0.894
Sam Reinhart 0.894
Nicolas Deslauriers 0.775
Jacob Josefson 0.700
Seth Griffith 0.650

Budget-wise, I'm showing that there is less than $9.4 million of unused cap space, with the current projected 23-man roster that is listed above.  The Sabres still have key players like Zemgus Girgensons and Nathan Beaulieu to sign from their restricted free agency, both should fit, in theory.

I think Chad Johnson has to be a very favourable looking back-up goalie at this point in the summer, as I would question Lehner's value as a number one goalie these days.  Johnson did some good things with the Flames last season and he's got a good battling mentality, which will be very useful for a team that may need some time to find their chemistry.

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