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SportsHockeyIslanders

Goalie Robin Lehner, on one-year deal, looking for future with Isles

Ex-Sabres goalie confident with ability on ice and with winning his battle with addiction and mental health issues.

New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner receives coaching

New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner receives coaching during training camp at Northwell Health Ice Center on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Goalie Robin Lehner is not expecting his tenure with the Islanders to be one and done.

The 27-year-old former Sabres starter signed a one-year, $1.5-million deal with the Islanders, who had full knowledge of the off-ice addiction and mental health issues Lehner was confronting.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Lehner said Friday after being in the first group on ice at Islanders training camp at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow. “I’m not looking at it as a one-year deal. I’m just proving myself off the ice. I know I can play. I know I’m a good goalie. I have no doubt in my mind about that.”

The now-sober and medicated Lehner detailed Thursday his addiction to alcohol and pills, his battle with depression and his thoughts of suicide.

He said about five or six teams initially had interest in him.

“Those teams weren’t interested when they found out it was a rehab, which is understandable, totally justified,” said Lehner, who went 14-26-9 with a 3.01 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage last season for the Eastern Conference-worst Sabres.

Islanders president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said he was satisfied that Lehner was a good investment after meeting with him this summer.

“You hear, you listen and you make a judgment,” Lamoriello said. “It was something we felt very comfortable with.”

Notes & quotes: Longtime Lamoriello crony Jacques Lemaire, who served two tenures as the Devils’ coach, has been named a special assignment coach, the same position he held most recently with the Lamoriello-led Maple Leafs. “I think it’s obvious the experience he brings, the knowledge he brings,” Lamoriello said. “He’ll be here for training camp, then come back sometime during the year.” . . . David Conte, who worked for the Devils for 31 years, 22 as director of scouting, and who was a pro scout for Vegas last season, has been hired as a special assignment scout . . . The Islanders also have hired former Hartford (AHL) coach Ken Gernander as a scout . . . Defenseman Bode Wilde, the 41st overall pick in June’s NHL Draft, missed Friday’s session and is day-to-day after blocking a puck in Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the Flyers in the rookie game . . . Coach Barry Trotz said there is no timetable for goalie Linus Soderstrom or forwards Matt Lorito and John Stevens to begin practicing.

New York Sports