Dallas Stars Goalie Kari Lehtonen Is Not the Answer
Kari Lehtonen of the Dallas Stars has set career bests in the past two seasons in wins, shutouts and save percentage. He is only 28 and in the prime of his career. With all that said, Kari Lehtonen is not the long term answer for the Dallas Stars in net.
On the stat sheet Lehtonen has been a solid goaltender, but when you watch him play there are times when he doesn’t quite pass the eyeball test.
On more than a handful of occasions, goals have been scored on Lehtonen when they were shot from a 90 degree angle. There have been even more instances where Lehtonen has given up what should be a textbook stop by not covering the post entirely.
It seems like Kari Lehtonen doesn’t learn from his mistakes either. The biggest example was in a shootout loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins at home on February 29th, 2012.
Lehtonen played out of the net so far he was nearly parallel with the faceoff circles. Three of four Penguins scored on very similar moves. The goals given up by the Stars in regulation were all scored right above Lehtonen’s shoulder.
That is one example, but a common theme throughout the entire season. Albert Einstein said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Nobody is saying Lehtonen is insane but his actions in goal can drive the Dallas fan base crazy.
Kari Lehtonen has the ability to make some of the most athletic saves you have ever seen but he is too inconsistent. His inability to adjust, or even worse, inability to learn from his mistakes are why he isn’t the answer for the future of the Stars.
The problem facing the Stars moving forward is that there are no better options through trade or free agency. Drafting a goalie is certainly an option but it takes time to groom one to be ready for play in the NHL.
Dallas has a rookie backup in Richard Bachman who may have a bright future. Bachman is currently the backup to Detroit Redwings goalie Jimmy Howard on team USA. The talent is evident but the polish of a franchise goaltender isn’t quite there yet.
It is up to the Stars fans to support Kari Lehtonen to keep his confidence high because he is the best option at this point. In the near future Bachman will have to step up or the Stars will have to seek a new goalie through free agency.
Either way, Kari Lehtonen is not the answer for the Dallas Stars in the long term.
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