Monday, August 1, 2011

2011-12 Texas Stars Preview: Goaltenders

Richard Bachman in an April 8th game at Milwaukee (Credit: Chris Jerina)

All this week, we are going to take a look at the Texas Stars expected roster for the 2011-12 season. As free agency has died down, the picture has become clearer as to who will make the cut on opening night. Today, we'll start with likely the clearest and easiest position to predict, goaltenders. Wednesday will be defensemen, and Friday will be forwards.

For their first two seasons, goaltending has been a position of strength for the Texas Stars. In 2009-10, Brent Krahn set records for the franchise with a 17-4-0 record, .945 SV% and 1.83 GAA, going 10-2 in the months of October and November before being struck down by injury. Matt Climie stepped in and performed admirably with a 2.46 GAA, .919 SV% and 21-17-3 record while Richard Bachman got his shots in, going 4-4-0 with 2.15 GAA and .932 SV%.

The 2010-11 campaign continued that success for Bachman, who set a franchise record for wins with 28 in 55 games. Bachman posted a 2.20 GAA and a .927 SV%. Brent Krahn, who was supposed to be part of a 1A/1B situation with Bachman, was injured early and only played 12 games on the season. This made room for Tyler Beskorowany to enter the scene. The 20 year old, at the time, posted a 7-8-1 record with a respectable 2.58 GAA and .921 SV%.

Tyler Beskorowany in warmup for the December 20th game against the Barons (Credit: Texas Stars)

Last year's tandem will be back for round two in 2011-12. After being seasoned with a little bit of playoff experience, Richard Bachman will be the clear cut starter this coming season. His development will continue with at least 50-60 games expected on his plate. Beskorowany will pick up his workload, absorbing those games played by Krahn last season, to start a likely 20-30 games. (Remember that the schedule is 4 games shorter than last season's 80.)

The only unknown in the Stars' goaltending comes in those emergency situations. If Kari Lehtonen or Andrew Raycroft are injured, Bachman gets called up and Beskorowany becomes your starter in Texas. But who is the backup?

Last season we saw Adrien LeMay fill the 3rd goaltender role after Brent Krahn's injury. LeMay was signed by Texas to a two-way deal and spent most of the season in Allen, Quad City (CHL) and Idaho (ECHL). However, while LeMay spent many games with the Stars he did not play in a single one. If there is any disruption with any of the four goaltenders in Dallas or Texas, the Stars organization will need a serviceable 5th goaltender. This is one of those signings to watch for in the next month.

Finally, when talking about the future of goaltenders in the organization, Jack Campbell must be discussed, if only because leaving him out would generate so many comments asking about him. Campbell will not be with the Stars this year. Campbell will continue his development in the OHL with the Spitfires this season and possibly join Texas in 2012-13. He could join the Stars or Steelheads as a 'black ace' toward the end of the season depending on how the Spitfires do in the playoffs as well. This would be the extent of his involvement in the season.

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