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Lehner Trade: Five Questions with Die by the Blade

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For some snap analysis, we turned to Andy Boron, managing editor for SB Nation Sabres blog Die by the Blade.

A year ago, would you have guessed Patty W would be the last of these three still in Ottawa?
A year ago, would you have guessed Patty W would be the last of these three still in Ottawa?
Rich Gagnon/Getty Images

This morning, Robin Lehner and David Legwand were traded to the Buffalo Sabres for the 21st-overall pick. After listening to the opinions of Senators fans all morning, I thought it would be interesting to hear what a Sabres fan had to say. Andy Boron, managing editor at Die by the Blade, was kind enough to answer five questions for us. Here are his responses:

Q: Sabres Twitter seems to be hating the trade. Do you think the anger is justified?

A: I think the anger stems from two places mainly. First, the fact that, unless he improves on last year's pedestrian numbers, this seems like an overpayment for Lehner and Legwand, especially considering how deep this draft is and how much Sabres fans have valued their draft picks over the past three years. And second, as Sabres fans we've been theorycrafting this 21st pick for a full year, and to have all the excitement over it taken away for an unproven player (i.e. not Ryan O'Reilly) so early in the morning today was a bit of a gut punch. Buffalo fans tend to hold on to their draft picks like Gollum holds on to the Ring, so to lose one so highly sought-after made the immediate reaction to the trade worse than I think it actually is.

Q: Do you think Robin Lehner can be Buffalo's goalie of the future?

A: I think so, but the emphasis is on the word "can". This trade, like most, won't be able to be truly evaluated for a year or two. I think Lehner has a lot of talent and potential, but that he hasn't quite learned how to put it all together yet. At 23, he still has plenty of room to improve, and if he can do that and shine as the Sabres starting goaltender, we'll all be very happy in Buffalo. If he puts up numbers like he has the past two years, I think many fans will be disappointed.

Q: What about David Legwand - do you think he's going to be an important contributor, or was just a salary dump by Ottawa?

A: Most Sabres fans view Legwand as a salary dump, and Tim Murray doing a favor for Uncle Brian. but I think it's a shrewd move to bring on the veteran forward for a few reasons. His salary isn't great at $3 million, but the Sabres do still need to reach the cap floor, and Legwand only has one year left on his contract. He'll also provide some much-needed veteran leadership in the Sabres locker room, which will feature a gaggle of young forwards and defensemen, and will put up far better numbers than the AHL players the Sabres have featured on their bottom six the past two years. Finally, as a former #2 overall pick, he might have some advice for a future #2 overall pick who should be making his way to Buffalo soon.

Q: It's been reported that Tim Murray really wanted to get Evander Kane when he was assistant GM in Ottawa. Do you think the Kane trade and the Lehner trade together are examples of GMTM holding on too tightly to his Ottawa days?

A: This is an interesting question, and one that is a bit worrisome. Maybe swing a big trade with someone else, eh Tim? At this point, though, Murray's just about exhausted that avenue, and Kane is a darn good player, so I think things should work out fine on that regard. Now if they make another trade with Ottawa next year...

Q: Finally, how would you grade the trade for the Sabres? Who do you think won the trade overall?

A: Again, I hate to pass judgement on it now, as it all depends on Lehner's continued development, but if you need a winner today it's the Senators. They get to draft a good prospect at #21 and get Legwand's contract off their books. If Lehner proves to be an above-average goalie throughout next season, however, then we can say it worked out well for both teams.