The Blackhawks made a surprising move by signing free agent goaltender Robin Lehner to a one-year deal worth $5 million on Monday.
Lehner, who turns 28 years old on July 24, is coming off a career season with the Islanders, going 25-13-5 with a 2.13 goals-against average, .930 save percentage and six shutouts in 46 games to earn a Vezina Trophy finalist nomination. He won the Masterton Trophy after receiving a proper diagnosis of bipolar disorder and receiving treatment for substance abuse. He also took home the Jennings Trophy with Thomas Greiss for the fewest goals allowed.
Here are Robin Lehner's full comments on how things went down with the Islanders. Not a good look. pic.twitter.com/N18Oot20x5— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) July 2, 2019
It’s the second straight year the Blackhawks have inked a proven NHL netminder as an insurance policy for Corey Crawford, who suffered his second known concussion in less than a year last December. With Crawford out for some time last season, the Blackhawks called up AHL starter Collin Delia. The now 25-year-old Delia went 6-2-3 with a 3.61 GAA and .908 save percentage to earn a three-year extension worth $3 million.
Delia is waiver exempt and can play next season with the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL, where he’ll share the net with Kevin Lankinen.
Crawford, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, is 34 years old and has one year left on his contract worth $6 million with a modified no-trade clause that contains 10 teams can be traded to. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent after next season.
Think a lot of people may look at the Lehner signing as evidence that the Blackhawks have lost faith in Crawford, but think it's quite the opposite. Tandems are the way of the future, and it's almost weirder to me now when teams *don't* try to establish one at a good cost.— Catherine Silverman (@catmsilverman) July 1, 2019
Lehner is the third signing of the day for Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman, who also signed Ryan Carpenter to a three-year deal worth $3 million and re-signed David Kampf to a two-year deal worth $2 million. The Blackhawks now have $1,036,539 in salary cap space, according to Cap Friendly.