With the season over and the offseason starting for the Stars, it’s time for a player reviews! Yay~. Rather than pick and choose who I go with each day, I’ll just go through the roster alphabetically. Aside from the goaltenders, I’ll only be reviewing players that played at least 20 games with the team this season so most of the call-ups won’t be getting reviews. First up on the list is Richard Bachman.
Bachman played better than anyone could have possibly hoped for this season. When Kari Lehtonen went down with his groin injury, this team was the terrible position of having to rely on Andrew Raycroft to be the starting goaltender. No need to say just how poorly that went (He lost eight of the ten games he played in last season). Bachman’s first game this season was on Dec. 8 when he replaced Raycroft in 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks. Raycroft allowed all five goals in two periods and Bachman came in and stopped all 11 shots that he faced. From that moment on, it was clear that Bachman would not go back down to the AHL while the season was still going on.
His first game was a fantastic 2-1 shutout of the LA Kings in which he stopped 26 shots. He would go on to win games at Vancouver, Chicago and the New York Rangers while also counting a home win against the Nashville Predators among his eight victories this season. Just looking at his numbers this season (8-5-1, 2.77 GAA, .910 save %) doesn’t tell the story on how well Bachman did this year. As any Stars fan would know, this defense was putrid for much, if not all, of the year. Opposing forwards would always be left wide open in the slot and turnovers would always (always!) happen right in front of the goalie.
Bachman’s not the biggest goalie but he has great movement in the crease. He made a bunch of saves this season that were practically Lehtonen-like in their quality. He wasn’t someone that gave a lot of rebounds (which is a huge difference from Raycroft) and had a pretty solid glove. His positioning was excellent and he really bailed out this team when it looked like things were falling apart in December.
He does have a little bit of trouble though with the high shots because of his stature. There were a good amount of goals that fluttered in over his shoulder even as he was trying to shrug off the shots and a good screen will really throw him off. There’s really nothing he can do against those high shots except react quicker and count on his defensemen to clear out the forwards (which there was too little of this season).
All-in-all though, Bachman had a solid season and gets a B+ from me. There’s really not too much you could ask for from his first season in the NHL and he’ll only get better as he continues to learn the game. He’s firmly entrenched in the backup role for next season for this team and I have no problem giving him some more games in order to rest Lehtonen a bit more.
Bachman is a restricted free agent going into this offseason though, so Dallas will have to re-sign him. I don’t think that there’s any question that they will do so and we’ll see more of Bachman next season in a Stars uniform.