Vegas Golden Knights goalie Robin Lehner spoke out Friday in support of former Buffalo Sabres teammate Jack Eichel.
Eichel and the Sabres are at an impasse, as Eichel no longer wants to play for Buffalo. Sabres doctors will not permit Eichel to undergo disk replacement surgery on his neck, and Buffalo has held off on trading its star player as well.
On Friday night, Lehner called out the NHL Players' Association in a tweet, asking for it to do more in support of Eichel:
Robin Lehner @RobinLehner
Where is the <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLPA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nhlpa</a> and all nhl players in all this attacks on our freedom of choice? Jack situation is crazy to me.. also people getting attacked by journalist that hides behind freedom of speech to trash peoples freedom of choice. When does the hypocrisy end? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/lifeaftercareer?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#lifeaftercareer</a>
Lehner later added the following:
Eichel and Lehner played together with Buffalo for three seasons from 2015-16 to 2017-18, after which Lehner signed with the New York Islanders in free agency.
In subsequent tweets, Lehner took aim at the Sabres and NHL.
He referred to Eichel as "a generational player" and called for Eichel to be allowed to make his own medical decisions:
The goaltender also reacted to Eichel's doctor's saying it would be best for Eichel's long-term health to get disk replacement surgery:
Robin Lehner @RobinLehner
They screwed my ankle… big time. Then surgery and then pills… no care…almost died. But ehh.. after forcing leg press after few weeks after bad high ankle sprain first game. That is foot after treatment😂.. later is my soul gone after a month after surgery . It’s not all pretty <a href="https://t.co/CT8fXrp67a">pic.twitter.com/CT8fXrp67a</a>
A Massachusetts native, Eichel was the No. 2 pick in the 2015 NHL draft, in which Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid was selected No. 1.
It quickly became apparent that Eichel was one of the best young talents in the league, as he averaged just under one point per game in his second and third seasons before exploding for a career-high 82 points in 2018-19.
The 24-year-old followed that up with a career-high 36 goals in 2019-20 to go along with 78 points in 68 games.
Eichel suffered the neck injury last season and finished with only two goals and 16 assists in 21 games.
It appears he will never play for the Sabres again, and his NHL future is in question as well since he has yet to undergo surgery of any kind. Buffalo has no obligation to trade Eichel, as he is under contract through the 2025-26 season.