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Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Goalie-Go-Round Never Stops

It’s almost June, which means the NHL Draft and free agency are just around the corner. As gripping and frantic as all the Cup races have been for the past few weeks, there’s so much more going on below the surface where general managers do their best work.

You’ve heard it again and again and again because it’s true: Goaltending is one of the biggest issues the Dallas Stars will have to deal with during this offseason. The extent to which answers lie within the team’s own system is still being established. The 2014-15 season has been an eventful one for goalies and goalie prospects throughout the organization, and Jim Nill will have his hands full sorting through the data they’ve produced.

Our friend Mike Heika wrote about it earlier this week:

Kari Lehtonen has three years left on his contract at a cap hit of $5.9 million, but is coming off an uneven season. While he ranked 11th in wins at 34-17-10, he ranked 36th in goals against average at 2.94 and 41st in save percentage at .903. Those are among the worst numbers for No. 1 goalies in the NHL.So the question of whether or not to change the top of the goalie pyramid is going to be the big issue — including whether or not the Stars can even move Lehtonen if they so desire.

But there also are decisions to be made at pretty much every single level of goaltending for Dallas. Backup goalie Jhonas Enroth and prospect Jack Campbell both participated in the World Championships, and their performances could also be classified as “uneven.” Meanwhile, prospect Philippe Desrosiers has gotten his junior team — the Rimouski Oceanic — to the Memorial Cup, but also has had his share of ups and downs this season.

Enroth can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and he made a nice statement with his run down the stretch with the Stars. After a trade from Buffalo, Enroth had a terrible start with Dallas. But he went 4-0-0 in his last four games while posting a 1.23 GAA and .952 save percentage. So is that an indication of what he might be able to do with the team?

Enroth made $1.25 million last season, and would probably like a raise and more responsibility. Are the Stars ready to go with him in a larger role? Well, he played behind a bad Buffalo team and posted a 13-21-2 record with a 3.27 GAA and .903 save percentage, so that’s a tough read. At the World Championships, Enroth went 4-2-0 with a 2.76 GAA and .876 save percentage, losing to Russia in the quarterfinals, 5-3.

Heika discusses the Stars prospects in depth and provides a little historical perspective on how the team has developed its goalies. Enjoy the read. [DMN]

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I hope everyone enjoyed their day of rest before the conference finals, and so does NBC, as it turns out.

Let’s sort through the unread mail and see what’s here, shall we?

Sadly, Philippe Desrosiers‘ postseason has come to an end. The Quebec Remparts came alive in a big way during last night’s tiebreaker game, beating the Rimouski Oceanic 5-2 on the way to a semifinal meeting with Jamie Benn’s old team, the Kelowna Rockets. Desrosiers stopped 26 of 31 shots. [HNIC]

Tim Cowlishaw answered the token Stars question during one of his regular live chats yesterday morning. “J Hunt” asked, “Do you think the Stars pick up a defenseman this year and if so who?”

Francois Beauchemin? [Barret] Jackman? Does Lindy Ruff like Andrej Meszaros from Buffalo? Lots of names out there, mostly older players but they need help on the back end. Stars are the only top 10 scoring team that failed to make the playoffs. Goaltending is not the only reason.

…Okay! [DMN]

After a whirlwind courtship, Dan Bylsma has said yes to the Buffalo Sabres. No doubt they will close the deal in a small yet garish ceremony at the Stardust.

Die By the Blade’s Jack Goods has posted the story and provides some fan reaction. [Die By the Blade]

So could Bylsma and Jack Eichel be more successful in Buffalo than Mike Babcock and Connor McDavid in Toronto and Edmonton? Ken Campbell thinks Bylsma’s proven skills with stars like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will serve him well with Eichel and Sam Reinhart and Evander Kane. [THN]

There is news both huge and strange coming out of the AHL. Commissioner Dave Andrews has confirmed that the California teams will play fewer games — perhaps as many as eight — than the rest of the league, including their own new division mates. “The Texas and San Antonio fan bases should be on fire right now,” writes Stephen Meserve of 100 Degree Hockey. Link to his story from this tweet:

Remember the time the Pittsburgh Penguins practically gave Simon Despres to the Anaheim Ducks? Yeah, so does Jim Rutherford. The Pens’ GM admits he wouldn’t make that trade today. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

But enough about that. Wanna have a good laugh at Anaheim’s expense? Sure, we all do! BarDown has posted a brief history of the Ducks’ jerseys. [TSN]

The Montreal Canadiens have announced the recipients of the 2014-15 Guy Lafleur Awards of Excellence and Merit, which mean scholarship money for some great kids who are also really good at hockey. [Montreal Canadiens]

Finally: Cutest prom invitation ever? Only until someone comes up with one using Stars players. In the meantime….

Talking Points