NHL Rumors: Analyzing Buzz Surrounding Robin Lehner and Josh Anderson – Bleacher Report
John Locher/Associated Press
The NHL trade deadline is in the rearview mirror, but the rumor mill doesn’t have time to look backward. As teams jockey for position in the playoff chase, players and executives alike are starting to think about free agency.
One of the prizes of the summer will be goaltender Robin Lehner, whom the Chicago Blackhawks recently shipped to the Vegas Golden Knights for two players and a second-round pick.
It’s safe to suggest there won’t be a reunion this offseason, when Lehner is an unrestricted free agent, despite his appreciation for his teammates and the fans.
Robin Lehner @RobinLehner
Thank you Chicago. What a great city. Fans were unbelievable and I’m not going to forget the short time there. I believe in this team and still do. Great teammates! gonna miss all of you. The city and guys deserve the best. 🐼was born in Chicago.
Speaking to Justin Emerson of the Las Vegas Sun, the 28-year-old netminder feels the coaching staff didn’t provide a role he felt he had earned: “Eventually, I took over and I won. I think I won like nine out of 10, 12 out of 15, and we walked up one point out of a playoff spot. Then, all of the sudden, I found myself on the bench for no reason. That was tough. Plus, negotiations totally died out.”
Lehner is referring to a mid-December to mid-January span in which he posted a 9-1 record with a .921 save percentage. Corey Crawford went 3-4 during that stretch—though he stopped a comparable .914 of shots—yet started seven of the next 11 games after the All-Star break and before Lehner’s trade.
That experience has apparently stopped Lehner from hoping for a future in Las Vegas.
“I don’t hope anymore,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens this summer.”
One potential suitor is the Carolina Hurricanes, who had interest in Lehner at the deadline. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported Carolina owner Tom Dundon was hesitant to meet the Blackhawks’ asking price for a rental.
Dundon wanted to avoid parting with a first- or second-round selection, according to Friedman. This summer, though, the Hurricanes can pursue Lehner in free agency.
Columbus Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson is likely headed to the market as well. Unfortunately for him, a shoulder injury is expected to prevent a return before then.
Darren Dreger @DarrenDreger
Expect to hear more on Columbus forward Josh Anderson this week. Sounds like he’s done for the season with a shoulder injury that may require surgical repair.
Anderson hasn’t played since-mid December despite initially being ruled out for four to six weeks. Now, he’s not in the Blue Jackets’ plans, per Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic.
“I can only deduce that there’s been a difference of opinion between the players’ camp and the team on how to proceed in terms of the injury and recovery,” LeBrun said. “All of which suggests this is likely headed to an offseason divorce.”
Anderson will be a restricted free agent this summer.
Though he mustered only one goal and three assists in 26 appearances this season, Anderson should attract plenty of interest. He scored 27 goals and totaled 47 points in 2018-19. At the deadline, the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche showed interest in Anderson, per Sportsnet’s Eric Francis.
Perhaps a change of scenery is what Anderson needs to regain his form, and it seems Columbus is willing to let him become a restricted free agent.
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.
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