Ottawa Senators goaltender Robin Lehner said Wednesday he's ready to continue competing with veteran Craig Anderson for the No. 1 job after each player signed a three-year contract in the past month.
"There are always two goalies and somebody pushing from down below (in the American Hockey League)," Lehner said, according to the Ottawa Citizen. "It's just how it works. I don't think there should be a big deal about it."
Lehner, who was a restricted free agent, agreed to his $6.6 million contract on July 31. Anderson agreed to a $12.6 million extension that takes him through the 2017-18 season on Aug. 25.
"It should be a good thing for this town, if I can just keep developing and play well," Lehner said. "From what I understand, it has been a long time since there has been a healthy competition on a team. And there's a buzz around it. I think it can stop now because we can have a good situation."
Lehner, 23, received more playing time last season when Anderson was injured, but it diminished when the 33-year-old was healthy. Lehner made 30 starts and finished 12-15-6 with a 3.06 goals-against average and .913 save percentage. Anderson started 52 games and was 25-16-8 with a 3.00 GAA and .911 save percentage.
"Over the last couple of years I've seen him turn into a real pro," Anderson said of Lehner after his extension was announced. "I think it's going to be good for the team when we're both playing well, to push each other to continue to give the team two good options. That's all you can ask for. If I do my job, it will make him to do his job better, and when he does his job, it's going to make me do my job better."
Lehner, who was speaking at a hockey camp at Bell Sensplex, said he was ready for that dynamic.
"Craig is a very good goalie, but I just want a fair chance," Lehner said. "If I play good, I want to play. And if he plays good, he’s going to want to play. … That's what you want on a team. You want two goalies pushing each other."