While Dan Ellis will head into this season as Dallas’ clear-cut No. 2 behind Kari Lehtonen, it sounds like he’ll have a shot to challenge the incumbent starter.
“I know Danny really well,” Stars goalie coach Mike Valley told the team website. “He’s the type of guy that really understands his role and knows at the same time that his job is to come in and push Kari.
“He has that level of professionalism. He’s been a No. 1 guy, he’s been a No. 2. We’re confident in him.”
Ellis does have some No. 1 experience — he won 23 games for Nashville in 2007-08 and led the team to the playoffs — but he’s been primarily a backup since then, never appearing in more than 35 games in a single season. He struggled as a No. 1 last year in Carolina when Cam Ward went down to injury.
It would also take a serious misstep or injury for Lehtonen to lose the starter’s gig.
The 29-year-old Finn has been the team’s clear-cut No. 1 in each of the last three seasons though, to be fair, there wasn’t much pushing him from behind (Andrew Raycroft, Richard Bachman and Christopher Nihlstorp.)
Ellis says he’s ready for whatever the upcoming season brings.
“I am comfortable everywhere, even going back to the AHL last year during the lockout, playing as a backup, as a 1A or a 1B or playing as a starter,” Ellis said. “I’ve had the opportunity to do them all and I am comfortable anywhere.”