Canada’s capital city saw a miraculous berth into the 2015 NHL playoffs. Thanks to Andrew Hammond’s late season 20-1-2 surge, the Ottawa Senators finished with the first wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. The Sens lost their first two games to the Montreal Canadiens with a marginal showing from Andrew Hammond. Similar to Patrick Lalime in the 2001 playoffs, the Hamburglar had lost his magic of stealing games. The Sens looked to Craig Anderson who put up consistent, stellar performances that saw the Sens emerge from an 0-3 deficit to losing in six games.
The 2015 Stanley Cup playoff berth is a major building block to Ottawa’s future success. After signing top college free-agent Matt O’Connor, the Senators have a surplus of goaltending that they should test the market with.
After a strong finish to the 2014-15 season, the Sens should review their twine protectors in matters of consistency and ability to stop the puck. The obviousness that Andrew Hammond and Craig Anderson are the top goaltenders reeks with a combined .931 save percentage, while Robin Lehner trails behind with a low save percentage of .905. The Senators could explore trading Lehner to one of the Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres, or the Dallas Stars:
- The Buffalo Sabres are in urgent need of a goaltender. Both Matt Hackett and Anders Lindback are pending free agents, and the Sabres need a goaltender that can take the top spot behind a young Sabres group.
- Robin Lehner would add to the Oilers’ goaltending depth by competing with Ben Scrivens for the starting role. With the developing team led by coach Todd McLellan, Lehner could thrive in the “City of Champions.”
- Dallas might not resign Jhonas Enroth, who is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. IF Lehner is added to the Stars and plays consistent and Kari Lehtonen does not, Lehner could steal the starting job.
Trading away a goaltender such as Robin Lehner could be a costly move. If anything, Craig Anderson could be involved in a trade to be the starter in one of the cities mentioned above. A return might include a top six left-handed defenceman that can replace Chris Phillips upon his retirement. The Senators have to stick to the plan to maintain their path to success.
Information from generalfanager.com and nhl.com