Sabres' Botterill says they're letting Robin Lehner go

June 22, 2018

Dallas, TX (WGR 550) - Jason Botterill confirmed on Friday something we’ve been talking about since April, Robin Lehner will not be qualified by Monday's league-wide deadline.

Botterill has been trying to trade Lehner since before the trade deadline and said, “We have made a decision on Robin and it was a difficult decision. We you finish 31st, you have to make some difficult choices and we have informed Robin that he’s not coming back next year.

“Part of the difficulty is I know Robin is passionate about the city of Buffalo and passionate about helping this organization, but we felt we had to make some adjustments and that was one of the areas.”

As far as the reason he’s letting Lehner go, Botterill said, “We felt we just weren’t comfortable where we’re at right now. I’ve talked about openly that I want to give [Linus] Ullmark an opportunity here in the organization.”

Ullmark is going to get the first chance to take over for Lehner. Botterill said, “We want to give him that opportunity, but you have to have expectations. It’s the same thing where we’re very excited about the selection we’re going to make today, but you have to understand that there’s a growing process here. We think Linus is ready for the next challenge here, but to hand over the No. 1 role, I think that’s unfair to any young goalie.” Botterill is a big believer in every opportunity must be earned.

The Sabres will now have to trade for or sign a goalie to pair with Linus Ullmark. Botterill said, “We are certainly in discussions about that and you start with the discussion period next week and that’s certainly something we’ll be focused on right away because it is an area where we have to improve on.”