Kari Lehtonen

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Kari Lehtonen
Kari Lehtonen Dallas Stars Versus Chicago Blackhawks warmup.jpg
Lehtonen during warm-ups at the American Airlines Center.
Born (1983-11-16) November 16, 1983 (age 30)
Helsinki, Finland
Height 6 ft 4 in (193 cm)
Weight 205 lb (93 kg; 14 st 9 lb)
Position Goaltender
Catches Left
NHL team
Former teams
Dallas Stars
Jokerit
Atlanta Thrashers
National team  Finland
NHL Draft 2nd overall, 2002
Atlanta Thrashers
Playing career 1999–present

Kari Lehtonen (born November 16, 1983) is a Finnish professional ice hockey goaltender currently playing for the Dallas Stars of the National Hockey League (NHL). He was selected second overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers, becoming the highest-drafted European goaltender as well as the highest Finnish player ever in NHL history.

Playing career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Kari Lehtonen was drafted second overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers after an outstanding 2001–02 season in the Finnish SM-liiga. Lehtonen was the backup goalie for Jokerit, but captured the starting position and won the Urpo Ylönen trophy, given to the best goalie of the season, and the league's playoff MVP award, the Jari Kurri trophy. Lehtonen stayed with Jokerit for one more season before crossing the sea.

Years in Atlanta[edit]

During the 2003–04 NHL season, Lehtonen mostly spent his time with the Chicago Wolves, the Thrashers' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, but he was called up for a number of occasions and played four games for the Thrashers, winning all four of them and posting one shutout. After posting a .953 save percentage and 1.25 goals against average (GAA), Lehtonen spent the majority of the year in the AHL.

Lehtonen spent the 2004–05 NHL lockout season with the Wolves, adjusting to the North American playing style. After playing 57 games for the Wolves, of which he won 38, posting .929 save percentage and 2.27 GAA, the Thrashers called him up and Lehtonen started the 2005–06 season as the starting goalie for Atlanta. On the opening night of the 2005–06 season, Lehtonen suffered a serious groin injury when Florida Panthers center Nathan Horton collided with Lehtonen. The injury sidelined him for 35 games. Lehtonen was once again injured on April 6, 2006 when Tampa Bay Lightning forward Chris Dingman collided with him. Lehtonen tried to get to his feet but sprained his ankle in the process.

Shortly into the 2006–07 NHL season, Lehtonen broke the Atlanta Thrashers shutout streak record previously held by Michael Garnett. He also set his career highs in every category. AirTran Airways, a low-cost airline, signed Lehtonen as an endorser for the 2006–07 season.

On February 8, 2007, Lehtonen became the Thrashers franchise leader for wins by a goaltender with 49, surpassing Pasi Nurminen's record of 48. On April 12, 2007, Lehtonen was the starting goaltender for the Thrashers in their first NHL playoff game.

After a rough start to the 2007–08 season, Lehtonen suffered another groin injury on October 18, 2007. He would miss 16 games before returning on December 5, 2007. He finished the season with a respectable save percentage to go along with four shutouts as the Thrashers failed to qualify for the playoffs.

Dallas Stars[edit]

On February 9, 2010, Lehtonen was traded to the Dallas Stars for Ivan Vishnevskiy and a 4th round draft pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft (Ivan Telegin). Prior to the start of the 2010–11 season the Stars signed Lehtonen to a three-year, $10.65 million extension.[1] In his first full season in Dallas, Lehtonen compiled a 34-24 record with a 2.55 goals against average. Lehtonen and the Stars were officially eliminated from contention for a seed in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs after losing to the Minnesota Wild on the final day of the regular season.

On September 4, 2012 the day before an impending lockout Kari signed a 5 year deal worth US$29.5 million.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP W L T/OT MIN GA SO GAA SV% GP W L MIN GA SO GAA SV%
2000–01 Jokerit SM-l 4 3 1 0 190 6 0 1.90 .937
2001–02 Jokerit SM-l 23 13 5 2 1242 37 4 1.79 .941 11 8 2 623 18 3 1.73 .940
2002–03 Jokerit SM-l 45 23 14 6 2634 87 5 1.98 .928 10 6 4 626 17 2 1.63 .941
2003–04 Chicago Wolves AHL 39 20 14 2 2192 88 3 2.41 .926 10 6 4 663 23 1 2.08 .942
2003–04 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 4 4 0 0 239 5 1 1.25 .953
2004–05 Chicago Wolves AHL 57 38 17 2 3378 128 5 2.27 .929 16 10 6 983 28 2 1.71 .939
2005–06 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 38 20 15 0 2166 106 2 2.94 .906
2006–07 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 68 34 24 9 3934 183 4 2.79 .912 2 0 2 118 11 0 5.59 .849
2007–08 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 48 17 22 5 2707 131 4 2.90 .916
2007–08 Chicago Wolves AHL 2 2 0 0 124 4 0 1.93 .934
2008–09 Atlanta Thrashers NHL 46 19 22 3 2624 134 3 3.06 .911
2009–10 Chicago Wolves AHL 4 1 1 2 247 11 0 2.67 .899
2009–10 Dallas Stars NHL 12 6 4 0 663 31 0 2.81 .911
2010–11 Dallas Stars NHL 69 34 24 0 4119 175 3 2.55 .914
2011–12 Dallas Stars NHL 59 32 22 4 3497 136 4 2.33 .922
2012–13 Dallas Stars NHL 36 15 14 3 1986 88 1 2.66 .916
SM-l totals 72 39 20 8 4065 130 9 1.92 .933 21 14 6 1249 35 5 1.68 .941
NHL totals 380 181 147 35 21936 989 22 2.71 .914 2 0 2 118 11 0 5.59 .849

Awards and honours[edit]

Kari Lehtonen.jpg
Lehtonen at the 2007 IIHF World Championship
Medal record
Ice hockey
Competitor for  Finland
Olympic Games
Bronze 2014 Sochi
World Championships
Silver 2007 Russia
World Cup
Silver 2004 World Cup of Hockey
World Junior Championships
Bronze 2003 Canada
Bronze 2002 Czech Republic
Silver 2001 Russia
IIHF World U18 Championship
Silver 2001 Finland
Gold 2000 Switzerland

Records[edit]

  • Atlanta Thrashers franchise leader for games played by a goaltender (204).[2]
  • Atlanta Thrashers franchise leader for victories (94).
  • Atlanta Thrashers franchise leader shutouts (14).
  • Atlanta Thrashers franchise leader for games played by a goaltender in a single season (68).
  • Atlanta Thrashers franchise leader for saves in a single season (1,892).
  • Atlanta Thrashers franchise leader for shutouts in a single season (4).
  • Atlanta Thrashers franchise leader for starts in a single season (66).
  • Atlanta Thrashers franchise leader for minutes played in a single season (3,934).

Mask history[edit]

Personal[edit]

On July 2, 2011, Kari married longtime girlfriend Abbe Schutter in a private ceremony at the Club at Hammock Beach in Palm Coast, FL. Kari met Abbe while playing in Atlanta.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Stars make future plans clear, sign Kari Lehtonen to $10.65 million extension". Dallas Morning News. 2010-05-11. Retrieved 2011-02-27. 
  2. ^ "Thrashers recall Lehtonen". NHL.com. 2010-02-07. Retrieved 2010-02-10. 
  3. ^ Supersize me
  4. ^ Waiting For Stanley: Kari Lehtonen's mask
  5. ^ Lehtonen starts again, groin willing
  6. ^ "Dallas Stars goalie doesn't wear his Chuck Norris mask, it wears him". Yahoo! Sports. 2012-01-02. Retrieved 2012-01-02. 
  7. ^ "Wedding Announcement". St. Augustine Record. 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2011-07-13.  Kari and Abbe welcomed their first child, a son, in September of 2012.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jussi Markkanen
Winner of the Urpo Ylönen trophy
2001–02 & 2002–03
Succeeded by
Niklas Bäckström
Preceded by
Jussi Tarvainen
Winner of the Jari Kurri trophy
2001–02
Succeeded by
Esa Pirnes
Preceded by
Timo Jutila
Winner of the Kalen Kannu
2001–02
Succeeded by
Esa Pirnes
Preceded by
Ilya Kovalchuk
Atlanta Thrashers first round draft pick
2002
Succeeded by
Jim Slater