Let’s start with Marty, since he is the long-time Star and despite what some of us may think or say his fate is probably already sealed. Marty is overlooked a little if you ask me when it comes to his place in history. Much of this has to do with Turco’s believed short-comings when the post season comes around. But despite some of his struggles in the last two years, Marty owns many Stars records and has still shown at times this year he can still play. Dallas Stars franchise records that Marty owns: Most games played, Most wins, Most Shutouts, Most minutes played in goal, Most consecutive games played in net, and Most assists by a goalie. He also is tied with Brodeur for most shutouts in a playoff series at 3. Marty also posts up a career 2.31 GAA and .911 Save % if last night’s 5-1 win was his last game in net. Not bad numbers at all. And although he has not shown great success in the playoffs in his career, his playoff career GAA sits at 2.17 with a .914 SV %. So his main goalie stats look better career wise in the playoffs then in the regular season. A lot has been said though about his struggles over the last few seasons, and although I will argue that we saw plenty of times that the defense has let him down, Marty is also letting in plenty of goals that you want a goaltender of his caliber to stop. He is starting to show some wear, and at times looks like he lets one or two goals early completely throw him off for the rest of the night. The Stars D has done him very few favors recently, but just as the defense is switching to a younger group and growing in a new system, it may be time for the team to switch to a younger goalie and build around a group that could be together for many years to come. Should half of the Stars defense be here for many years to come? Read the next part in grading the D to find out what I think. But I do think it is time for Marty to move on and for Dallas to move forward with the hopeful goalie of the future to grow with the teams budding other young talents. Do I think Marty is done? NO. Put him with a solid defense (Chicago should have tried to get him from Dallas in my opinion, where he would have a solid D), and he could give a team one or two years maybe of solid goaltending. But Dallas does not have the money to be paying him, even if he takes a big pay cut from the 5.7 million he made this year. If Dallas wants to sign Lehtonen to around 3-3.5 mil for 3-4 years and sign a back-up, they want to keep both salaries cheaper combined then 5 mil to give them more money to use elsewhere considering they started the year spending roughly 6.5-6.7 mil on goalies with Auld and Turco at the start of this season. Until Dallas has a more comfortable financial situation they can not afford to spend that much on goaltending that is not panning out when they need help with the defense and want to give money to players like Neal, Benn, Grossman and continue to give guys like Ott and Eriksson contracts extensions. Turco has been huge for this team at times, and a big part of the team for almost a decade, but I think this will be Marty’s last time around with the boys in black. I think Dallas should just let Marty walk, let him pick where he wants to try to finish his career off at, and then honor all he did for this team when he finally does retire. Thanks for all the wins Marty, and I wish you the best of luck…but hopefully in the eastern conference.
Just like Turco, most of us already know what will probably happen with Lehtonen this off season. But I wish to still discuss Kari and what I think about the goalie in what I have got to see from him so far. For those late to the party, and I mean really late, the Stars traded for Lehtonen in February right before the Olympic break. Dallas sent a 4th round pick and former 1st round pick Vishnevskiy to Atlanta for Lehtonen, the 2nd overall pick back in 2002. Lehtonen had fallen out of favor in ATL despite being the goalie who helped take a crappy team to a division title and a playoff spot in 2007, because of two major injuries in recent years. Atlanta thinks it has found the goalie it wants to go forward with in Pavelec and did not want to give more time to Lehtonen. But at 26 and with some success in a few years of playing in the NHL with a very average Atlanta team, Kari has shown talent and that despite some injury history building up, he does have a unique skill set and can compete. He is not a small goalie at all, standing at 6FT, 4IN and has a wide span that he can cover in front of the net. But despite a big frame, Kari has shown at times in his career and even in the few games he has played for Dallas so far that he can move around in the crease and is agile for a large goalie. He has been in 9 games, and started 7 of them. So far in a Dallas uniform Lehtonen has posted a 2.88 GAA and a .915 SV%, which is stronger then it looks when you think about this defense and that a couple of those games he has had to come into the middle of a game in place of Turco. What is also good to know is that he said about 2 weeks ago that he just now feels like he is back to close to 100%. Give him the summer to condition himself for a full season and get 100% with a little more help coaching, and the Stars definitely could be looking at a goaltender they can build around. I am not sure what we will see from Kari next year, but I know after seeing some of his recent where even when he takes a loss he keeps them in the game, I know that they of course have to keep him and see what he can do next year. Sign him for a couple years, maybe 2-3 years at 2.5-3.25 a year, and see have him take most of the load with a veteran back-up type behind him. I think Kari at 100% and some defensive help this off season and the Stars are back at least into the playoffs. Is he the future long-term? That question remains. But should Dallas sign him and give a talented player still young, who has just had bad luck with injuries, a shot to show he can be a starting goalie again and get back on track towards what many saw in him a few years back? Yes, they should and I am pretty sure they will. Now only some time and results will show if that is the right move or not. But so far he has shown he can take on a high number of stops and make some agile and great saves when his teams needs it, and hopefully we continue to see more next season.
This weekend I will next take a look at the Stars defense, and Sunday take a look at the forwards, feel free to leave your thoughts on certain players or each part and thanks for reading.