Buffalo Sabres: Robin Lehner denies asking for a trade

BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 9: Robin Lehner
BUFFALO, NY - JANUARY 9: Robin Lehner /

With Robin Lehner denying reports he asked the Buffalo Sabres to trade him, we explain why we’re inclined to believe the goaltender.

It’s easy for Buffalo Sabres fans to root for someone like Robin Lehner. Chief among the reasons is his undoubted passion.

This passion has seen Lehner get into starting contests and even fights with opposing players. It has also seen him call out his teammates for poor performances.

However, is it possible this passion led to the 26-year-old making a spontaneous request to the Sabres? Following the trade deadline, speculation emerged that he had asked the team to move him.

As much as he probably didn’t want to waste his time with such trivialities, Lehner was quick to deny this rumor. As reported by WGR 550‘s Paul Hamilton, he said:

"“No that was fake news. It’s funny how that works, some blogger puts something out, I don’t even know who he is and people seem to jump on it.“A bunch of serious Swedish web sites quoted that one and it’s hilarious. This day and age you don’t have to put a source on it, so it’s not true and I’m happy I’m still a Sabre.”"

While there was other speculation Lehner would be moved prior to the Feb. 26 deadline, this is different to him wanting to be traded. And to be fair, we’re inclined to believe him.

Everything about the 2009 second round draft pick’s passion points towards a man who is extremely honest — maybe even too much sometimes — both on and off the ice. If he has no problem standing up to opposing players and calling out his teammates, it stands to reason he would admit it he had asked to be traded.

Yes, we’re well aware athletes know how to play the business side of sports and will often stretch the truth or outright lie. However, Lehner just doesn’t strike us as that type of person.

As noted by Hamilton, the Gothenburg, Sweden has repeatedly stated his desire to stay in Buffalo and be part of the solution. In that respect, he was glad the Sabres decided against trading him:

"“Yes 100 percent, I have no reason to not want to be here,” Lehner said to Hamilton. “I’ve learned to really like it here and we’ll see what happens. Obviously some things have got to happen and we all understand that, but I have no reason to want to get out of here.”"

The irony in all this is that Lehner may still end up leaving Buffalo anyway. He will become a restricted free agent after this season and the Sabres will have to decide whether to extend him a qualifying offer.

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Part of the problem for the goaltender is his play compared to last season, when he set personal bests for games, starts and wins. Add in a .920 save percentage and 2.68 Goals Against Average, and the future looked promising.

However, Lehner has taken a step back this season. And while some of this can be attributed to the team as a whole, it still brings back ongoing questions about his lack of consistency.

No one is denying the former Ottawa Senators’ talent, size or mobility. Regardless, it doesn’t count for much, if he doesn’t use these assets to his advantage on a more regular basis.

It will be interesting to see if the Buffalo Sabres do decide to give Lehner another chance, or move on to other options. For now though, he will just concentrate on playing hard, and letting fate take care of itself:

"“I’m not worried about my future,” he said to Hamilton. “I know I’m a good goalie and at the end of the day you’ve got kids and stuff so you kind of want to know, but I haven’t gotten any indications from anyone that I’m being moved, so whatever happens, happens.”"

Next: Evander Kane trade necessary but frustrating

What’s your position on Lehner’s comments? Do you believe him, or think he DID ask the Buffalo Sabres for a trade? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.