Today we preview what the goalie situation is going to look like this season in Dallas. In other words: Kari Lehtonen, Kari Lehtonen and Kari Lehtonen.
The Stars have always been a strong goalie development team and this year is certainly no different with the addition of Christopher Nihlstorp to the organization to the already fantastic crop of guys.
Everyone knows just how important Lehtonen is and the shortened 48-game season just boosts his importance level up 200%. Kari was the sole reason why the team was even in the playoff hunt at the end of the year. He dealt with a groin injury and looked slightly overworked at the end of last season so the extended break should be great for him. He’s had injury issues throughout his career so that short schedule will help.
Lehtonen is obviously going to start as many games as he possibly can but Dallas has to be careful not to overwork him this year with what could be a rough travel schedule. I have him starting 42 of the 48 games this year with him sitting out a few back-to-backs. He’s working with pretty much the exact same defense as last year (probably a little worse) so the shots will be coming quick succession again this season.
Lehtonen was absolutely fantastic last season and there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be just as good this year. If he can repeat what he did last year, this team will be in the playoffs.
2013 Prediction: 23 W, 17 L, 2 OTL, 2 SO, 2.37 GAA, .918 SV%
The man behind some of the best masks in the NHL was a very pleasant surprise last year. He filled in when Lehtonen was out with a groin injury and Andrew Raycroft was benched after showing off his terrible Andrew Raycroft goaltending. Bachman had an 8-5-1 record, won some tough games on the road and had a shutout in his limited time.
It looks like he’ll have some competition during training camp with the red-hot Christopher Nihlstorp for the backup job and it looks like he might start out this season with the Texas Stars. Whatever the case, he’ll be fine wherever he ends up. He could fill in here and there for Dallas or get some extended playing time down in Austin.
2013 Prediction: 3 W, 2 L, 0 OTL, 0 SO, 2.92 GAA, .903 SV%
Nihlstorp has been another great find for the Stars. He came into this season as an unknown as has grabbed the starting job with the Texas Stars away from Jack Campbell. He’s put up back-to-back shutouts twice this year and has started nearly every game since the start of December.
He’ll get a shot during training camp to get the backup spot at the beginning of the year for Dallas. If he gets the job, I think he’ll only be here for a short while so that Bachman can get some work with Texas so that he stays in game shape. He’s still been great this season and it would be fine seeing him get a game during the early season to get Kari some rest.
If a worst case scenario happens and either Bachman or Kari gets injured, Nihlstorp will find himself with a lot of time with Dallas.
2013 Prediction: 0 W, 1 L, 0 OTL, 0 SO, 4.00 GAA, .877 SV%