Dallas is obviously looking for some help for goalie Kari Lehtonen, who has been shouldering a huge load for the Stars. He’s up to 46 starts so far this season, tied for the NHL lead with Braden Holtby and Cory Schneider.
“Jhonas is an extremely instinctive, experienced goaltender and head coach Lindy Ruff has a familiarity with his game,” Dallas general manager Jim Nill said. “Going down the stretch, where we have five more back-to-back situations, it was important for us to have a game-tested goaltender to help balance the workload.”
The 26-year-old Enroth has certainly been game-tested in Buffalo, where he’s been better than his team on just about every night. He’s coming out of his sixth season with the Sabres and was set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, so many thought that he’d be moved.
In 37 games this season, Enroth is 13-21-2 with a 3.27 goals against average and a .903 save percentage.
By contrast, Lehtonen has struggled. He’s collected 23 wins in his 46 games, but his 2.94 goals against average is dismal and his .906 save percentage puts him 33rd overall. That’s not good.
The Stars are looking to make the playoffs and they’ll need some reliability between the pipes to do so, so having Enroth aboard should at least give them a chance to rest Lehtonen. He’s been more reliable than his numbers suggest – or at least he can be more reliable – and they have to hope that having a more solid backup netminder might be the push he needs.
Lindback wasn’t exactly providing much impetus to hold on to the number one spot, but now things might be a little more up in the air for the Stars. Enroth is the type of netminder to push for the top slot, which in turn should put the right kind of pressure on Lehtonen. And if that happens, everybody wins.