The Senators had an embarrassment of riches at the goalie position, so the move makes sense on that level alone. Lehner was an asset they could part with, what with Craig Anderson, Andrew Hammond and Matt O’Connor all under contract.
Lehner appeared in 25 games in the regular season of 2014-2015 and sat out the rest of the time with an injury. When he did play, he was disappointing. He posted a 3.05 goals against average and a .905 save percentage.
The Senators can also part with the money they were set to spend on Legwand, which would amount to about $3 million in 2015-2016. He had 27 points, including nine goals, over the course of 80 games this past season in Ottawa.
All told, this is a pretty sweet deal for the Senators. Some are already saying that they could look to package their two first round picks, the 18th and the newly-acquired 21st, in a bid to slip up the draft order a little bit. The price on that could be considered a touch on the steep side, but if there’s movement they’ll find it.
As for the Sabres, this isn’t bad either.
General manager Tim Murray can afford to eat the Legwand salary and there’s still an upside to Lehner. He’s just 23 and has the potential to land somewhere as a number one goalie given some time and conditioning. The Sabres may well be the right fit for him, as he can see some rubber and pick up some action without much by way of expectations.
On its face, it looks like the Senators have won this trade. They dump salary and pick up a pick while parting with a goalie they didn’t really need. But the Sabres did well, too, and it’s almost too close to call this one for Ottawa. It’s a good deal all around.