First it was the Kovalchuk #17 jersey, now the Lehtonen #32 jersey gets shuffled to the back of the closet.
Kari Lehtonen was traded to the Dallas Stars for defenseman Ivan Vishnevskiy and a fourth round selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Dallas selected Vishnevskiy, a Barnaul Russia native, in the first round, 27th overall, in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. Vishnevskiy will report to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL.
The Thrashers selected Lehtonen, a Helsinki, Finland native, in the first round, second overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. He has posted a 94-83-17 record with a 2.87 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage in 204 NHL games, all with the Thrashers. Lehtonen holds Thrashers franchise records by a goaltender in games played (204), wins (94), save percentage (.912) and shutouts (14).
I like the move for Atlanta; Don Waddell threw Lehtonen under the bus and hinted he would be gone at the Season Ticket Holders town-hall meeting before the Florida game on February 6th.
While I think Kari had the best potential of the three goalies, I think he wore his welcome out with coaches, players, and fans. Many fault his conditioning, work ethic, or lack thereof as the reason why Lehtonen never reached his potential.
I would have been happy to get anything in return for a two-time a year IR player who has a 3 million RFA tag.
So to get a prospect that some sources say was the Stars number one “D” prospect (also a first round pick in 2006) and a fourth round pick as a throw in sits well with me.
Maybe a change of scenery will do Lehtonen good, for the Thrashers sake I hope not.
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Written by Matt Joseph