After ‘not good year,’ Lehtonen knows he needs to be better

If you had to boil down the Dallas Stars’ problems in 2014-15 to one word, it would be this:

Goaltending.

You might even put it in all-caps, like:

GOALTENDING.

Only one team in the entire NHL had a lower team save percentage than Dallas (.895), and that was the Edmonton Oilers (.888).

In 65 appearances, veteran Kari Lehtonen finished with a .903 save percentage, the worst of his NHL career.

“The goalies are part of the team, and they know they have to be better,” Stars GM Jim Nill said, per The Dallas Morning News. “It wasn’t Kari’s best season, and he admits that, and he’s got to be better. We need to have him. To win in this league, you have to have good a goalie.”

Lehtonen is signed through 2017-18 for a cap hit of $5.9 million, so he’s probably not going anywhere, in case you were wondering.

And to be sure, it wasn’t always easy for the four Stars’ netminders this season — Lehtonen, Anders Lindback, Jhonas Enroth, and Jussi Rynnas — given the young defense that was put in front of them.

But with solid goaltending, this could be a very good team. Consider: only the Tampa Bay Lightning scored more goals than the Stars this season.

“I realize I had a not good year,” said Lehtonen, “and I have to do a lot of work to get the opportunity to play again, and play better when I get that opportunity. It’s pretty simple.”

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