The latest from Dallas’ never-ending goalie saga…
After Kari Lehtonen allowed five goals on 30 shots in a very winnable OT loss against Vancouver, Stars GM Jim Nill once again fielded questions about his club’s netminding issues.
Q: How about the goaltending? The numbers aren’t good right now, does that concern you?
Nill: “The numbers aren’t good, but at the same time I get back to the injuries and the team that’s in front of them. It’s a challenge for both of them, and I think there have been times when they have really stepped up. I think they both had great training camps, and they both have stepped up a times. We just need to strive to improve every game, but that’s the same for the whole team.”
Q: Could you be looking for an upgrade if one presents itself?
Nill: “I’m not even worried about that. I’m worried about our team right now.”
As Brough wrote yesterday, there’s no easy solution to this mess.
Lehtonen and Antti Niemi have save percentages of .891 and .892 this year. And with cap hits of $5.9 million and $4.5 million through next year, respectively, they’re practically untradeable.
It remains to be seen what, if anything, Nill can do. There’s no real alternative in the AHL. Jaroslav Halak has been floated as a potential trade candidate, given he’s now on the block, and the Ben Bishop rumors have been around for a while. But neither seem very likely (and neither would be cheap).
Andrew Hammond is reportedly available, but would he be a significant enough upgrade to warrant a trade?
But at this stage of the game, his focus appears to be on the players in front of Lehtonen and Niemi — not Lehtonen and Niemi themselves.