February 09, 2010
Potentially momentous night for the Dallas Stars and their goaltending situation. First, they traded defensive prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy and a fourth-round pick to the Atlanta Thrashers for the recently rehabbed Kari Lehtonen; TSN reports the deal will be finalized after the Dallas game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.
The move sparked instant speculation that Marty Turco's(notes) time in Dallas will come to an end before the trade deadline, with Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet claiming that the Philadelphia Flyers could be the destination. Makes sense, considering the uncertain status of Ray Emery(notes). (Due to injury; not because he's Ray Emery.)
But that's speculation; let's deal with this trade, which is a rather bold move for the Stars on two fronts. First, Vishnevskiy was rated as the top prospect in the Dallas system by Hockey's Future, and would have fit well with a group of young Stars defensemen (assuming the team can retain their services).
Second, this is at the very least a commitment to Kari Lehtonen(notes) as their playoff-push goalie or to the fragile 26-year-old as their franchise goalie, if they re-sign the pending RFA. Dallas began the night three points out of a playoff spot; does this move bring them closer?
Is it a gamble? Sure, but what's the alternative? Let Turco skate for nothing after foundering away a playoff seed? Leave the goaltending situation a major question mark heading into the summer and having bidding wars against rivals? Lehtonen's RFA status means there's a proven, affordable NHL starter as an option on a post-Turco team. Health is a concern, for sure; but it's better than fighting 10 other teams to offer $7 million per season to Evgeni Nabokov(notes).
We'll follow this story as it becomes official and if the other skate drops on Turco this evening. Follow Defending Big D for updates as well. Meanwhile, wrap your brains around Marty Turco playing for, and in front of, Flyers fans.