Let me preface this by saying that I really like Lehtonen and I think he is extremely talented, a hard worker, and CAN be a savior for this team.
But, the recent groin problem has gotten me a bit antsy and worried- a premature and probably way overreaction I know but I can't help but be nervous about this seeing how bad this team needs Lehtonen. I think Richards might be the only player nearly as important to this team in their transitional phase.
So what could Nieuwy have done? Well I was reading TSN.CA's (canadian espn, i.e the better version) 30 Teams in 30 Days and the team they have at #5 is the Los Angeles Kings. One of the things they talked about was how Johnathan Quick established himself as their Number 1 guy with a great year last year and then had a good playoffs also even though he slowed down a bit in the last couple games; and how Johnathan Bernier might be the most highly touted goaltender prospect out there and is ready to burst onto the NHL scene.
So I was thinking there could have been 2 options with a kings-stars type thing. since Quick is making 1.9M this coming season, 1.8 next year, and 1.7 the year after; Nieywendyk could have tried to make a trade for him. A number 1 guy like that with no injury history and who would take almost nothing out of the pocket book of the Stars would have been AMAZING. Getting him would have cemented a number 1 guy with longevity and also would have made the Neal and Niskanen contracts much quicker deals. Not to mention it would help leave a bit more money for Brad Richards in a year.
The 2nd option involving the Stars and the Kings would have been harder to do and maybe a bit more costly for the Stars, but a trade for Johnathan Bernier. This would have been great for the Stars. Turco would probably have gotten a 1 year extension and with a young buck right behind him a big push to do better; and if he didn't play up to snuff, Bernier would probably win the number 1 position from him and the stars would still have a vet to fall back on who could win some games if Bernier hit a rough patch. And again Bernier doesn't have the history of injury and is even younger than Quick. With this deal I think it would work out a bit like the end of the Belfour era and the Turco era. Bernier would probably be our starter for a very very long time. Lehtonen is hitting his prime right now, so by the end of his contract he'll be 30 or 31 and either slowing down or not quite at the peak he is now.
What would have needed to happen for the deals to be done: Since Ribeiro was in all the trade rumors this summer, I would say that if this deal was ever mentioned, he would be going to LA. For Quick it would probably be Ribeiro,Vishnevsky or another of the stars best prospects. For Bernier it would have probably been that plus our 11th pick this year. Now looking at that I would not have liked to see Ribeiro gone, especially after all the work he's done this summer, and that 11th pick was a good one for the Stars. So I don't know if this would have been a better option for this season because Ribeiro's loss would hurt, but it would cement the future of Stars goaltending and again, would have been 5M off the Stars payroll that could be diverted to Richards next year.
Looking at it I really don't know what I feel about the 2nd option. I LOVE both Quick and Bernier I think they're gonna have long and great careers. But I've also warmed up a lot to Lehtonen and trust him because of all the work he's done to get in shape and not let the earlier part of his career repeat itself. And since Ribeiro seems poised to have an 07-08 type season with Morrow back to form also. So I don't know if it would have been worth it.
Any thoughts? Also I'm not the best at thinking up fair or feasable trades, so if anyone has a different idea of who would have to be going to LA for this deal just say who you think it is.