When Dallas put goalie Kari Lehtonen on injured reserve today, many assumed the next move would be to acquire his replacement.
Not so, says Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk.
In speaking with Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, Nieuwendyk said that rather than look for goaltending help via trade, he’ll turn the reigns over to his No. 2 and 3 — Andrew Raycroft and the recently-recalled Richard Bachman.
“Andrew is our guy, and we have confidence in him, and Bachman with how he played in training camp and the preseason, has has earned the chance to get a good look,” Nieuwenduk said. “It’s a lot like the quarterback position. Nobody wants to see it, but these things happen and you just have to deal with it. I think you make a commitment to team play and to playing even harder in front of the goalie who is there.”
This decision caught some by surprise. The Stars have relied heavily on their No. 1 goalie (Lehtnonen has all 13 of their wins), perhaps more than any other NHL club. Lehtonen was Dallas’ MVP through the quarter mark of the season and, it could be argued, one of the league’s most valuable as well.
And this is why all eyes will be on Raycroft. He’s one of the least-used backups in hockey (four starts) and his numbers — 0-5, 3.50 GAA, .899 save percentage — don’t exactly scream “ready for a starting gig.” His last win was Jan. 9 against Minnesota, in case you’re wondering.
Do keep in mind that Lehtonen going on IR means he might only miss the minimum seven days. But with his vast injury history — he’s missed almost 90 games since the lockout with back, groin and ankle issues — it’s possible he could be on the shelf for an extended period of time.