Dallas Stars Goalie System Is Working Magically


The Dallas Stars ventured down a new path at the beginning of the 2015-2016 by trying out a two-starter tandem in net. So far, the results have been spectacular.

Last season, basically throughout the entire year, the Dallas Stars had an unfathomable amount of issues defensively, both the six-man core as well as the sticky situation between the pipes.

No Dallas defenseman was perfect, and they definitely failed to put their net-minders in a position to succeed. But the goalie play in the crease was bad. Very, very bad.

As if watching it in person wasn’t painful enough, the stats bring back the horrid memories.

Kari Lehtonen won a career-high 34 games, but mostly due to the fact that his offense scored the second most goals in all of hockey. His GAA was 2.94, and had a very low save percentage of just .903% as well.

Jhonas Enroth and Anders Lindback (who were traded for each other mid-season) played the back-up role to Lehtonen, but didn’t exactly shine in net either. Enroth won half of his 10 games in net, but with just a .906% save percentage. Lindback had a less-than-pleasing record of 2-8, letting up almost four goals a game in the process.

Again, the goalie situation was not ideal, and ended up being one of the reasons the Dallas Stars failed to make the playoffs.

But with dissatisfaction comes the need for change, and when the off-season came around, general manager Jim Nill made his move.

Nill brought in a new face to the organization by acquiring Antti Niemi from the San Jose Sharks.

Niemi and Lehtonen have a lot of similarities. They are less than three months apart in age, and both come from Finland.

Another thing they shared in common? They were both coming off one of their worst seasons in their entire careers. Niemi went 31-24-7 in his starts last season, and the Sharks, like the Stars, missed out on the NHL postseason.

It was an interesting acquisition by Nill to say the least, and many Dallas Stars fans weren’t sure how this would affect the starting role.

Right after the trade, where the Stars only gave up a seventh-round draft pick to San Jose in return, Jim Nill stated that there would be a new goalie situation in Dallas. Both Niemi and Lehtonen would be switching off games, and would be splitting time evenly.

Well, as the 2015-2016 began, that’s exactly what happened. Niemi got the starting nod on opening night against Pittsburgh, and although head coach Lindy Ruff doesn’t switch off every single game day, he is splitting the time evenly.

In 21 games, Niemi has started 11 times, and Lehtonen has started an even 10. But what’s more important than the Stars following through with their plan, is the fact that it’s working. And it’s been working incredibly.

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Kari has a thundering 9-1-0 record in his starts, along with a 2.34 GAA and a .923% save percentage. Niemi, with a GAA of 2.41 and a .917% save percentage, has a record of 8-3-0.

The Dallas Stars are 17-4-0, and their 34 points have them atop of not only the Central Division, but the entire NHL.

Just as last season, the Stars offensive fire-power has been near-impossible to stop for all opponents, but this time around, the goaltending is a heck of a lot better.

It’s no guarantee that both goalies are going to continue to excel for the entire duration of the 2015-2016 season. But if they find a way to play just as they have for the first 21 games, the victory green are capable of accomplishing anything, even Lord Stanley.

Next: Dallas Stars Will Experience Central Division Rigor All Year

The Dallas Stars are back in action tomorrow night, as they clash with the Ottawa Senators at 7:30 in the American Airlines Center.

Thanks, as always, for reading, and leave your comments below!