Dallas Stars acquire Stanley Cup Champ, Tim Thomas

The Dallas Stars have acquired Tim Thomas from the Florida Panthers in exchange for Dan Ellis.

With Roberto Luongo being traded to Florida yesterday, this opened up a possibility for the Dallas Stars to reach out for a trade. Fortunately the Stars were able to exchange backup goaltenders with the Panthers after clearing up cap space from the Stephane Robidas trade yesterday.

This is a crucial deal for the Dallas Stars in their push for the playoffs. It has been difficult for the Dallas Stars to give Kari Lehtonen nights off due to not having a solid backup goaltender. Lehtonen has played 51 games this season, second behind Mike Smith of the Coyotes. Among those games he hoists a 2.48 goals against average and a 0.916 save percentage.

Thomas vs. Ellis

Dan Ellis has played 14 games this season, starting 11 of them. Ellis has a 3.04 goals against average and a 0.900 save percentage. The Stars are 5-6-1 while Ellis is behind the pipes.

Tim Thomas has played 40 games so far, while only having a record of 16-20-3. However, Thomas’ goals against average is 2.87 and his save percentage is 0.909. His former team, Florida Panthers, are also one of the worst teams in the NHL this year, and are very close to the bottom in nearly every statistic; this includes having no players in the top 150 point scorers in the NHL. In that aspect, Thomas’ stats may not actually be so bad. Most importantly, Thomas has experience in clutch games (50 postseason games) and having 7 seasons with 40+ games.

I don’t expect Thomas to start, but he will be able to allow the coaching staff to feel comfortable with giving Lehtonen a day off during the next 20 regular season games (and hopefully several more postseason games this season).

Why this trade makes sense

The Dallas Stars will get Tim Thomas for the remainder of the season, and possibly consider offering an extension for another year depending on how he performs, and how his 39 year old body holds up. After the departure of Thomas, the Dallas Stars have built their organization to allow a younger goaltender to step up. These young goaltenders consist of Christopher Nilstorp (Texas Stars), Jack Campbell (Texas Stars), Philippe Desrosiers (Rimouski Oceanic – QMJHL), and company.

Tim Thomas joins former teammates, Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley, of the 2010-11 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. 

The Dallas Stars take on the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday at 6:30PM MT.