During Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston reported that the 28-year-old had a specific goal in mind for his forthcoming contract talks.
“I had a pretty frank conversation with Robin this morning,” Johnston said. “What came out of that, for me, is that he’s very interested in just getting paid fairly here. He’s on his second-straight one-year deal in two different places. Some of that’s to do with what happened in his personal life, having to prove himself again.
“…I sense that this is someone who’s going to have a fairly big ask after finishing third in the Vezina trophy voting last year.”
Earlier this month, Lehner told Tracey Myers of NHL.com that if he were to stay with the Blackhawks, he isn’t willing to take less than what he’s worth.
“We’ll see what happens, but I’ve been taking discounts my whole life,” Lehner said. “I’m not a guy who wants to be overpaid either. I want to gain some respect that I think I deserve. We’ll see if that happens or not. We’ll see what happens.”
Last year, Lehner was a multi-award winner, claiming both the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy — given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey — and the William M. Jennings Trophy, as he and then-teammate Thomas Greiss had the best combined save percentage in the league with the New York Islanders.
In 27 games this season, Lehner has a 14-7-4 record with a 2.85 GAA and a .923 save percentage.
Complicating Lehner’s contract situation is that Corey Crawford is also a pending unrestricted free agent in Chicago and has made it known that he wants to remain with the Blackhawks and get another chance to win a Stanley Cup.
Johnston believes that the team’s goaltending situation will be something to watch going forward, especially after Lehner’s comments.
“(Lehner) is over .920 percentage this season and so as Chicago looks to figure out their goaltending picture, it’ll be interesting to see if Robin Lehner’s idea of fair matches with what Stan Bowman and the Blackhawks are willing to do,” Johnston said.