After his whirlwind 2010-11 season, Robin Lehner seems to have learned to be less controversial and be patient as he waits for his turn to get back in the crease.
On Saturday, the 20-year-old goaltender returned to the Bell Center where his NHL career started as an injury replacement 11 months ago, but insists his views have changed since then.
"I matured," Lehner, who is apparently avoiding controversy, said via the Montreal Gazette after the team practice at Scotiabank Place Saturday morning before their preseason game at Montreal. "A little bit, at least."
Lehner, a second-round pick by Ottawa in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, is competitive by nature, but he is now trying to look at things at a certain perspective.
If he had his way Lehner would prefer to contend for a roster spot in the big leagues this training camp, but indicated that he is more attuned to the situation than before.
"I'm not up here to battle for a second spot, in their eyes. I have to try and understand their plans and go with it. They're the bosses," Lehner told the Gazette.
Lehner has made an impressive accounting of himself in the AHL, but the Senators are expecting him to be ready to play almost every night for a full NHL season, whenever the need arises. He might play anywhere from 50-60 contests in the AHL.
A day after making his AHL debut for the 2010-11 season, Lehner was called up to Ottawa on Oct. 16, 2010 and made his debut due to an injured Pascal Leclaire.
Lehner, who was then 19 years, two months and 24 days, was forced into the net when Brian Elliot got hurt, becoming the youngest goaltender to ever play for the Senators.
He also became the youngest Swedish goaltender to play in the NHL.
Lehner returned to the Binghamton Senators after that and emerged from his back-up role. He went on to post a 14-4 mark with a 2.10 GAA and three shutouts in the playoffs, while helping Binghamton snag the 2011 AHL championship.
Lehner was recognized with the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as MVP of the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs.
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