Once again it's that time of year here on Defending Big D where we take a look at each player that suited up for 25 or more games this season (and are still with the team) and take a look back at their season. What was good about it, what wasn't so good, and the lasting impression they left us as we go into summer.
#31 / Goalie / Dallas Stars
Jul 25, 1987
|2011 - Richard Bachman||18||933||8||5||43||2.77||477||434||.910||1|
Key Stat: 2 - number of games at the NHL level Bachman played in before recording his first (and only) shutout of the season (Dec. 13, 2011 vs New York Rangers). It took Kari Lehtonen 18 games before he recorded his first shutout of the season.
The Good: Richard expected to make the roster coming out of training camp, and many questioned whether he would lose his starting job down in Austin to Tyler Beskorowany. After Andrew Raycroft struggles continued into this season and Kari Lehtonen went down with an injury, Coach Glen Gulutzan turned to a known quantity and started Bachman in net. And the starts he got weren't easy ones either - first going into the Shark Tank on clean up duty and then starting on the road in Los Angeles, New York (at Rangers, at Islanders.) He played fairly well on the road, posting a 5-3-3 record. He won several games for the team during their stretch run that had been pretty much written off as losses (the incredible win in Vancouver and the one in Chicago near the end of the season) and showed that he's ready to go when called upon (starting against Edmonton at home when Lehtonen came down with the flu bug that went around the locker room.)
The Bad: When Bachman lost, he lost big. Of the five losses in his record, four of them were games where he let in four or more goals. The weight of playing as the number one while Lehtonen was down with injury seemed to weigh on him, and after a spectacular start, his numbers came back down to earth and he had quite a few games where the goals he let in would be of the "he's going to regret letting that one in" variety. Specifically, a goal like the one scored on him that floated up and rolled down his back and into the net were ones where Stars fans would just shake their heads and think, Kari would have had that one.
The Bottom Line: Bachman came up with some clutch wins when the team needed them, and overall his positional soundness and technical goaltending were exactly what the team needed in their backup goaltender. He's proven that he can take on some of the toughest teams, even in their own buildings, and succeed. If he can maintain his level of play from his stint with Dallas this season, will we see him with more starts next season behind Kari Lehtonen? One would have to think we would, and the expectation is that could make Lehtonen fresher for a potential playoff run.
The Vote: Rate Bachman below on a scale of A to F (A being the best of course) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season he was here. Vote after the jump.