Golden Knights’ Lehner happy to find permanent home in Vegas

Robin Lehner spoke about how important it was for him to be able to sign a long-term contract extension with the Vegas Golden Knights after struggling with mental health issues for much of his career.

Robin Lehner has played on five different teams during his 10-year NHL career – donning four different uniforms since 2018 alone – but the 2019 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy recipient finally has a permanent home with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Lehner was a pending unrestricted free agent but avoided going to the open market by signing a five-year, $25-million contract extension over the weekend.

The Golden Knights acquired Lehner from the Chicago Blackhawks in February. Lehner made three starts for Vegas, going 3-0-0 with one shutout, prior to the NHL’s hiatus due to COVID-19.

The Swedish netminder explained Monday during an appearance on Hockey Central that the time away from the rink during the unique extended break helped him appreciate the Golden Knights franchise and what it had to offer.

“The break (plus Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the league’s Return-To-Play Plan) kind of gave me some time to be around teammates, get to know the organization more, and you start growing into liking the idea of maybe sticking around a little bit,” Lehner said. “You start talking here and there and we were able to figure it out here in the end.”

Lehner overtook Marc-Andre Fleury as the Golden Knights starter and got the nod in 16 of Vegas’s 20 post-season games, finishing with a .917 save percentage, 1.99 goals-against average and four shutouts.

The 29-year-old has also played for the Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders, winning a William M. Jennings Trophy as a Vezina finalist with the Isles in 2019.

“Every team was a special and unique experience,” Lehner added. “I appreciate every single one of them because it all led me here. I’m excited now that I’m here in Vegas with a great team and organization and a chance to be competitive.

“It’s been a journey and you go through things and sometimes things are just meant to be.”

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