We're going to take the next few weeks and look at each player on the Stars roster and how they did this season. It's just a quick way to assess how things went and maybe get an idea for what is in store for the future. We'll begin with the goalies and work out way out from there.
Today's player: Marty Turco
Coming into the 2009-10 season, Marty Turco was determined to put together a better campaign than his 2008-09 performance. One season after leading the Stars to the Western Conference Finals, Turco was 33-31-10 with a 2.81 goals-against average and a .898 save percentage. But because the Stars weren't confident in their backup options, Turco was forced to play in 74 games.
Turco worked hard all summer with goalie coach Mike Valley and felt good about the upcoming season. But the 34-year-old netminder never really hit his stride. Turco couldn't get into a rhythm. He'd have a solid performance one game and then struggle in another. The defense in front of him was inconsistent as well, but that's when clubs really need their goaltender to make the spectacular saves and keep them in games and Turco didn't do that as often as he had in the past.
About two weeks before the Olympic break arrived, the Stars felt they needed to acquire a goalie with the understanding that Turco, in the final year of his contract, wasn't likely coming back. Nieuwendyk traded defenseman prospect Ivan Vishnevskiy and a fourth-round draft pick for Kari Lehtonen from Atlanta.
Some thought that meant Turco would go on the trading block. But about that time, the veteran goaltender began playing very well. He had a 4-1-1 record and a 1.15 GAA and .967 save percentage in the final six games before the Olympic break. The team was one point out of the final playoff spot, so Turco was the main man when the season resumed. The Stars, though, fell flat. Turco struggled and left the bench after getting pulled in the second period of a 6-1 loss to St. Louis.
The Stars began working Lehtonen in the lineup to see what he had. And the club determined in the final month of the season that Lehtonen was capable of being a No. 1 goalie. So they moved on and announced last week that they would not be attempting to re-sign Turco.
Turco finished the season 22-20-11 in 53 games with a 2.72 GAA and a .913 save percentage. The truth is, I think Turco will do well with another team. He's been in Dallas a long time and has really helped this organization. He'll be missed. But it was probably time for the organization and Turco to move on. Besides the on-ice stuff, Turco was a commanding presence in the dressing room. That was a good thing for this team. But they are younger now and to move forward, some of those players need to step forward and seize leadership roles. I think they can do that a little easier without Turco there.
He's a good guy and a good goalie and I hope he does well wherever he ends up.