[Update] A source from the Dallas Stars has informed us that the decision to send Richard Bachman to Austin to play with the Stars has not been made. Christopher Nilstorp will be with the Dallas Stars for training camp after a tremendous start to his career in the AHL and he is expected to offer competition to Bachman in camp.
There is also the fact that not all details of the new collective bargaining agreement are known, and what changes may have been to the waiver rules. Bachman is also currently on a one-way contract. [End Update]
Dallas Stars President and CEO Jim Lites was on SportsRadio 1310 The Ticket on Tuesday morning -- more on that later today -- and confirmed some very interesting news that was speculated about yesterday.
"Good goaltending will be more important than ever," said Lites, when discussing team play early in the season. "We are ahead there because Cristopher Nilstorp [has been] playing in Texas and is probably the best goalie in the AHL. He is likely to start the season here so we can get Richard Bachman games in the AHL to get up to speed."
We had heard rumblings yesterday that the Stars were looking to send Bachman down to Austin to play with the Texas Stars, allowing the young goaltender to get into some game action in from of the Cedar Park fans. Neither Kari Lehtonen nor Bachman played overseas or in the minors this season and with no exhibition games lined up, there's certainly going to be some growing pains as all players get back up to speed.
Only one goalie can play at one time, so it then makes sense to send Bachman down to Austin for, at the very least, a few games. While Lehtonen will almost certainly play most games this season, with the shortened schedule every single poinst is twice as important. Getting good goaltending in net is going to be key, from the backups as well.
Bachman has appeared in just 19 games in his NHL career so far and has yet to reach waiver eligibility, so there are no concerns on that front.
What could become an interesting situation is if Nilstorp gets into a game or two and continues to impress. In 26 games this season, after a bit of a bumpy start, the Swedish netminder has a 2.22 goals-against average with a .914 save percentage and four shutouts. Since the start of December, in 13 games, Nilstorp has just a 2.00 GAA and a .925 save percentage and is 9-4-0 in those starts.
It certainly appears as if Nilstorp has a future in the NHL, whether that is as a backup in Dallas or with another team. Bachman was only signed to a one-year contract in the offseason and there are some thoughts that he could be a victim of the goaltender crunch in the organization as he also appears to be more than NHL ready. If the Stars feel that Nilstorp is the better option, it's a thought that he could stick with Dallas.
All of that is speculation, however, with the reality as of now that Bachman will be getting some experience in Austin, possibly as soon as this weekend.