By: Adam Gretz
The Dallas Stars are ready to get their starting goaltender, Kari Lehtonen, back in the lineup this week after he missed the past 12 games with a groin injury.
That's good news for the Stars, but it's bad news for backup goaltender Andrew Raycroft as he was informed on Tuesday that he will be placed on waivers, meaning that rookie Richard Bachman, the player called up when Lehtonen was originally sidelined with his injury, has taken over as the Stars new No. 2 goalie.
Bachman, a fourth-round draft pick by the Stars back in 2006, has appeared in nine games this season, starting eight of them, and posting a .912 save percentage. He was pretty much unbeatable during his first four appearances in the crease for Dallas, but has since slumped over his past five starts, including a 5-3 loss against the St. Louis Blues on Monday.
Still, he's looked better than Raycroft this season, as the veteran backup has struggled for much of the season with a .898 save percentage, while Dallas has won just two of the 10 games he's made an appearance in. He's played for five teams over the past seven seasons, including Dallas, Toronto, Boston, Vancouver and Colorado, and if he clears waivers Dallas will be able to assign him to the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.
Injuries have been a major struggle for Lehtonen throughout his NHL career, and before he missed time this season he had been playing extremely well, posting .926 save percentage in 19 starts. Dallas currently has 20-14-1 record, good enough for the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference, but is going to need strong play from its goaltenders, whether it be Lehtonen, Bachman or somebody else, as the Stars are allowing the most shots in the NHL on a per-game basis (32.5). Part of the problem is the Stars spend so much time on the penalty kill as one of the most penalized teams in the league, and because they also simply surrender a lot of shots (again, more than any other team in the league) during 5-on-5 play.
Previously at Eye On Hockey
Can Lehtonen continue his hot start?
Lehtonen placed on injured reserve
Photo: Getty Images
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