Monday, July 7, 2014

Goalie Jussi Rynnas Signs With Dallas, Expected to Backup Campbell

In what might, at first, be a head-scratcher move, the Dallas Stars signed goalie Jussi Rynnas (RUNE-ahs) out of SM-liiga on a two-year deal. While terms were not disclosed, it is assumed this is a two-way deal.

Those who have been around the game for a few years will remember the name as the one-time 'next big thing' for Toronto. He played three career NHL games with the Maple Leafs but has a 31-33-5 record with the Marlies over three seasons. He now returns to the AHL after playing last season in Finland.

At first glance, it might seem to be a confusing deal. If Dallas Stars' GM Jim Nill wants Jack Campbell to be the bonafide #1 in Cedar Park, why sign a guy who could easily be a #1 himself? Quite simply, it's because Campbell will be in his first year as a professional #1. In case of injury to Campbell or elsewhere in the system above him, the team needs someone they can rely on to start games at this level. It's safe to say that Rynnas will not play more games than Campbell with Texas unless there is an injury to Lehtonen, Lindback or Campbell himself.

Additionally, this move probably signals the end of Josh Robinson's time with the Texas Stars. "Robo" was looking for a solid AHL backup job and Dallas now has four goalies under contract filling up the potential backup spot he wanted. He will likely go elsewhere in the AHL, if not overseas.

Here's the release:
Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed goaltender Jussi Rynnas to a two-year contract. Per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Rynnas, 27, logged a 28-5-7 record in 40 regular-season contests with Karpat of the Finnish Elite League (Liiga). Rynnas led all Liiga goaltenders last season with a 1.51 goals against average and a .939 save percentage, while he finished second in the league with nine shutouts and third with 28 wins. He also appeared in three postseason games with Karpat, posting an 0-3-0 record with a 2.57 GAA and an .881 SV% as his club went on to win the 2014 Liiga championship.

The 6-foot-5, 212-pound native of Pori, Finland has appeared in three career regular-season NHL games for the Toronto Maple Leafs, going 0-1-0 and stopping 39 shots for an .848 SV% and a 3.85 GAA. Rynnas also spent three seasons with the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League (AHL) from 2010-13. In his three AHL seasons, the goaltender earned a career record of 31-33-5 with a 2.64 GAA and a .910 SV% with eight shutouts in 73 regular-season games with the Marlies. In addition to his time in the AHL, Rynnas spent part of the 2011-12 campaign with the Reading Royals of the ECHL, posting an 8-5-1 record with a 3.21 GAA and a .914 SV% with one shutout in 14 games with the club.

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