Kari Lehtonen is out on the ice this week as he continues to rehab his pulled groin; he's not taking any shots just yet, but with him at least skating he's certainly on the track back to returning soon. Right now, the timeline will likely be that Lehtonen won't return to the Stars until after Christmas -- that's a possible 6 or 7 games until Lehtonen is back in net.
With Richard Bachman apparently taking over the interim starter job after the past two games, the debate has now started raging about what should happen when Lehtonen does return. Of course, logic says that Bachman deserves to stay in the NHL as Lehtonen's backup, especially considering how important getting Lehtonen rest will be down the stretch to a hopeful postseason run.
Raycroft has lost his confidence the past few games, although he'll get a shot to redeem himself against either the Islanders or the Devils this weekend. Obviously, with Bachman playing so well and Raycroft struggling, fans would feel much more confident with Bachman playing behind Lehtonen. This would mean having to try to pass Raycroft through waivers to assign him to the AHL, as well as paying him his full salary to do so. Not that big a deal, but certainly not the most ideal situation.
The other issue is that if Bachman is now the backup to Lehtonen, he's going to be sitting on the bench instead getting valuable experience in net. We have to remember that Bachman has just one full season at the AHL level and while he's certainly proven he's up to the challenge of the NHL, is it possible it would be best to get him some valuable minutes in net in the AHL when Lehtonen returns?
What's your take? While we would feel better, perhaps, with Bachman as the backup -- what is better long-term for the Stars? Remember, Bachman's contract is up after this season.
What should the Stars do once Kari Lehtonen returns?
Keep Richard Bachman as Lehtonen's backup. (180 votes)
Send Bachman back to AHL for needed experience. (155 votes)
Depends on how Raycroft responds in the next few weeks. (166 votes)
501 total votes