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Lehner healthy, excited for fresh start with Sabres

NHL.com @NHL

Robin Lehner said Saturday becoming more mature will give him a better chance of establishing himself as a No. 1 goaltender with the Buffalo Sabres than he had with the Ottawa Senators.

Ottawa traded Lehner and forward David Legwand to Buffalo on Friday for the 21st pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.

"Maybe that's something I have to work on, my maturity level," Lehner said in an interview published by the Ottawa Sun on Saturday. "... I don't know what happened, but I wasn't happy with the way things played out. I think I came out of the gate good every season, I'd play good, and then I didn't get to play anymore. That's something I've got to work on going forward. People have different opinions. I can only speak for myself, but that's my opinion."

Lehner, who turns 24 in July, was 9-12-3 with a 3.02 goals-against average and .905 save percentage for the Senators this season. He did not play after sustaining a concussion Feb. 16, a little more than two months after Dave Cameron replaced Paul MacLean as coach.

Lehner admitted he struggled under MacLean, who relied more on veteran players, including No. 1 goaltender Craig Anderson.

"It was nothing personal between us, I don't think," Lehner said. "It just seemed like when I'd start getting hot, I didn't get the chance to play, and that happened on several occasions."

While Lehner was sidelined, Andrew Hammond emerged for the Senators and went 20-1-2 with a .941 save percentage, helping the Senators reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Hammond signed a contract this offseason, and the Senators chose to keep him and Anderson.

"I got my concussion against Carolina and it was my first major injury. It was a tough time for me personally," Lehner said. "I struggled for a long time with the concussion. Hammond came in and played fantastic, and all the rewards to him and he deserved it. I wish him the best. I wish the team best."

Lehner told writer Bruce Garrioch he is healthy and will be ready for training camp in September with Buffalo.

"I've been working out and I've got a ways to go, but I'm ready to really push it so that I'm ready for the season," he said. "… To have a good chance to compete for the No. 1 spot is something I've always wanted. It's going to be a nice challenge."

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