The Dallas Stars added to their goaltending depth Monday, signing 27-year-old Jussi Rynnas to a two-year contract.
Rynnas played last season with Karpat in Finland’s top league, registering a 28-5-7 record and leading the league with a 1.51 goals against average and .939 save percentage. Rynnas saw limited time in the playoffs due to injury, playing in just three games as Karpat won the Finnish Elite League championship.
“He’s a good goaltender,” Stars GM Jim Nill said of Rynnas, who is 6-5, 212 pounds. “He’s a good goaltending prospect.”
This will be Rynnas’ second venture into North America. He was a highly sought after free agent out of Finland in 2010. The Stars were among the teams interested in signing Rynnas, who eventually ended up with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He played for the Toronto organization for three seasons, most of it in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies. He posted a 31-33-5 record in the AHL from 2010-13 with a 2.64 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. He played in three NHL games for the Maple Leafs, posting a 0-1-0 record, 3.85 goals against average and .848 save percentage.
“He decided to go back to Europe, his game has improved and we think he adds depth to our organization at the goaltending position,” Nill said. “He’ll come over and we’ll see where he fits in. He’s probably going to spend some time in the American League (with the Texas Stars) to get used to the different game over here again, and we’ll see how he develops.”
Nill said Rynnas will push top goaltending prospect Jack Campbell and the hope is that both Campbell and Rynnas will push Anders Lindback, who signed as a free agent last week to back up Kari Lehtonen.
“Internal competition is good,” Nill said. “It is healthy.”
Eaves: Stars going places and I want to be a part of it
Forward Patrick Eaves said GM Jim Nill was a key reason why he signed a one-year contract with the Dallas Stars last week. Knowing Nill from when both were with the Detroit Red Wings was part of the equation. Another part was what Nill has been doing since he arrived in Dallas.
“He’s got a real good thing going down there,” Eaves said. “I know they’re a hard team to play against and they’re making moves. They’re going places and I want to be a part of it.”
Stars coach Lindy Ruff called the 30-year-old Eaves a “jack-of-all-trades” player who can be used up and down the lineup, on both sides of special teams and in any situation. Eaves said that kind of versatility is what he is hoping to bring to the Stars’ lineup.
“I can play an up-tempo game and I hope add to the speed that they already have and then I can play in all situations,” said Eaves, who has played 444 NHL games with Ottawa, Carolina, Detroit and Nashville. “If they need me to PK, I can do that. Five-on-five’s fine and power play’s good too. They can kind of plug me in wherever and I think I can contribute. So, that’s what I’m looking to do.”
Nill talks arbitration
Stars restricted free agents Antoine Roussel and Cameron Gaunce both elected to file for salary arbitration over the weekend. Stars GM Jim Nill said it is just business and part of the negotiating process. The players and the team can still work out a contract before it goes to arbitration.
“It’s business. We’ll still talk to the agents,” Nill said. “And in the end if we can’t agree on something then the arbitrator will make the decision for us.”
Hearings will be held from July 20 to August 4 in Toronto.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.