Sunday, November 27, 2011

Texas in a Bind as Dallas Calls for Bachman, Wathier

Last night in Phoenix, the Dallas Stars suffered three injuries to key players. None of them was more key than the groin injury to starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen. Texas starter Richard Bachman finished up last night's game and is now headed to Colorado to meet the team in time for their game against the Avs on Monday.

An injury to Vernon Fiddler will send Francis Wathier with him as well. Wathier is an obvious choice for this callup. He has been doing very well offensively and defensively in the AHL; he knows Gully's system well, having played it for 2 years; and he can fill a similar energy line role to Fiddler.

This leaves Texas in a bit of a lurch. Currently, Texas has one forward over their nightly needs. That scratch has generally been Eric Godard. With Wathier leaving, they need another for those just in case situations. Michael Neal and Tristan King are both in the ECHL right now, but I'm unsure if they would either get a callup. It could be a PTO signing that gets the call. GM White has a lot of connections, so this could come out of left field (for fans). Kael Mouillierat is still kicking around in Boise, so he's a possibility. So are preseason invitees Chad Klassen and David Fredriksson.

More pressing are the needs in goal. Tyler Beskorowany is now your starter, Stars' fans. Who will back him up remains a mystery. The Stars had Billy Sauer in the preseason and Scott White said that they would keep his number on the top of the pile, if he's needed. He is currently with Coach Pyle's former team, the Gwinnett Gladiators. In 5 games, he is 2-3-0 with a 2.84 GAA and .876 SV%. Jimmy Spratt is the top goalie in Idaho and is a possibility as well.

Here's the release:
The Dallas Stars announced on Sunday that the NHL club has placed goaltender Kari Lehtonen on injured reserve and recalled goaltender Richard Bachman, as well as forward Francis Wathier from the Texas Stars, Dallas’ primary affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).

Lehtonen, 28, suffered a lower-body injury on November 26 in the game against the Phoenix Coyotes. The 6-4, 217-pound goaltender leads the NHL with 13 wins and has compiled an overall record of 13-4-1 with a 2.35 goals against average (GAA) and a .926 save percentage (SV%) in his 19 appearances this season. The Helsinki, Finland native has registered a .920 SV%-or-higher in 12 of his 19 contests and was named the NHL’s, “Second Star of October,” where he posted an 8-1-0 record with a .947 SV% and a 1.75 GAA.

Bachman (pronounced BAWK-mahn) has a 7-5-1 record earning a 3.13 GAA and a .887 SV% in 15 contests for Texas this season. The Salt Lake City, Utah native appeared in a career-high 55 games for Texas in 2010-11, posting a 28-19-5 record with a .927 SV% and a 2.20 GAA. He played in his first and only NHL game last season, appearing in relief on Dec. 11, 2010 against the Phoenix Coyotes where he surrendered zero goals on four shots in 9:35 of play. The 5-10, 175-pound goaltender was Dallas’ fourth-round selection (120th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Wathier (pronounced WATH-ee-ay) has skated in 19 games for the Texas Stars this season, posting five goals and seven assists totaling 12 points while earning a team leading plus/minus rating of +3. The 6-4, 218-pound forward has gone scoreless in his eight career games with the Dallas Stars, posting an even-or-plus rating in six of the contests. The St. Isidore, Ontario native was Dallas’ sixth-round selection (185th overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

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