In his report card, I said that I had no confirmed opinion on how the Stars should deal with Kari Lehtonen. In my most recent article on Lehtonen, though, I locked in on the opinion that Kari Lehtonen needs to continue wearing a green sweater for as long as the Stars can keep him.
Kari Lehtonen had a truly memorable season, putting up his best regular season numbers when performing in 60+ games of his career. He posted a 33-20-10 record, along with a .919 SV% and 2.41 GAA. His most memorable performances of the past season would include the 5 shutouts he pulled off, including games against the Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild, Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington Capitals, and St. Louis Blues where he played the role of a brick wall. Lehtonen was the front-runner for most games started by a goalie this year, and it seemed the only times Ruff couldn’t put him in was when he suffered from two separate injuries in October and March.
Lehtonen’s postseason performance seriously hurt his image in Big D. He constantly struggled through the playoffs, finishing off his year on the downhill slope with a lousy 2-4 record, as well as a .885 SV% and a 3.29 GAA. The one true highlight of his postseason was his 37 save shutout in Game 3 that had many thinking that he had changed his ways and was a playoff-minded goalie, finally. But he quickly proved them wrong in a Game 5 slaughter, where Lehtonen surrendered 5 goals off a mere 21 shots, and eventually concluding his as well as the Stars’ year by handing over 2 goals in the last 2 minutes of Game 6 which blew a 4-2 lead for the Stars, and led to Lehtonen giving Anaheim the 4-2 series victory in an early OT letdown which gave Stars fans nothing more to do than shake their head and clinch their tears in.
With his contract holding him in Dallas through the 2017-2018 season, Kari Lehtonen is set to be a Star for a while, barring any trade moves by Nill and Co. But with an updated and more powerful defense, Lehtonen will be better next season and could end up leading us to the Cup. At least that’s what I think.
So now it’s YOUR TURN to tell how you think the Stars should deal with Kari Lehtonen in the upcoming offseason: