Lehtonen Auditioning for Next Season

With a dozen games left in the season, the Stars are evaluating their newest acquisition, goaltender Kari Lehtonen.

After sitting out most of this season with a back injury, Lehtonen came to Dallas having not played an NHL game in almost a year. This last stretch of the season will give the team a look at the health of their young goalie and see how his back is progressing.

Over his young career he has posted solid numbers when healthy but avoiding injuries has been a challenge. In four years with the Atlanta Thrashers he has had only one injury free season, during which he played 68 games. The other three seasons he has never reached 50 games; not exactly a sign of durability.

The Stars will have to keep that in consideration when deciding what to do with veteran Marty Turco.

After being the number one goalie in Big D for almost a decade, it looks as if Turco may be on the way out. Two inconsistent seasons and approaching your mid thirties will do that in this league. An unrestricted free agent at seasons end, combined with the addition of Lehtonen may spell the end for Marty in Dallas.

Since arriving in Dallas, Lehtonen has appeared in five games and has started three of them. Overall he has looked sharp and the team got a chance to see what he can bring to the table after turning away 45 shots in an 8-2 win against the Sharks on Tuesday.

General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk will certainly have to see a few more quality performances the rest of the way to alleviate his goaltending concerns for next season.


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