The Dallas Stars have recalled goalie Jussi Rynnas from AHL Texas and put struggling backup Anders Lindback on waivers.
Rynnas has a .913 save percentage in 10 appearances for Texas this season. And while those aren’t the greatest numbers you’ll ever see, Lindback’s .861 save percentage in five games, all losses, clearly forced GM Jim Nill’s hand.
In Lindback’s last appearance, this past Saturday, he allowed five goals on 47 shots in a 5-2 loss to Colorado. Meanwhile, starter Kari Lehtonen has also put up below-average numbers this season, going 9-6-5 with a .903 save percentage. As a result, only the Edmonton Oilers have a lower team save percentage (.885) than the Stars (.893).
To be sure, not all the Stars’ problems can be pinned on their goaltending. Dallas has a young defense and lacks an elite blue-liner, and that’s really showing right now.
But Nill can rightly be criticized for his decision to trust the back-up job, an underrated role in terms of its importance, to Lindback after the 26-year-old’s struggles last season in Tampa Bay.
“Ideally, if you can come out of a season and have your backup with a winning record, that’s a big deal,” coach Lindy Ruff said prior to the season. “He needs to be able to step in and win games for you, play well.”
That responsibility now falls to Rynnas, a 26-year-old with one NHL start to his name.
The Stars’ next game is Thursday in Detroit.