Found September 14, 2012 on Around The Rink:
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Dallas Star G Kari Lehtonen (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

The Dallas Stars have extended the contract of goaltender Kari Lehtonen today, signing him to a five-year, $30M extension. Lehtonen was entering the final season of the three year deal Dallas signed him to in 2009. The Stars originally acquired Lehtonen via trade with the Atlanta Thrashers.

Lehtonen has been the Stars’ top goaltender the past two years, notching 66 wins in that span. Last year, the 28-year-old Finnish netminder posted personal bests in goals-against-average (2.33) and save percentage (.922), both of which were top-ten in the NHL. Lehtonen also matched a personal best with four shutouts last season.

Via NHL.com, Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk had this to say about Lehtonen:

Kari Lehtonen has worked extremely hard in his time with the Dallas Stars to establish himself as an elite goaltender in the NHL…We believe that his best days as a goaltender are ahead, and that his work ethic and leadership will help guide this team into a perennial Stanley Cup contender.”

Stars fans should certainly hope Lehtonen’s presence for the next six years can indeed turn them into a perennial Cup contender; Dallas has come close, but have missed the playoffs each of the past four years, including Lehtonen’s first two years with the team.

Still, Lehtonen (28), along with All-Star forwards Jamie Benn (22) and Loui Eriksson (27), and top defensemen Alex Goligoski (27), Trevor Daley (28) and Philip Larsen (22), gives Dallas a strong young core for the foreseeable future.

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