Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Best Goalie in the Dallas Stars System Isn't Even on an NHL Contract

...but he should be.

(Credit: Andy Nietupski/Texas Stars)
Dallas and Texas fans alike are familiar with the struggles of below league average goaltending. Between Lehtonen, Niemi, Peters, Lagace and Desrosiers, this season has not been kind between the pipes. There is much lamentation over the lack of future goalie prospects in the pipeline. However, the next project is already in the system and having a pretty significant amount of success at the ECHL level.

Landon Bow, who played a bit at the AHL level this season, is the second-best goalie in the entire ECHL as of this writing. He's 14-4-2 with a .931 SV% and 2.21 GAA. He's also notched two shutouts. The only man better than him is veteran Riley Gill of the Allen Americans, a team that is playing against questionable competition on a near nightly basis.

In response to any of the number of rebuttals that you've surely queued up in your mind, I offer a few thoughts. First, Landon Bow has an NHL frame. He's 6'5" and weighs 210 lbs. Nowadays, that's what an NHL goalie looks like. You may be thinking that he was unimpressive in his first stint in the AHL (7-7-0, 3.17, .894). I would counter that he is just 21 years old, a rookie in the ECHL and AHL. Also, take a look at the numbers for every other goalie who has played for Texas this season and ask yourself if it's the system or the goalie that is driving those results. For what it's worth, Bow has the best GAA, SV% and win/loss ratio of any Texas Stars goalie this season.

Here's my argument. Dallas has gambled more on less. Without a single game of professional experience, Dallas signed Maxime Lagace to an entry-level contract. Bow has 16 games in the AHL to add to 19 in the ECHL. He had solid numbers in his junior career, including a deep playoff run in his final season with Seattle. An entry-level deal for Bow would lock down an AHL/ECHL goalie for the time being and allow the Stars to develop his talents further. Goalies don't hit their prime years until later in their 20s. With proper development, Bow could be an asset that Dallas gets 'for free' thanks to good junior scouting.

As they say in the lottery ads, you've got to play to win. At this point, Dallas could definitely use a win in the goalie development arena. Landon Bow could be their man.

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