Dallas Stars 2013-14 Season Grades: Tim Thomas

Dilip Vishwanat

DBD takes a look back at Tim Thomas' stint with the Dallas Stars. Acquired at the deadline, Thomas was brought in to be a veteran backup for a stretch run to the playoffs.

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 ~20 or more games this season (and finished the season 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.

Regular season statistics:

GP Record GAA SV% Shots Against Goals Allowed
8 2-4-1 2.97 .902 184 18


Playoff statistics:

GP Record GAA SV% Shots Against Goals Allowed
1 0-0-0 4.00 .500 2 1

Key Stat: 2 - The number of wins Tim Thomas got for the Dallas Stars down the stretch of the season.

The Good: Thomas was acquired at the trade deadline to give the Stars a veteran presence to spell starter Kari Lehtonen down the stretch of the season. However, the backup goaltender position continued to be a sore spot for the Stars. Thomas' defining moment for the team in green was when he backstopped them to an overtime win versus the St Louis Blues the day after teammate Rich Peverley's cardiac event on the bench. He put in a brilliant performance in that game, considering the circumstances the team was playing under. He stepped up big in that one, and I think it went a long way to helping the Stars begin the on-ice healing process after such a scary event.

The Bad: Thomas didn't seem to ever really find his groove in Dallas. To the eyeball test, his style didn't seem to mesh with the Stars forward or defense corps. Whereas Lehtonen tends to play a more technical positional style, Thomas relies on his athleticism and puck handling to make stops. It works brilliantly behind sound defensive teams like the Boston Bruins. Unfortunately, the Dallas team as a whole struggled on defense at times and Thomas' style wasn't doing them any favors. You could tell that the team wasn't used to him, and they tried to play the same way in front of him that they did when Lehtonen was in net.

He won his first two games post the trade deadline, but dropped the next five (and was pulled in another.) He found himself on the sidelines as the Stars relied heavily on Lehtonen down the stretch to secure their first playoff berth in five seasons. He never filled the role they wanted him to be able to fill, as Lehtonen played the vast majority of games leading up to the postseason.

Bottom Line: The backup goaltending position remains an area where the Stars don't have a consistent option. Dan Ellis had obviously lost the trust of the coaching staff, and with another year on his contract, moving him at the deadline for a veteran, proven competitor wasn't a bad move. Frankly, Ellis most likely would have had a similar impact on the stretch run, so the risk wasn't very big for the Stars. At 40, Thomas may be nearing the end of his starting days in the NHL. The Stars can probably find a younger backup option for this position next season, so we've most likely seen the last of Thomas in victory green.

Vote now: Rate Thomas 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.

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