Robin Lehner struggled in his first season as a real start to the Golden Knight

Welcome back to the Vegas Season Hockey Now in our review series where we look at every player in the Vegas Golden Knights and the 2021-22 season from Michael Amadeo to Zach Whitecloud.

You can follow the series here: Michael Amadeo, Riley Smith, Jonas Rundberg, Keegan Kolisar.

Today’s player is Robin Lehner. Oh boy.

Robin Lehner

statistics: 44 GP, 32-17-2 log, 2.83 GAA, .907 sv%
a necklace: Three years left at $5 million with an adjusted no-trade clause.
Missed games: 38
condition: Wounded (rehabilitation from shoulder surgery)
VHN degree: Dr-

general ideas

Robin Lehner’s 2021-22 season has been set up to be a challenge from the start. The 30-year-old goalkeeper was coming off injury in the summer of 2021. He and every other NHL goalkeeper also had to adjust to a busy NHL schedule and less time off due to COVID-19.

The main thing that surrounded Lehner was general manager Kelly McCremon’s decision to keep him above Marc-Andre Fleury. Fan favorite, Golden Knight Fleury, was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2021 season for potential space and a hat.

All eyes were on Lehner to prove he was the right choice as the Golden Knight’s best goalkeeper. But in 2021-22 things did not go as planned as he struggled in his first season as a lone start. The team missed the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and Lehner had a difficult season.

Constancy was the biggest thing that chased him at 21-22. Just as it looked like he would turn a corner and cement himself as a dependable goalkeeper once again, Lehner will either get injured or start to struggle. The Golden Knights fan base is starting to split about Lehner, too.

There were numerous rumors of Lehner playing through injuries this past season. On April 25, the Golden Knights announced that Lehner would undergo shoulder surgery and would miss the rest of the season. To some extent, these rumors could be true. Lehner didn’t look like himself, but Peter Debor and the Golden Knights kept playing with him as the team looked for the playoffs.

Highlights

As much as Lehner has struggled this season, he is still a human being and a great figure in the locker room of the Golden Knights. He is a heart and soul player and a leader in the team. A great example of his determination came in December when he defended his teammates against the New Jersey Devils.

Lehner’s battles with mental health issues have been well documented throughout his football career. Perhaps the biggest turn of his career came in his only season with the New Yorkers as their fan base welcomed him with open arms. On December 16, 2021, Lehner returned to New York and received a standing ovation from the crowd. Lehner thanked them by pointing to his neck tattoo on Long Island.

Finally, on January 24, Lehner blocked 34 of his 34 shots against the Washington Capitals for his only closing of the season. One of these shots came against Alex Ovechkin’s patented shot that hit the Liner’s mask so hard that it broke the frame on it. As Logan Thompson says – “He’s fine.”

What’s Next?

If the Golden Knights want to compete for the Stanley Cup, they need a relaxing season from Robin Lehner in 2022-23. It allowed a lot of easy goals to be scored for a goalkeeper in such a good team. His level of confidence needs to rise and his game generally needs to be improved in order for the Golden Knights to be able to compete. This season it wasn’t just his fault, but he needs to get back to his level at 22-23, or else I could see the team move on from him.

Lehner has three years left on his $5 million deal at the cap and with an adjusted no-trade clause. With Jack Eichel now on the roster, the Golden Knights face the salary cap once again. It’s not unusual for the team to get rid of goalkeepers for salary cap reasons.

Laurent Brossoit is the Golden Knight’s backup, but he also dealt with injuries at 21-22 and had off-season surgery as well. Logan Thompson has emerged as an excellent young goalkeeper coming from the Henderson Silver Knights and has secured his place in the National Hockey League as well.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned from watching the 2022 Stanley Cup games, it’s that you need at least three strong goalkeepers to go deeper into the playoffs. Unless you’re Tampa Bay Lightning with Andrei Vasilevisky, you need a strong backup as well as a good third-series option when injury or goalkeeper struggles arise. Fortunately, VGK has this one with Lehner, Brossoit, and Thompson.

I think the Golden Knights will give Lehner another chance. Last season was a complicated mess with injuries, coronavirus, cover space issues and a mod season without fluorescent. I think the Golden Knights will give Lehner a fresh start in 2022-23 and I hope he can get back into his true form in the National Hockey League.

Welcome to your new home for breaking Vegas Golden Knights news, analysis and opinions. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter And don’t forget to subscribe to VHN+ for all the member-only content of the entire Vegas Hockey Now crew plus an ad-free browsing experience.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: