This morning the Dallas Stars announced they have signed goaltenders Matt Climie and Brent Krahn, both to one-year contracts. The contracts are two-way deals, meaning the Stars can use either goalie as they see fit between the NHL and the AHL and ECHL. Both Krahn and Climie were scheduled to become restricted free agents later this summer.
When I first heard the news, my first reaction was a mixture of confusion and surprise. After all, the Stars already have Richard Bachman under contract and the prevailing thought was that both he and Climie would compete for the starting job for the Texas Stars in the AHL. Both would also have the chance to be the first called up to the NHL team if they were needed, and whoever performed the best of the two would have the inside track on being the long-term backup for the Stars, or even the starter a few years down the line. It would be an interesting competition between the two young promising goalies, but there's no doubt they both will need time in the AHL to develop further.
Yet now that the Stars have signed Brent Krahn as well, it forms a sort of logjam of three goaltenders for two spots on the Texas Stars. The first reaction is that perhaps the Stars are planning on going into camp this summer with one as the NHL backup, but Mike Heika says that's not very likely.
I think what the Stars are planning to do is use two of these goalies on their AHL team in the Austin area and one with the Idaho Steelheads in the ECHL. Bachman needs to be playing no matter where he is, so if he does not win the AHL No. 1 job, he will probably become the No. 1 in Idaho.
I still believe the Stars are looking for an NHL backup, and their first plan right now is winning the recruiting war for Swedish goalie Jonas Gustavsson. If they don't, my guess is they will go after a veteran NHL backup.
Sounds like a solid plan to me. It creates an even better atmosphere of competition among the three, and gives the Stars another option to give Bachman playing time in the ECHL if Climie proves to be a better option at the #1 spot for the Texas Stars. Personally, I believe that's the most likely scenario. Climie has shown he has the talent to be an NHL goaltender and he just needs fine-tuning among the better talent in the AHL. Bachman is coming out of college (early), and needs playing time to adjust to the professional level of hockey before being thrust into the NHL. Marty Turco, the top goaltender in the NCAA, spent two years in the IHL befor becoming the Stars' backup. Additionally, the window for Krahn (27 years old) and Climie (26) to make an impression on the NHL club is much shorter than Bachman's (21). Bachman is also under contract for longer, so the Stars have time to let him develop.
Follow the jump for the full press release.
FRISCO, Tex. – The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has signed goaltenders Matt Climie and Brent Krahn to one-year, two-way contracts for the 2009-10 season. Both players made their NHL debuts with the Stars last season, and each spent time in both the American Hockey League and the ECHL.
Climie, 26, earned the win in his NHL debut on Apr. 4 vs. St. Louis, becoming just the fifth goaltender in Dallas Stars history to win in his first NHL game (also Mike Torchia, Roman Turek,and ). He went 2-1-0 in three games with Dallas, posting a 2.92 goals-against-average and an .894 save percentage.
The 6-3, 205-pound goaltender spent the majority of the 2008-09 season with the Idaho Steelheads (ECHL), where he posted a 27-12-1 record with four shutouts, a 2.30 goals-against-average and .915 save percentage. Those numbers were good for third among ECHL goaltenders in wins, fourth in GAA, tied for fourth in shutouts and eighth in save percentage. He appeared in four ECHL Playoff games with Idaho, going 0-3-1 with a 2.41 GAA and a .924 save percentage.
The native of Leduc, Alta. was named the RBK ECHL Goaltender of the Week for March 23-29, and received the CCM ECHL Rookie of the Month honors for December, as well as RBC Financial Group ECHL Saver of the Month for March. Signed by Dallas as a free agent on Mar. 20, 2008, Climie later appeared in five games for the Houston Aeros in the AHL Playoffs, going 1-1 with a 1.88 GAA and a .945 save percentage.
Krahn, 27, appeared in his first NHL game with Dallas on Feb. 14 at Chicago. He played in six games with the Las Vegas Wranglers (ECHL) during the 2008-09 season before being assigned to the Chicago Wolves on Dec. 12, 2008. He played in 13 games for Chicago, posting a 6-6-0 record with two shutouts, a 2.11 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage.
The native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, appeared in 14 games with the AHL’s Quad City in 2007-08, notching a 6-6-2 record with a 2.49 goals-against average and .905 save percentage. Krahn signed as a free agent with the Dallas Stars on Sept. 24, 2008, and was originally drafted by Calgary in the first round (No. 9 overall) of the 2000 Entry Draft.