Kari Lehtonen and the Stars Should Part Ways

 

What, you say? Are you crazy?? Trade away Kari Lehtonen, the best player on the Dallas Stars?

I’ve been accused of insanity many times, but just hear me out on this one.

Clearly, the Dallas Stars are in rebuilding mode, although no front office will ever admit that (well, maybe if you’re the Florida Panthers.) So many holes exist on this team, an overhaul of the team is sorely needed. While Stars officials contend the roster is just a tweak or two from playoff contender, let’s just be honest, possibly-insane writer to reader.

The defensive corps is a mess (even with the recent signing of Sergei Gonchar) and the forwards (aside from a couple studs in Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson) are young, raw and still developing. Excluding Ray Whitney, this group is a squirming mass of high energy, fresh legs and question marks.

The entire roster is one big question mark, sans Lehtonen. So why should the Stars trade their best player, the only area of the ice that CAN be counted on night in and night out?

  1. The trade value – At age 29, Kari Lehtonen has proved critics wrong when signed by former Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk with stellar netminding and an ability to stay off the IR list. Sure he’s had a few groin tweaks, but that’s to be expected when he has to routinely make 35-40 saves a game. He’s a rock in net and can carry a team. He who could be the elixir to a team like the Philadelphia Flyers or Toronto Maple Leafs.

    trade kari lehtonen

    Kari Lehtonen (Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE)

  2. The Richard Bachman factor – Bachman has proved in limited duty over the past two seasons he can answer the bell. Remember when the Stars held onto their rock, aka Marty Turco, too long when backup Mike Smith was brimming with top dog potential? Smith was traded and ended up producing big for the Phoenix Coyotes, while Turco slumped and was eventually released. The Stars have Bachman to take the reins with talented rookies in the wings.
  3. The return – Played right, Stars GM Jim Nill could pry two or three solid contributors for Lehtonen. This of course would be a make or break move for Nill, way more unnerving than the Gonchar signing. A top-tier defenseman is a must, and perhaps a second or third line guy capable of 15-20 goals a season. (Second or third on the giving team, vaulted onto first line for the Stars.)
  4. The splash – The Stars have already unveiled new uniforms, a new logo, hired Nill and are hoping the soon-to-be new head coach revitalizes interest in both the sliver of diehard fans and the finicky masses who buy the majority of suites and first deck tickets. Last year’s signing of Jaromir Jagr titillated the most sanguine of Stars fans. Making a blockbuster move like this could revitalize the Stars fan base and drive ticket sales to a height realized by teams like the Chicago Blackhawks (a goal which team president Jim Lites recently pledged to season/group ticket holders.)

Is this move stupid? No. Is it primed for smart move/super bust? Of course. Is it a move that Nill, given his background with the ultra-smart, almost-always-right Detroit Red Wings, would dare to make? Probably not. Is it a move that could possibly pay dividends for the Stars? Absolutely.

6 Comments

  1. Terrible article. Not much else i can say.

  2. I didn’t expect you could top your truly awful Dallas Stars defense article but you certainly did with this gem. Point by point:
    1: This is a sellers market for goaltenders with Thomas, Backstrom, Nabokov, Smith, and Emery available as UFAs, in addition to a host of backup goalies and the likely trades of Luongo, Bernier, and potentially Halak. Excess supply means low prices, and since the cap is coming down as well, how many teams that need Kari to take the next step can afford more than 5m tied up in him?
    2: Richard Bachman was awful in his first little run of 2013. The team had no confidence in him at all and he got shellacked. His second run went better, but there is nothing there that suggests he can be anything beyond an NHL backup. Your Mike Smith bit is hilarious, remember when he turned into Brad freaking Richards before flaming out in Tampa then resurrecting his career in front of a defense only system? You left that part out for some reason.
    3: The Stars have a settled bottom 6 and 9 defensemen expected to be in the NHL. Kari wouldn’t return multiple NHL pieces so moving him only opens a bigger hole if you trade quality for a quantity of picks and prospects.
    4: The team already made a bunch of splashes and the hiring of a new coach and drafting at 10th overall fill the future splash quota as well. If you want constant splashes go be a Flyers fan, or just ask one how they like following an organization that is constantly blowing things up.
    Is this article stupid? Yes. Did you do any research at all for it, whether to see what other goalies might be out there, to give some stats that show Bachman is good enough to start, or to identify teams that might be interested? No. You have been given an opportunity to have your views heard, please put a little effort in or stop writing.

  3. “Is this move stupid?” Yes, it is. Bachman has not “answered the bell” for us the last couple of years. Two seasons ago he was pretty good, but let’s not mince words here. Last year he sucked. He is not an NHL starting goalie. “(Second or third on the giving team, vaulted onto first line for the Stars.)” You make it sound like we just have a few retards on our first line. The Splash Factor? A move like this would be seen as tearing the team down and rebuilding. When you have a superstar player, young guys that contributed in a big way a season ago, and cap space, you don’t trade your major superstar. I suppose we should trade Benn and Eriksson too, based on your logic.

  4. Carl Maloney says:

    Top prospect Jack Campbell not that far away either.

    • He’s not that close either. Another two years from now he may be ready.

    • Top prospect Jack Campbell has never been the full time AHL starter either. Two years of work for the Texas Stars and he might be ready to backup Kari.

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