FINAL UPDATE, 10:13pm CST: It appears that any trade between the Dallas Stars and Philalphia Flyers involving Marty Turco is dead. While there were whispers that the Stars were trying to send Turco to Philly, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren told Comcast Sports Net that there was no way a trade was happening.
“That [Turco deal] is not happening,” Holmgren said. “There is no chance, we can’t take that cap hit [at that spot].
UPDATE VI, 8:54pm CST: It's confirmed: Joe Nieuwendyk confirms with the Dallas Morning News that the Stars have traded for goaltender Kari Lehtonen, in exchange for Ivan Vishnevkiy and a fourth-round draft pick. The teams are awaiting NHL approval for the trade to be official. Stars press release is after the jump.
8:24pm CST: Some quick thoughts on the Lehtonen trade while we wait on word on a potential Marty Turco trade.
First, I understand the pain and anger involved with a team's number one prospect is traded away for an injury prone goaltender who is going to be a restricted free agent. But here's my guess on why the Stars were willing to part with Vishnevksiy: I don't think that Joe Nieuwendyk was as high on him as the rest of us were. The Stars have had the chance to see what he can do a few times this season, and he never did much to force the Stars to give him more games. And while he was a starter in the AHL all-star game, his numbers weren't what you would expect from a player billed as the next Sergei Zubov. On the other hand, Nieuwendyk has come out and said several times this season that the team is very high on Philip Larsen, a big defensemen playing in Sweden.
As far as Kari Lehtonen goes..well, the Stars are acquiring a goaltender with a ton of potential. The injury history is troubling, but there's a chance that a move to Dallas lights a fire in him and he lives up to the goaltender many thought he was while playing in the AHL.
If the Stars were going to acquire a goaltender any more established than Lehtonen, then the price would most likely have been higher. Be careful to judge this trade right away; this was a gamble by the Stars but it has the potential to be a great move. Or it could be a bust. We'll see.
UPDATE V, 8:06pm CST: Now there are very small hints, just a whimper really, that the Dallas Stars are talking with the Philadelphia Flyers about a potential Marty Turco trade. Stay tuned for more on the Turco rumors and some quick analysis on the Lehtonen trade.
UPDATE IV, 7:48pm CST: Per Bob McKenzie of TSN, and Kevin Allen, the trade is tentatively done with Ivan Vishnevskiy headed to Atlanta. The Stars also reportedly gave up a fourth-round draft pick. The trade will not be finalized until after the Stars and Blackhawks game is completed.
UPDATE III, 7:44pm CST: Ivan Vishnevskiy was scratched from the Texas Stars lineup tonight after game warmups. Does not mean anything is official on the trade, but most likely means he's the piece the Stars are looking to move.
UPDATE II, 7:33pm CST: As it stands now, no trade has happened. It appears that two teams are in the mix for Kari Lehtonen, with the Blues battling with the Stars. Rumors have it that the Stars are either shopping a high draft pick or defensemen Ivan Vishnevskiy, while the Blues are reportedly shopping Carlo Colaiacovo.
UPDATE I, 7:29 CST: Kari Lehtonen did not make the trip to Colorado with the Thrashers and it appears that a trade is imminent. Still no word on whether Ivan Vishnevskiy is involved.
The past twenty minutes or so have been a maelstrom of activity at Defending Big D headquarters, as nearly a hundred emails and tweets have alerted us to a possible trade between the Dallas Stars and the Atlanta Thrashers.
Right now, it appears as if Kari Lehtonen has been traded to the Dallas Stars, although nothing is official at this point. The Atlanta-Journal Consitution has nothing more than a headline, but Chris Vivlamore's twitter account said this:
I'm hearing more than rumbles that Kari Lehtonen has been traded to Dallas. Didn't accompany team to Denver.
Deal for Lehtonen could involve defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy. Maybe a low-round draft pick.
We'll have more on these rumors as they develop, but it appears that this is pretty close to being done. No actual good word on what the Stars have given up in return.
Frisco, Tex. - Dallas Stars General Manager Joe Nieuwendyk announced this evening that the hockey club has acquired goaltender Kari Lehtonen from the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and Dallas' fourth round pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Lehtonen, 26, is an NHL veteran goaltender who has played his entire career with Atlanta. He was the second overall pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by the Thrashers. Lehtonen has appeared in 204 career NHL games, earning a 94-83-17 record with a 2.87 goals-against-average (GAA) and 14 shutouts. His career save percentage of 91.2 percent ranks 16th among the 44 active goalies with 100-or-more games played.
"Kari Lehtonen is a proven elite goaltender," said Nieuwendyk. "We are very excited to add him to our hockey club."
A native of Helsinki, Finland, Lehtonen has not played yet this season due to off-season back surgery. He recently underwent a four-game conditioning assignment with the Chicago Wolves and has been cleared to play.
Lehtonen has an impressive record in shootout contests, having gone 20-8 in those games over his career (the 20 wins are tied for the sixth-most all-time despite not playing at all yet this season). He has also stopped seven-of-eight penalty shots in his career.
Finishing last season with a 7-2-0 record in his last nine starts with two shutouts, Lehtonen is Atlanta's all-time leader among goaltenders in games (204), wins (94), shutouts (14), and save percentage (.912). He has represented Finland in international competition 11 times, including winning a Silver Medal at the 2007 World Championships.
Vishnevskiy, 21, has spent most of this season with the Texas Stars (AHL), playing in 51 games (8 goals, 16 assists) with 18 penalty minutes. He also appeared in two NHL games with Dallas, going scoreless. Vishnevskiy was Dallas' first round selection (27th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. He has played in five career NHL games, earning two assists.
Kari Lehtonen Highlights
· Career save percentage of 91.2% - 16th best among active goalies.
· 20-8 career record in shootouts - T-6th most wins ever in shootouts.
· Backstopped Atlanta to 2007 division title, going 34-24-9 with 4 shutouts, a 2.79 GAA and .912 save percentage. Ranked 11th in the NHL in wins and shutouts. Allowed two-or-fewer goals in 29 games.
· Two-time winner of the top goaltender award in the Finnish Elite League (2002, 2003).
· Earned a 13-5-3 record, leading team to 2002 Finnish Elite League Championship as league's youngest goaltender (18).
Lehtonen Career Statistics
Year Team (League) GP Record Mins GA SO GAA GP Record Mins GA SO GAA
1998-99 Jokerit (Finland U-18) 2 - - - - - 4 2-2 240 7 0 1.75
1999-00 Jokerit (Finland-Jr.) 33 21-9-3 1974 86 2 2.61 12 9 3 758 0 1.11
2000-01 Jokerit (Finland-Jr.) 31 20-9-1 1799 71 3 2.37 1 0-1 54 4 0 4.44
Jokerit (Finland) 4 3-0-0 189 6 0 1.90 - - - - - -
2001-02 Jokerit (Finland-Jr.) 6 5-1-0 360 11 1 1.83 - - - - - -
Jokerit (Finland) 23 13-5-3 1242 37 4 1.79 11 8-3 623 18 3 1.73
2002-03 Jokerit (Finland) 45 23-14-6 2635 87 5 1.98 10 6-4 626 17 2 1.63
2003-04 Atlanta (NHL) 4 4-0-0 239 5 1 1.25 - - - - - -
Chicago (AHL) 39 20-14-2 2192 88 3 2.41 10 6-4 663 23 1 2.08
2004-05 Chicago (AHL) 57 38-17-2 3378 128 5 2.27 16 10-6 983 28 2 1.70
2005-06 Atlanta (NHL) 38 20-15-0 2166 106 2 2.94 - - - - - -
2006-07 Atlanta (NHL) 68 34-24-9 3934 183 4 2.79 2 0-2 118 11 0 5.59
2007-08 Atlanta (NHL) 48 17-22-5 2707 131 4 2.90 - - - - - -
Chicago (AHL) 2 2-0-0 124 4 0 1.93 - - - - - -
2008-09 Atlanta (NHL) 46 19-22-3 2624 134 3 3.06 - - - - - -
NHL Totals 204 94-83-17 11671 559 14 2.87 2 0-2 118 11 0 5.59