Hours after the Buffalo Sabres made the biggest trade of the season to acquire Evander Kane from the Winnipeg Jets, the Sabres have traded Jhonas Enroth to the Dallas Stars for Anders Lindback and a conditional 2016 third-round pick.
The goaltender-for-goaltender swap brings some insurance to the Stars net, especially with Dallas starting netminder Kari Lehtonen having a subpar season. Lindback had only seen one start for the Stars since Jan. 15, playing in Dallas’ Feb. 7 meeting with Buffalo, where he allowed three goals on 24 shots in a loss to the Sabres.
In ten appearances this season, Lindback, a monsterous 6-foot-6, 210-pound netminder, has posted a 3.71 goals against average and .875 save percentage. The Sabres mark the eighth team and third NHL club that Lindback will suit up for in the past four seasons.
His size was thought to be enough of an asset that the Tampa Bay Lightning traded two second-round picks in the 2012 draft and a third rounder in 2013 to the Nashville Predators to acquire Lindback. He didn’t work out in Tampa Bay, posting a 2.90 GAA, .897 SP and 18-22-3 record in 47 games with the Lightning.
Lindback signed a one-year deal with the Stars this past off-season and will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
Enroth, 26, has appeared in 37 games for the Sabres this season, posting a 3.27 GAA, .903 SP and 13-21-2 record. He was drafted by the Sabres 46th overall in 2006, and in 118 games with the team he went 38-56-14, with a 2.92 GAA and .910 SP.
Of goalies that have played 1,000 minutes of 5-on-5, none has faced more shots per 60 minutes of ice time than Enroth, yet he maintains a SP of .917. Lehtonen, who faces nearly 2.5 fewer shots per 60 minutes, has a 5-on-5 SP of .919. With the Stars in the hunt for the playoffs, the Stars have been unhappy with Lehtonen’s performance. Bringing in Enroth may be their way of lighting a spark under the netminder.
Last week, Stars coach Lindy Ruff said that he felt he hadn’t seen enough from his goaltender.
“We need him to be better. There is no masquerading that point,” Ruff told the Stars website. “Met with him again this morning. We’ll just take it one game at a time here. It seems like every night the other goalie is outdueling us.”
Stars GM Jim Nill added that Lehtonen had to learn how to be more consistent in his play.
“If you ask anyone, including Kari, he knows he’s been inconsistent,” said Nill. “He’s shown in the past he can be an elite goalie. Everybody has their ups and downs, and he’s just got to learn how to manage those good times with the bad times.”
And it appears if Lehtonen can’t figure it out between the pipes, the Stars are ready to turn to Enroth.