Studying each team’s goaltenders in the playoffs reveals a few examples to follow. So should the Stars be keeping tabs? With Kari Lehtonen having four years left at an average salary of $5.9 million — making him the team’s highest-paid player — there seems little that can be changed at the top of the netminding ladder in Dallas. But how they manage Lehtonen? Now, that can provide hours of discussion. Henrik Lundqvist has been the key to getting the Rangers to the Stanley Cup finals, and he is known as one of the world’s elite goalies. But his numbers during the regular season weren’t that different from Lehtonen’s. Lundqvist played 63 games (fourth most in the NHL), went 33-24-5 and had a 2.36 goals against average and .920 save percentage. Lehtonen played 65 games (most in the NHL), had a 33-20-10 record with a 2.41 GAA and .919 save percentage. While many worry that Lehtonen’s heavy load cost him in the playoffs, Lundqvist has managed. The 32-year-old has gone 12-7 in the postseason with a 2.03 GAA and .928 save percentage, and he closed out the Eastern Conference finals against Montreal with a 1-0 win. There are a few in the Stars organization who believe that should be the model for Lehtonen. Lundqvist knows he’s going to play most of the games, and he steps up and handles the pressure. He also has plenty of playoff experience. He has played 87 playoff games, including 20 this season. Lehtonen is just two years younger and has played only eight. He went 2-4 this season with a 3.29 GAA and .885 save percentage, and that has to be a concern. But it’s worth noting that Lundqvist went 0-3 in his first playoff appearance with a 4.41 GAA and .835 save percentage. Now, that was in 2006 when he was 24, but the concept is the same — the Rangers kept the weight of expectation on him, and he learned to deal with it. Jonathan Quick is the go-to goalie for the Kings, a possible opponent for the Rangers in the finals. Quick battled a groin injury this season and was limited to 49 games. That opened the door for rookie Martin Jones, an undrafted free agent.
What is the Dallas Stars' answer at goalie behind Kari Lehtonen?
Dallas Morning News | Jun 1