Update: It appears that the Stars signed Nihlstorp to a two-way contract, giving them the flexibility to play him in the AHL while allowing competition for the backup role in the NHL with Richard Bachman. A formal announcement is expected soon.
Some interesting news today as reports out of Sweden state that the Dallas Stars have apparently signed goaltender Cristopher Nihlstorp out of the Swedish Elitserien League, where he had played for Farjestad the past two seasons. Nihlstorp has put up respectable numbers so far in his pro career, posting a 2.04 GAA and .923 save percentage with 5 shutouts last season, in 45 games. Nihlstorp is certainly a "late bloomer" of sorts, coming to the NHL at age 28, but comes with a good track record out of the SEL and has good size in net at 6-3, although right now not much is known about the rest of his abilities -- at least to those of us across the pond.
He's also a lefty, so there's that.
According to Varmlands Folkblad, the Stars signed Nihlstorp after he was recruited by several other NHL teams. The Stars also reportedly must pay $225,000 in compensation for signing the goaltender, although the exact terms of the contract are not known at this time.
With Richard Bachman coming up from the AHL to take over the backup role behind Kari Lehtonen and Jack Campbell making the jump to the AHL at the end of last season, the Stars are in need of further depth at the position in the system -- especially considering Bachman's RFA status and the uncertainty of Beskorowany's future after a down season last year.
The initial thought is that Nihlstorp will be slotted to play in the AHL with Campbell, but it is more likely he will be given the chance to earn the backup spot out of training camp. While Bachman proved to be an above-average backup last season, there is never a thing as too much competition when it comes to battles for roster spots in the NHL. At the very least, this is a sign of the Dallas Stars being proactive in building further depth in the system -- using financial means that have not existed in quite some time.
Full press release after the jump.
Frisco, TX - The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has signed free agent goaltender Christopher Nihlstorp (pronounced kneel-storp) to a one year, two-way contract.
Nihlstorp, 28, has played the last four seasons in the Swedish Elite League (SEL), including the last two for Farjestad BK. Last season Nihlstorp posted a .923 save percentage (SV%), a 2.04 goals against average (GAA) and five shutouts in 54 appearances with the club.
"Christopher has been a successful goaltender in the Swedish Elite League," said Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk. "Aside from providing depth and stability for our system, we believe that he will have a chance to challenge for an NHL job at some point."
The 6-foot-3, 192-pound native of Malmo, Sweden helped backstop Farjestad to the 2011 Le Mat Trophy, which is earned annually by the champions of the Swedish Elite League. During the 2011 SEL playoffs, Nihlstorp posted a .944 SV% and a 1.60 GAA in nine appearances.