Thursday, February 11, 2010

Trade Deadline: 20 Days Roster Freeze: 1 Day

'Why yes, I have played in Michigan before.'

Its Getting Crowded Here
Okay, so now its really uncomfortable between the pipes in Dallas.

Marty Turco's been the goaltending face of the franchise for roughly seven years, working as an understudy to 'Crazy' Eddie Belfour in his early days. At 34, Turco is in the final year of his contract with a $5.7mil cap hit to the team he was drafted by in the 5th round of the 1994 Draft.

Alex Auld's on his sixth team in eight years, and in all that time he's only once been the #1 goaltender playing 67 games for Vancouver in the 2005-06 season. The 29 year old is also in the last year of a meager $1mil contract, and has played in 21 games this year, with a 9-6-3 record, posting a .894 save percentage and a 3.00 goals against average.

And now enter Kari Lehtonen, the 2nd round draft choice of the Thrashers in the 2002 draft after a stunning season in the Finnish SM-liiga. Lehtonen is 26, and known as the most injury-prone goaltender in the League, electing two back surgeries, and suffering a groin injury on the opening night of the 2005 season only to twist his ankle at the end of it. Lehtonen is a restricted free agent earning $3mil in the final year of his deal.

Its pretty clear at this point that Joe Nieuwendyk has elected to go in a different direction in the blue paint. Its true that Turco has never won anything recognized around the League, (no Vezinas, no Cup) but still holds the majority of team goaltending records for the Stars franchise. In my mind, he is a sound, smart goaltender in decline as his age inclines. I do believe he's got it in him to make a defiant last gasp on a poised team. He'll have to most certainly take a pay cut in his next contract, but I still believe he holds a lot of value in the trade market for this upcoming stretch run for a team looking to sure up its goaltending. But therein lies the question, does that team exist?

I wrote earlier that I thought Turco would fit nicely in Washington but I think GMGM is feeling more comfortable with his platoon of goaltenders, Theo has played better, Neuvirth has performed admirably, and one can only expect Varlamov will be back before the postseason. I think you have the same situation in Chicago, where the Bowman's are feeling more and more comfortable with Niemi and Huet, so lets say they're out too. Emery's still fielding injury problems that isn't a deviated septum, and although Leighton's been keeping the Flyers in the race, I'm not sure Holmgren is confident in what's there. The thought of Turco to Philly has already been poopoo'd, and its hard to imagine them taking Biron back to make a run. It appears as though winner by default Pierre Gauthier is willing to ride out his two RFA goaltenders through the stretch and deal with it in the summer. Dean Lombardi has stated his confidence in Quick/Ersberg and seems comfortable to head to their first postseason in seven seasons on the backs of those two.

David Poile has not yet shown his cards when dealing with his two impending FA goalies Rinne and Ellis. The Predators are in desperate need for offensive support, and one would think that Rinne would garner more trade interest than Ellis. It sounds as if Poile is leaning that way and planning to keep Ellis in the fold.

Reports came out of Boston that Tim Thomas was available, if anyone was willing to swallow his $5mil per contract for the next three years and rather aggressive, sometimes troubling play in net. Very hard to believe Chiarelli would offer that kind of extension to a post-Vezina winner, and then turn around and try to deal him. I don't know who would take his inconsistency at that number anyway.

Detroit may be the most interesting destination for the other Marty, although Holland isn't keen on shelling out big numbers to goalies any more. Cocky bastard Chris Osgood's had enough of being second fiddle to Howard, although he still needs the support and training to be a number one. I don't think Detroit has the confidence they had last year, but they are starting to get their ailing stars back in the lineup, and between now and March 3rd could determine if they go out and pick someone up for the post, or remain outside the bubble.

Back to Dallas for a second, the Stars are severing ties with Turco for better or worse. Lehtonen, although young, and once promising is not an upgrade by any means. Auld is a career backup who's been given the chance to play by Crawford who he's developed a relationship with from their days in Vancouver. If the Stars thought it was bad with Turco in net, get ready for a new low. They traded a promising defenseman for an injury riddled stopper who couldn't crack the lineup in Atlanta. Atlanta, that is.
'The odd couple.'
In 'Nobody Gives a Shit' News...
Underperforming Ville Leino was traded to Philadelphia for Norwegian defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen. Tollefsen's been subject to quite a few injuries since his emergence into the League, and Philly has a glut of defensemen. Leino's not enough of a diamond in the rough to crack into the Detroit lineup, and has been faulted for being weak on the puck. Either way, its probably a win-win for both teams, as spare parts on one team becomes hopeful reclamation projects on a new one.
All of the Hurricanes are now up for sale, Fire Sale! Fire Sale!

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