Still working his way back from ankle surgery that prematurely ended his season last March, Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner has pulled out of what expected to be a backup role in net for Team Sweden during next month's World Cup of Hockey.
Lehner will be replaced on the roster by former Sabres netminder Jhonas Enroth, who just signed a free-agent contract earlier this week with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Team Sweden Rikard Gronborg has reportedly said Lehner's ankle is not 100 percent and that's why he's not playing in the tournament. While that may sound ominous, Lehner has been in Buffalo working out most of the summer and that includes on-ice sessions in HarborCenter.
Sabres general manager Tim Murray released this statement today regarding Lehner:
"As Robin continues to progress during the offseason in his rehab from last season's ankle injury, he felt that it was best to withdraw from Team Sweden for the upcoming World Cup. Robin felt it was important to continue his rehab in Buffalo to prepare for training camp. He has been working out both on and off the ice and we look forward to seeing him on the ice with our team next month."
Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Jacob Markstrom of the Vancouver Canucks are Sweden's other two goalies, and it's reasonable to think Lehner would have rated as No. 3 on the Swedes' depth chart. Given that, it's entirely plausible Lehner and the Sabres felt it simply be better for him to stay in Buffalo through training camp and the preseason to prepare for the regular season.
In other news, the Sabres have announced they have again capped season ticket sales at just over 16,000. They said renewal rate from last season was 97 percent.