The Dallas Stars added major names like Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky to their roster this past offseason. They also added two goalies with questionable pasts in Anders Lindback and Jussi Rynnas, thus creating tactical depth in the crease. But with three goalies now being considered to support Kari Lehtonen and only one vacant spot, there is an inevitable competition that has sprouted.
But before training camp starts and Mike Valley, the Stars goaltending coach, examines the situation and reports to Lindy Ruff, we can take a look at the statistics from all three goalies and decipher which one has the best chance of earning the position.
First up, we look at the current Texas Stars’ starting goalie, Jack Campbell:
Height: 6′ 4″ Weight: 190 lbs.
Jack Campbell was drafted 11th overall by the Dallas Stars organization in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and has since been serving as starting goaltender for the Stars AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars. Campbell’s contract currently has him linked to the organization through the 2014-2015 season, with an AHL salary of $67,500 and a cap hit of $740,000. The 22-year-old has served well during his three year stint in Cedar Park, posting a .942 SV% and 1.49 GAA in his most recent season, though he only played in 16 of a possible 76 games in the regular season and 4 of a possible 21 postseason games.
He has started for Dallas one time, being last season against the Anaheim Ducks in late October, and did not find as much success in the NHL as he had in the AHL. Campbell stopped 41 of 47 shots and gave posted a .872 GAA and a 6.00 GAA.
Campbell has been the center of prospect talk over the past few years and many Stars fans are wondering if the former first-round pick is going to be called up for good in the near future. The only problem phasing the Stars coaching staff is Campbell’s past which is riddled with injuries. Last season was a clear example and Campbell cannot seem to overcome this predicament. With Kari Lehtonen’s recurring problem with injuries as well, the Stars will need a backup that they can put their faith in to man the crease until Lehtonen is able to return, and Campbell may not be able to live up to the necessity. If his status remains to be questionable throughout the upcoming year, he may be looking forward to a long career in Austin.
Campbell has an important year ahead, and a lot is left to prove in order for him to be considered an NHL elite.
Secondly, let’s look at Anders Lindback:
Height: 6′ 6″ Weight: 210 lbs.
Anders Lindback has been in the NHL for the past four seas0ns after being drafted 207th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the Nashville Predators. He began his NHL career in the 2010-2011 regular season and became the Predators starter/backup goalie for 22 games, until he was ultimately placed under Pekka Rinne and stationed as the backup for good. Lindback performed well for the Predators in his two years, and therefore made him a valuable target to which the Tampa Bay Lightning set on. On June 15th, 2012, the Predators traded Lindback to the Lightning in a multiple-accessory deal.
In Lindback’s two years in Tampa Bay, his stats took a serious downturn, with his save percentage dropping from .915 in his first NHL season to .891 and his goals against average going up .30. The Lightning were forced to start him in their 2013-2014 playoff run after Ben Bishop broke his wrist in the last four days of the season. The 26-year-old Lindback went 0-3 before being replaced in Game 4 after handing over three goals in the first 25 minutes to the Montreal Canadiens. He ended his postseason with a .881 SV% and a 3.91 GAA.
With Jim Nill signing Lindback to a one-year deal worth $925,000, there is a bit of doubt in Lindback’s permanent status. Lindback is a valiant contender for the Stars backup and most fans believe he will earn the substitute job, but there is a chance he may be a one-year player and move on to his next endeavor. Lindback’s only true struggle with being an elite backup goalie is that he suffers from Adult-onset Still’s disease, a fact that remains unknown to many, which caused his draft stock to drop greatly in the ’08 draft. This is a rare inflammatory disease that can lead to on-and-off arthritis, spiking fever, sore throat, joint pain, and rash. Nill took a major chance signing him with this possible and inconsistent dilemma, and there is a chance that Lindback could falter in the upcoming season. Once again with Lehtonen’s predicament, he may not be the most trustworthy of candidates.
Lastly, let’s take a look at Jussi Rynnas:
Height: 6′ 5″ Weight: 212 lbs.
Jussi Rynnas has spent a majority of his time as a goaltender in the minor leagues. After never entering an NHL Entry Draft, he spent four seasons playing in his native Finland until he was signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs organization in 2010. He spent three years in Toronto and played a total of three games for the Maple Leafs and spending the rest of his time with the Toronto Marlies, their AHL affiliate. With the Leafs, he posted an 0-1 record over two seasons and finished with a combined .848 SV% and a 3.85 GAA. After his time in Canada, he was not offered an extension and went back to Finland for this past season.
On July 7th, 2014, just six days after the Stars signed Anders Lindback, Rynnas was given a two-year deal worth $550,000 for his first year and $575,000 for his second year along with a cap hit of $562,500 which he accepted. The 27-year-old is facing a fresh start, much like Lindback and will be looking for a spot on the roster. Rynnas has no NHL playoff experience and is still viewed as a “newborn” pro goalie. The Stars need a responsible and reliable backup goalie to serve as interim when Lehtonen needs a break, and is Rynnas lacking experience dependable enough?
With all three of these goalies deserving a fair shot but all three holding their fair share of glitches, who is going to win the position?
Right now, Lindback seems to have the best chance because of his immense experience as a pro and his quality as a proven backup, though Adult-onset Still’s could end up being the determining factor on his career future as a whole. But that remains to be seen.
Rynnas and Campbell have a toss-up at second, and the Stars will have to sort it out at training camp. But any of these three could find their way onto the roster by October 9th.
Who do you want to see as the Stars new backup goalie?
Leave your comments and questions below, and as always thanks for reading! Go Stars.
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