Robin Lehner gave it his all final 12 months. After battling private demons, Lehner received the Masterton Trophy, the William M. Jennings Trophy and fell simply wanting the Vezina Trophy. For a man who battled consistency points all through his NHL profession and had been let stroll as a restricted free agent final summer season, it was the league’s biggest success story.
That stated, the New York Islanders didn’t find yourself bringing him again, Lehner as a substitute signing a one-year take care of the Chicago Blackhawks. It was a stunning transfer, if solely as a result of Corey Crawford remains to be a Blackhawk and if he stays wholesome (the largest query mark of all), Lehner isn’t assured the starter’s position. At 35, query stay as as to whether Crawford nonetheless has the power to steer the crew, however, once more, his lack of taking part in time over the previous two seasons is regarding, even when he did play effectively to finish the 2018-19 marketing campaign.
Thus, Lehner’s deal is a giant wager on his future. He in all probability might have discovered a longer-term deal at an identical wage, however that is his probability to show the previous marketing campaign wasn’t a fluke. Proper now, groups such because the Ottawa Senators, Detroit Crimson Wings and maybe the Arizona Coyotes and Vancouver Canucks could possibly be in search of true beginning goalie subsequent summer season, and if Lehner performs effectively this season, he might have positioned himself completely for a payday subsequent summer season.
He’s not the one participant who wager on himself, nevertheless. Right here’s a take a look at 10 different gamers who might up their worth tags subsequent summer season in the event that they carry out after inking short-term offers in free company:
Corey Perry, RW, 34 (Dallas – one-year, $1.5-million deal)Perry remains to be a superb NHLer, however he wasn’t definitely worth the $eight.63 million cap hit the Geese have been swallowing for him to provide a handful of factors per season. Accidents have taken a toll on his physique, however Dallas is an efficient place for Perry to revive his profession. He’s a low-risk addition who can play on the third line with Roope Hintz and probably discover a few of that previous 20-goal type. If it really works, he’s set as much as make extra on his subsequent contract.
Andrej Sekera, D, 33 (Dallas – one-year, $1.5-million deal)The Stars have been aggressive on Monday, however Sekera, who’s coming off of two injury-plagued seasons in Edmonton earlier than getting purchased out on Sunday, is likely one of the extra underrated signings from the opening day of free company. Sekera performed effectively when wholesome in 2017-18 however was restricted to third-pairing minutes final season. Sekera ought to fill a depth position once more on an already sturdy blueline.
Jason Spezza, C, 36 (Toronto – one-year, $700,000 deal)It was humorous seeing one in all Toronto’s previous rivals be a part of the crew, however Spezza, a neighborhood boy from close by Mississauga, was a sensible depth addition by GM Kyle Dubas. Spezza is coming off of two poor seasons and has produced simply 53 factors in his previous 154 video games (he had 50 in 2016-17) and was a wholesome scratch every so often final season earlier than selecting up the tempo within the playoffs. Spezza will fill a fourth-line position on a crew loaded with expertise. He’s a nifty energy play and faceoff specialist, too.
Markus Granlund, C, 26 (Edmonton – one-year, $1.Three-million deal)Granlund was among the many extra stunning gamers who didn’t obtain a qualifying supply final week and the Oilers didn’t take lengthy to snap him up as a free agent. No person will deny his expertise, however his consistency and work ethic is questionable. Regardless of a 19-goal season, he by no means actually discovered his groove in Vancouver, so Granlund’s alternative to show himself as an efficient winger on a weak crew is now.
Cam Talbot, G, 31 (Calgary – one-year, $2.75-million deal)It’s been a tough few years for Talbot within the aftermath of his particular 2016-17 marketing campaign, throughout which he led the Oilers to a playoff run. He was traded to Philadelphia final season however performed solely 4 video games. Talbot will battle David Rittich for the beginning job in Calgary this coming season. With a greater crew in entrance of him, it is a good alternative for Talbot to regain the throne and signal a extra profitable deal subsequent summer season.
Luke Schenn, D, 29 (Tampa Bay – one-year, $700,000 deal)Schenn’s has had a lackluster profession, with the Maple Leafs’ fifth-overall decide in 2008 struggling to discover a constant position with any membership since transferring on from Toronto. When Anaheim put him on waivers final season, some puzzled if he would even stay within the league. Following some good showings in Vancouver, Tampa Bay determined to present him a shot to play a depth position on a real Stanley Cup contender. He’ll must compete with Jan Rutta and Braydon Coburn for a spot subsequent season, however that is good motivation for Schenn.
Daniel Carr, LW, 27 (Nashville – one-year, $700,000 deal)Carr completed third in AHL scoring final 12 months with the Chicago Wolves, recording 71 factors and successful league MVP. The Predators should imagine he’s obtained a shot at making the roster after inking him to a one-year pact. Nashville has some stable bottom-six depth, however Carr has scoring contact and might transfer up within the lineup if wanted, one thing he did on a number of events throughout his time in Montreal.
Curtis Lazar, C, 24 (Buffalo – one-year, $700,000 deal)Lazar was as soon as probably the greatest prospects within the league, however 246 video games and 52 profession factors later, Lazar has but to emerge as a viable NHLer. Lazar had a superb season within the AHL and now has a shot to battle his manner again to the present. He’s not the goal-scorer he was drafted to grow to be, however he’s a superb utility participant who can play all ahead positions and brings a speedy, bodily drive to Buffalo’s backside six. He’s a reclamation mission, however one with upside for the Sabres.
Calvin Pickard, G, 27 (Detroit – two-year, $1.Four-million deal)Pickard’s two-year take care of the Crimson Wings suggests the crew isn’t assured Jonathan Bernier is usually a constant backup. Jimmy Howard remains to be the go-to man and has one other 12 months left on his contract and at 35, however Pickard will function backup depth. That is Pickard’s fifth crew since 2017 and he has but to show himself as an NHL common, however at 27, coaching camp is his alternative to place up or shut up if he desires to stay within the NHL.
Beau Bennett, RW, 27 (Arizona – one-year, $725,000 deal)One of many kings of hockey social media, Bennett may have his palms full if he desires to make the Coyotes out of coaching camp. After getting launched by the KHL’s Dinamo Minsk in September after 5 video games, Bennett’s return will likely be difficult. With 200 video games below his belt and a decent 64 factors in a depth position, Bennett will try to grind his manner into Arizona’s backside six, and given the crew’s lack of offensive depth, the playmaking winger has a official probability to take action.
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Join: Concerning the AuthorSteven EllisSteven Ellis is a Digital Content material Producer for The Hockey Information. He spends his free time listening to music you would not like and watches obnoxiously-long motor races.