The Carolina Hurricanes are looking to upgrade every position in order to become bonafide Stanley Cup Contenders. Could Robin Lehner be the answer in goal?
It goes without saying that if you look at the Carolina Hurricanes and what this 2019-2020 season has brought them, and many seasons past, our biggest problem has been between the pipes. Since re-signing Petr Mrazek after last season, he hasn’t been as consistent as we all hoped he would and James Reimer has undoubtedly been a great surprise.
Don’t get me wrong I am a big fan of both of our current goalies but I think it could be in the Canes best interest to also consider options from somewhere else and possibly a mix up in the crease.
As of late, Mrazek has lost 4 of his last 6 starts in net. In those past 6 games he has let in 13 goals and has a combined save percentage of .900.
Although his save percentage and average goals against (2.5) doesn’t sound so bad, it has been his play in the first couple minutes of each game that has really been making it tough for the Canes.
It feels like each game Mrazek has started as of late have been games where the Canes need to play catch-up after having goals scored so early on in the 1st period.
The year 2020 and the new season has not been treating Mrazek so well which is why I think we should consider some other options.
As of late, Robin Lehner on the other hand has managed to win four of his last six starts. And in seven of his last eight starts his save percentage has been above .900. He started off a little streaky for the Blackhawks at the beginning of the year after accepting a five-million dollar contract with the organization during the off-season, but as of late has been very consistent.
Although Lehner has only made 10 playoff starts in his career, he was fantastic last year when the Islanders made the playoffs. Lehner managed to rock a .936 save percentage in eight games for the Islanders last season, as well as rocking a 2.05 GAA in that span.
When/Should the Canes make the playoffs they are going to want consistent goal-tending between the pipes to make as long a run as they can.
3 Goalies next season?
Don’t forget Caniacs, once next season comes around, up and coming prospect Alex Nedeljkoivc will be wearing a Hurricanes uniform. He is on a one-way deal with the organization next season so it will be interesting to see where he lands in the goalie mix as well.
If I am Rod Brind’amour though I go into next season with the idea that Alex Nedeljkovic will be our number one going into the season. Ned has been nothing short of amazing down at the AHL level in his time with the Checkers.
The Hurricanes will either need to ride with three goalies or make some sort of trade to hold onto two. With Ned assuming the starting position, I think it is safe to say that Petr will still want to be a starter in the NHL elsewhere.
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With James Reimer being a great surprise in net for the Carolina Hurricanes I don’t see any reason why we should even consider moving or trading Reimer. I’m a big fan of the phrase: “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” and James Reimer has been a very solid and reliable netminder between the pipes.
As I said before, with Petr Mrazek most likely wanting to be a starter again next year, and Alex Nedeljkovic being on a one-way deal next season, I truly believe it is in the best interest for both parties that the Carolina Hurricanes make a trade and have a solid three way tandem next season.
That tandem should include: James Reimer, Robin Lehner, and Alex Nedeljkovic.
Think about the last time you were truly happy and confident when it came to goaltending for the Canes. I know if you ask me I would tell you it’s been years.
I think if the Canes can have three solid goaltenders which is something we have not had in a long time, that we can really be set between the pipes and not have to worry about goaltending as much as we have for past years. We can focus more on scoring and winning games.