My Plan for Robin Lehner

Before my initial post, I'd like to talk about last night's win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Great job by the Senators to defeat the league's best team and almost snap Sidney Crosby's point-scoring streak, if it wasn't for that fluky goal. Erik Karlsson now leads the team in points, in his freakin' sophomore season. This is guy is sick, and a future All-Star for my money and a future Norris winner. Don't you think Sergei Gonchar has played a part in his development? Either way, boo to the refs last night, while Bettman and his officials show once again that they will always protect the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals from anything, even if it some HBO network watching them with a couple hundred bucks behind their back. Simple as said, Nick Foligno's goal should have counted, and if it had been Jarkko Ruutu hitting Kris Letang behind like Letand did to Spezza, a suspension would have been very likely. They screwed us last year in the playoffs, and I'm sick and tired of it. Don't want to make any excuses now, but I hope they go die in a hole.

Now, the other important event going on now is the blessed World Juniors. You Canadians beat Russia 6-3 yesterday, which I am happy for since I am anti-Russia. We Swedish beat Norway yesterday 7-1, which I consider a bad game since we actually allowed NORWAY to score a goal on 10 total shots. For some reason we put Fredrik Wentzel in net, which proved to be a mistake. Although it could have been on purpose to give Young Messiah Lehner a break into facing the better teams, and eventually Canada on New Year's Eve.

Speaking of Robin, I was thinking of how the Ottawa Senators should handle Lehner's development. With our goaltending never getting any better, and Lehner already playing 34 minutes of shutout hockey in the NHL, some fans may be thinking he's ready. I say to that no way, and have a few cases of examples. It is very unlikely they will find a freak like Sergei BOBROVSKY (love that last name, stupid Russian though), or a Patrick Roy in Robin Lehner. For me, Lehner needs 2-3 years in the AHL before he can start in the NHL. Look at guys like Jimmy Howard, Ondrej Pavelec, and Tuukka Rask. All young goaltenders who bid their time in the minors, and now they are franchise goaltenders for their respective teams, although in Rask's case he'll have to wait one more year or so to finally get to that point. You can also see Cory Schneider over in Vancouver who is 5-0-2 this season, and spent I believe 4 years in the AHL before getting the back-up spot behind Roberto Luongo. This year as the back-up and you can almost guarantee he'll be the starter for Tampa Bay next season, after getting traded of course.

So, in my view. Keep Lehner in the AHL for the 2010-2011, 2011-2012, and possibly 2012-2013 seasons. Let him play for Sweden in various tournaments only if he starts, though. After the 2011-2012 season, evaluate his progress and see if he's ready for back-up duties behind (knock on wood) Tomas Vokoun. If not, keep him one more year in Binghamton. It won't affect his physiocological mind if he has to play one more year in Bingo, we Swedish men are strong and proud. After 2012-2013, clear the path for him to play his way into the starters' role. Not only do we rush him, but the Sens have a chance to develop a real good goaltender and secure the future in net. I may be going way over my head now, but being competitive now isn't as important as being a contender in the near years. Our defense is set by great prospects and Erik Karlsson right now. A few drafts where we take the goal-scoring guy we need, and this is a franchise where the window of oppurtunity can re-open.

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