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Robin Lehner: the man, the myth


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Poll: Robin Lehner

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Which best reflects your opinion of Robin Lehner

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#1 dudacek

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 01:56 PM

As the Sabres continue to flounder and the natives get increasingly restless, two narratives surface around Robin Lehner:

 

1) He's not very good

 

This is always going to be in the eye of the beholder, but statistically, he's been better than average.

Among goalies who have played at least 20 games, he's 14th in GAA and 8th in SP.

 

For the fancy-stat lovers, he's eighth in something called Goals Saved Above Average, which basically measures how well a goalie does at keeping his team in games.

He's also 8th in Goals Against Percentage, 8th in Quality Start Percentage and has had just two Really Bad Starts (yes, this is a statistic)

 

(Explanations here: http://www.hockey-re...7_goalies.html)

 

2) Tim Murray gave up way too much for him

 

There are two ways of looking at this:

Looking at the prices paid in recent years for touted young/emerging goalies:

Spoiler

 

Looking at the performances of goalies recently on the market relative to their cost:

Spoiler

 

My conclusions:

  • He's been an above-average to good NHL starter based on the numbers
  • We paid a premium for him, but not an exorbitant one: going rate for a goalie of his profile appears to be a late 1st to early 2nd
  • He's performing as well as any other goalie available, and significantly better than all but four of them. Jones and Andersen are posting similar numbers at a similar price, Talbot and Johnson are performing as well at a cheaper price.

 

Thoughts?


Edited by dudacek, 02 January 2017 - 02:08 PM.


#2 Randall Flagg

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 02:16 PM

His numbers are fine. Watching him constantly leaves me worried, I don't really have words to describe exactly why. He doesn't LOOK like a good goalie to me. I don't really care, though. My view is that there are around 5 elite goalies any given year, 5 very very good ones, 15 interchangeable goalies that would look the same on any of those 15 teams, and then 5 horrible situations in net. I have Lehner in the 15 range, and he could very well develop into the class above that. In the 15 range, I'm worried about 40 other things before the goalie. 



#3 Sabres Fan In NS

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 02:20 PM

While our goalies have had some problems, but most of them (SO) can be improved upon.

 

The biggest problem with the current Sabres is the same problem that has been with recent teams ... the lack of scoring.

 

I voted the he can be our goalie when we contend and I believe it to be true.



#4 Sabres79

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 02:26 PM

If the skaters on this team knew which end of the stick they should be holding in the offensive zone goaltending would not even be discussed. IMO.

#5 Randall Flagg

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 02:33 PM

The lack of scoring actually does make the optics of our goaltending worse. When I watch other games I think that the goalies are bad too, just like ours - and then I realize that every game, we're comparing our goalie to our opponent's goalie, and they are allowing 1 goal or 0 goals for half of our games, and only 2 for many others. That's not a fair comparison and definitely does its part to make Lehner look worse than he actually is. That's not normal, it's a product of a historically terrible offense that we have.



#6 dudacek

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 02:39 PM

I'm going to suggest Lehner's numbers have been inflated by Bylsma's system in that it minimizes the number of one-on-one looks shooters get. He is good at going cross-crease but mostly succeeds by being a big body. When shooters get time, they can find holes.

I'm also going to suggest that Lehner's play has been hurt by Bylsma's system in that it's inability to score has ratcheted up the pressure he puts on himself to win. It results in aggressive overcommitment. He's a skilled guy, but - particularly in the recent stretch - doesn't appear to be mentally in the zone even when he is making the saves. He looks desperate. I want ice, not fire.

Edited by dudacek, 02 January 2017 - 02:41 PM.


#7 Sabres Fan In NS

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 02:47 PM

No love for him from MODO ...  :w00t:



#8 TrueBlueGED

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 03:30 PM

I'm going to suggest Lehner's numbers have been inflated by Bylsma's system in that it minimizes the number of one-on-one looks shooters get. He is good at going cross-crease but mostly succeeds by being a big body. When shooters get time, they can find holes.

I'm also going to suggest that Lehner's play has been hurt by Bylsma's system in that it's inability to score has ratcheted up the pressure he puts on himself to win. It results in aggressive overcommitment. He's a skilled guy, but - particularly in the recent stretch - doesn't appear to be mentally in the zone even when he is making the saves. He looks desperate. I want ice, not fire.


There's actually a stat that adjusts "normal" statistics for quality of shots faced, and Lehner was near the bottom of the league amongst starters last I looked. I'll try to remember to double check this evening.

#9 Thorny

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 03:42 PM

His numbers are fine. Watching him constantly leaves me worried, I don't really have words to describe exactly why. He doesn't LOOK like a good goalie to me. I don't really care, though. My view is that there are around 5 elite goalies any given year, 5 very very good ones, 15 interchangeable goalies that would look the same on any of those 15 teams, and then 5 horrible situations in net. I have Lehner in the 15 range, and he could very well develop into the class above that. In the 15 range, I'm worried about 40 other things before the goalie.


Succinct. The hubbub over giving up a late first for Lehner is overblown to me. It's Murray's goaltending evaluation that's under the microscope here, not the fact that he gave up the pick, in general.

I think Lehner is about where you place him. And to this point I feel like goalies are trending towards become the running backs of the NHL, if they aren't already there.

#10 Sabres Fan In NS

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 03:44 PM

How did Peppy vote twice?



#11 Jsixspd

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 05:38 PM

I went with 4.   His hire isn't a disaster, but we could have done better and should have waited for a better goalie to appear on the market.   He's kind of mid-tier as goalies go - he'll never be elite.  His price was too high for what he delivers.  And his shootout play is terrible, to say the least.  


Edited by Jsixspd, 02 January 2017 - 05:38 PM.


#12 Beer

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 05:58 PM

He lets in too many softies, his rebound control is suspect and he can't make a save in the SO to save his life. Other than that he's a serviceable goalie in the NHL. Due to our roster, we need a goal to steal games and he's just not capable IMO.

Edited by Beer, 02 January 2017 - 05:58 PM.


#13 Let's Go B-Lo

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 07:45 PM

His numbers are fine. Watching him constantly leaves me worried, I don't really have words to describe exactly why. He doesn't LOOK like a good goalie to me. I don't really care, though. My view is that there are around 5 elite goalies any given year, 5 very very good ones, 15 interchangeable goalies that would look the same on any of those 15 teams, and then 5 horrible situations in net. I have Lehner in the 15 range, and he could very well develop into the class above that. In the 15 range, I'm worried about 40 other things before the goalie. 

He absolutely sucks in shootouts and in the current NHL point structure that is simply a non-starter for a team with playoff aspirations.



#14 North Buffalo

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 08:39 PM

He absolutely sucks in shootouts and in the current NHL point structure that is simply a non-starter for a team with playoff aspirations.

Agreed, not bas otherwise. Problem is I think all he really needs is a good goalie coach and that is on Murray. Reminds me of Bishop right before light bulb went on. He has potential but lets in too many critical head scratchers. Again... because the big if is can he be properly coached.... Murray paid too much. Still luv his passion and hope he can figure it out.

#15 Bmwolf21

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 08:48 PM

I don't get to see him much - lack of national games, and I don't have center ice package - but when I see him and the goals he allows I feel like he's a big body who plays "small".

#16 TrueBlueGED

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 11:25 PM

There's actually a stat that adjusts "normal" statistics for quality of shots faced, and Lehner was near the bottom of the league amongst starters last I looked. I'll try to remember to double check this evening.

 

Circling back, the stat I was thinking of is indeed Goals Saved Above Average. I must not have recognized it because of Dudacek's crappy description :nana:

 

Of goalies with at least 840 even strength minutes played (Why 840? Because it was the first number I got to that gave me 30 goalies), Lehner is 21st in GSAA, sandwiched between Ward and Miller. Using the same sample, more stats that maybe like 2 other people here will know what they are:

 

Expected Fenwick SV%: 95.04, 2nd (!!!!)

Actual Fenwick SV%: 94.12, 13th 

Adjusted Fenwick SV%: -.12, 21st ( :sick: )

Expected goals against: 25th ( :sick: )

 

Optimistic interpretation: He's been unlucky, and the numbers will rebound as the season drags on.

Pessimistic interpretation: He's performing worse than he should be given what the team allows. 

 

My interpretation (based on more than just numbers you hosers): He's pretty average, though probably close to worth what he was acquired for in a pure paper sense; keep in mind that in addition to the prices for other goalies Dudacek posted, the expectation for your average late-1st is a 3rd liner...but I'd personally much rather have the lottery ticket for higher potential at another position. I stand by an observation I made earlier in the season that he's just remarkably unspectacular in every way. Certainly not an example of great asset management, but also not the disaster some decry it as.

 

Edit: here, have a picture

Attached File  xGS.png   498.52KB   0 downloads


Edited by TrueBlueGED, 02 January 2017 - 11:31 PM.


#17 WildCard

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Posted 02 January 2017 - 11:46 PM

Stats? Check

Fancy stats? Check

Sound argument? Check

But really, the post nails it for the caption on your edit. Yes thank you, I would like a picture. Well done

#18 matter2003

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 12:34 AM

There's actually a stat that adjusts "normal" statistics for quality of shots faced, and Lehner was near the bottom of the league amongst starters last I looked. I'll try to remember to double check this evening.

He's 12th according to GSAA which normalizes thing across the league based on quality of chances against:

 

http://www.hockey-re...17_goalies.html



#19 TrueBlueGED

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 12:51 AM

He's 12th according to GSAA which normalizes thing across the league based on quality of chances against:

 

http://www.hockey-re...17_goalies.html

 

Pretty sure hockey-reference uses GSAA in all situations, whereas I was citing even strength data.



#20 dudacek

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 01:25 AM

Pretty sure hockey-reference uses GSAA in all situations, whereas I was citing even strength data.


I was going to ask, because your numbers didn't seem to match the link I posted.
Is that because the Sabres allow a sick number of chances while short-handed? Because their PK is so lousy you'd think Lehner would look better at even strength, not worse.

#21 Huckleberry

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 06:44 AM

He is the least of our worries, and I think he can be our goalie when we contend.

Price being paid seemed normal to me for a #1 goalie.   



#22 Cygnus X 1

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 08:00 AM

Problem is, with the defense he has in front of him and the lack of scoring by the offense, he has not been good enough to bail this team out. If the Sabres bolster the defense and start to put the puck in the net, Lehner will win more than he loses. Elite goalies can cover up a lot of holes on a team. So until Murray beefs up the defense and brings in a coach that knows how to utilize a young and talented team, I don't see much changing and Lehner is gonna look worse than he is because of it. I just wonder how many more games before Lehner snaps and throttles someone.

#23 rjones71

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 08:35 AM

If he is going to allow 4 to 5 goals a game and this team can only score 1 or 2, he isn't going to look good to anyone is he.

#24 Marvelo

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 08:47 AM

It's a given that Robin will let in one bad goal a game and he will lose the shootout. To a mediocre team, what good is that? 

 

I remember what a goal-challenged team the Sabres were when Hasek was goalie. They NEEDED him to perform at top level just to stay in games.

 

Our offense hasn't changed much since then and we still need a savior in goal. Problem is, even if you get to the top levels, a great goalie is not going to be enough.



#25 nfreeman

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 01:12 PM

I voted "least of our problems."

 

I see him as a pretty solid NHL starter right now and still with substantial upside. 

 

It's his 1st full season as a starter, and he plays with the pressure of pretty much knowing that his team isn't going to score until the 2nd period is mostly over.

 

I kinda feel like the shootout thing will self-correct over time, although I also think it's in his head now and might not improve for a while.

 

They just have quite a few more pressing issues.



#26 PromoTheRobot

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 01:17 PM

He overplays the puck. Mostly not an issue but he often takes himself out of position. That is bad form.



#27 Randall Flagg

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 01:20 PM

I voted "least of our problems."

 

I see him as a pretty solid NHL starter right now and still with substantial upside. 

 

It's his 1st full season as a starter, and he plays with the pressure of pretty much knowing that his team isn't going to score until the 2nd period is mostly over.

 

I kinda feel like the shootout thing will self-correct over time, although I also think it's in his head now and might not improve for a while.

 

They just have quite a few more pressing issues.

Wasn't Enroth pretty bad at these earlier in his career? And didn't he leave the Sabres on something like a 21 save streak in the shootout? Robin has to put the work in, but I don't believe this will continue to be the problem it has been. 

 



#28 TrueBlueGED

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 01:49 PM

I was going to ask, because your numbers didn't seem to match the link I posted.
Is that because the Sabres allow a sick number of chances while short-handed? Because their PK is so lousy you'd think Lehner would look better at even strength, not worse.


Without looking deeper at the PK numbers, that'd be my guess. But it could also just be happenstance since PK goaltending numbers are insanely variable from year to year, to say nothing of luck in a 30 game sample.

#29 dudacek

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Posted 03 January 2017 - 02:08 PM

Better off with a pick and a random free agent seems to be the leading choice.
I'd like to hear the thought process given the stats of every free agent goalie save the Chad.

How many of the "on-the-market" goalies listed in the opening post would you rather have than Lehner?

Why are Lehner's numbers as good or better than all of them, as well as "good" goalies like Bishop, Lundquist, Schneider, Luongo, Allen, Vasilevsky, Gibson, and Rinne?

Edited by dudacek, 03 January 2017 - 02:08 PM.


#30 Drunkard

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Posted 04 January 2017 - 04:12 PM

Lehner is an average goaltender who happens to also be the worst shootout goalie in the league at this moment. Very few goalies are difference makers but with the way the league is, even average goalies can put up pretty good numbers and he's good enough to help us win (sans shootouts) if the team knew how to score at even strength.

 

The 1st round pick is overblown. Yes, we could've picked up another average goalie in Free Agency but Murray wanted a young but also experienced goalie with size that was cost controlled and it's hard to check that many boxes without ponying up some value.



#31 yse325

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 03:14 PM

Dude, I voted for overpaid, but his play has been fine. However there is ample evidence over both seasons that we'd be better off with the draft pick and using Johnson and Nilsson instead. We acquired Nilsson for a 5th in 2017 and Johnson with a 3rd rd pick for Neuvirth. As pointed out in other threads, with the 21st pick we could have taken center Colin White, who looks like a future star forward, or to; D prospects Jacob Larsson or Noah Juulsen. Larsson has already appeared in the NHL and considering our desperate need for defenders this might have been the better route. How much brighter would our future look if both Guhle and Larsson were coming next season?

2015-16
1) Johnson - 45g 22-16-4 2.36 .920
2) Lehner - 21g 5-9-3 2.47 .924
3) Ullmark - 20g 8-10-2 2.60 .913

2016-17
1) Lehner - 51g 19-22-8 2.64 .921
2) Nilsson - 24g 10-9-4 2.75 .920

Edited by yse325, 18 March 2017 - 03:16 PM.


#32 Dank Dangleson

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 04:11 PM

Might as well trade the guy. He keeps the Sabres in 95% of the games he plays, and they give him no support. Fans hate him because of the price the GM paid to get him, therefore he never stood a chance here.

I'd love to see him go elsewhere to be a #1, put him on a good team and he would be an elite goalie.

Out of the goalies who have faced 1,000 shots, Lehner (.921) ranks tied for 6th in SV% with Gibson (.921), behind Dubnyk (.930), Bobrovsky (.930), Holtby (.926), Murray (.923) and Price (.922), and all of them are on much better teams. He's by far the least of the Sabres problems, and in his first year as a starting goaltender he's improved as the season has gone on...and the more he plays, the better he is.


Edited by Dank Dangleson, 18 March 2017 - 04:11 PM.


#33 Radar

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 04:50 PM

Might as well trade the guy. He keeps the Sabres in 95% of the games he plays, and they give him no support. Fans hate him because of the price the GM paid to get him, therefore he never stood a chance here.
I'd love to see him go elsewhere to be a #1, put him on a good team and he would be an elite goalie.
Out of the goalies who have faced 1,000 shots, Lehner (.921) ranks tied for 6th in SV% with Gibson (.921), behind Dubnyk (.930), Bobrovsky (.930), Holtby (.926), Murray (.923) and Price (.922), and all of them are on much better teams. He's by far the least of the Sabres problems, and in his first year as a starting goaltender he's improved as the season has gone on...and the more he plays, the better he is.


I agree. Aside from a few games, and all goalies have them, he's been pretty solid. Obviously he's been bad in shootouts, but in many off those games it wouldn't have gotten to a shootout without him. Also agree he's the least of our problems defensively anyway.

#34 sabresouth

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 05:39 PM

Yes Lehner's SV% is good. And yes he needs better help from his defense. But he spits out more rebounds than the games at chucky cheese spit out tickets. If he would freeze the Puck at more opportune times or send some of the rebounds in better places, he would face less shots. If he faced ten less shots per game he could probably save a half a goal per game. Yes his shootouts are terrible to. And during the games he has a hard time stoping breakaway's as well. So I just don't think when it comes time to contend for the cup he's what we will need.

#35 JJFIVEOH

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 07:45 PM

Yes Lehner's SV% is good. And yes he needs better help from his defense. But he spits out more rebounds than the games at chucky cheese spit out tickets. If he would freeze the Puck at more opportune times or send some of the rebounds in better places, he would face less shots. If he faced ten less shots per game he could probably save a half a goal per game. Yes his shootouts are terrible to. And during the games he has a hard time stoping breakaway's as well. So I just don't think when it comes time to contend for the cup he's what we will need.

 

I highly doubt he faces 10 more shots because of his rebounds, in fact it's been mentioned he kicks out rebounds in attempts to get the puck out of the zone. Or at least out of the crease. He averages 33.7 shots per 60 minutes compared to Nilsson's 34.2. 



#36 PromoTheRobot

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 07:59 AM

I called him a dud and his non-shootout play improved dramatically. So I'm hoping that may come around eventually.

#37 Saratoga Sabres Fan

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 07:41 PM

Yes Lehner's SV% is good. And yes he needs better help from his defense. But he spits out more rebounds than the games at chucky cheese spit out tickets. If he would freeze the Puck at more opportune times or send some of the rebounds in better places, he would face less shots. If he faced ten less shots per game he could probably save a half a goal per game. Yes his shootouts are terrible to. And during the games he has a hard time stoping breakaway's as well. So I just don't think when it comes time to contend for the cup he's what we will need.


I wouldn't blame our league- leading shots allowed on Lehner rebounds. The shootout, IMO, doesn't belong in the NHL it's a skills competition and not hockey. I like Lehner, don't like our defense.

#38 Eleven

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:10 AM

Dudacek:  dead on with "going rate," as I've been saying since the day of the trade.

 

I'm not sure that Lehner will turn into a great starter, but I am sure that he's the least of the team's problems right now.



#39 MattPie

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:24 AM

Dudacek:  dead on with "going rate," as I've been saying since the day of the trade.

 

I'm not sure that Lehner will turn into a great starter, but I am sure that he's the least of the team's problems right now.

 

Agreed. Based on his habit of moving around and challenging, I'm worried that he thinks he's a much more athletic goalie than he actually is and that's going to get him into trouble when teams get a book on him.

 

Also 11, you have a microwave in your bathroom? That's odd.



#40 North Buffalo

North Buffalo

    When hell freezes over, I’ll play hockey there too.

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:56 AM

Arrrgh!