While Robin Lehner wasn’t expecting to speak with other teams during this week’s interview window, he may be changing those plans before too long. Arthur Staple of The Athletic reports (subscription required) that there is too substantial of a gap in what the Islanders are offering and what the netminder is seeking which means it’s quite likely that the 27-year-old will be playing elsewhere next season. Lehner is coming off of a career year that saw him post a 2.13 GAA with a .930 SV% but is only a year removed from a rough season with Buffalo. Staple notes that GM Lou Lamoriello is offering a deal around $5MM per year, something that’s a non-starter for Lehner’s camp and presumably, it’s the lack of a track record as a high-end starter that is leading to a lesser offer than a goalie coming off of that type of season would typically get.
Other news and notes from free agency:
- Winger Mats Zuccarello is believed to be seeking a five-year deal, notes Aaron Portzline of The Athletic (Twitter link) who adds that the 31-year-old is on the radar of the Blue Jackets. Zuccarello posted the highest point-per-game average of his career in an injury-shortened 2018-19 campaign and before that, averaged 56 points per season in the past five years. After playing on a team-friendly $4.5MM contract, he’s expected to get a fair bit more than that on the open market.
- Thomas Vanek’s camp has been informed that there isn’t going to be a fit between him and the Red Wings for next season, reports Max Bultman of The Athletic (Twitter link). The veteran had a decent 2018-19, picking up 36 points in 64 games which isn’t bad for someone that barely averaged 14 minutes per game. However, his lack of speed has limited his suitors on the trade market in recent years although, with no acquisition cost beyond a contract, he could attract some interest once some of the top players sign.