Texas Stars ready to juggle goalies once again

Jussi Rynnas will start one of the first two games in net for Texas. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Jussi Rynnas will start one of the first two games in net for Texas. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

CEDAR PARK — When both of his goalies were healthy during the past two seasons, former Texas Stars coach Willie Desjardins didn’t have a problem rotating starts between Cristopher Nilstorp and Jack Campbell.

Desjardins and Nilstorp may be gone — one now coaches the Vancouver Canucks, the other returned to Sweden to play there — but new Stars coach Derek Laxdal will have to do his own juggling act in net this season.

“We have to be real careful how we manage that (spot),” Laxdal said. “It depends on both goaltenders … we’ve got two pretty experienced goaltenders here.”

Laxdal didn’t say whether Campbell or Jussi Rynnas would start Saturday night, when Texas opens the American Hockey League’s regular-season against Iowa. The coach said each goalie will start one of the Stars’ first two games, and both will have chances to “develop a rhythm” early in the season.

Campbell has been a crowd-favorite at Cedar Park Center since he made his debut with the Stars late in the 2011-12 season. The 22-year-old was stellar with a 1.49 goals-against-average and .942 save percentage last season, but he was limited to 16 games because of a knee injury.

Jack Cambpell is looking to play more than 16 games this season. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

Jack Cambpell is looking to play more than 16 games this season. (Photo by Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)

This season, Campbell will share the net with Rynnas, 27. Formerly in the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, the 6-foot-5-inch Rynnas spent the 2013-14 season playing in his native Finland, where posted a 1.51 goals-against-average and a .939 save percentage.

“I made the decision right away when I went back to Europe that I wanted to spend one year, then come back (to North America),” Rynnas said after practice Thursday. “So I knew I had to play good and give myself a second chance here.”

Sharing the work: They’ll work as a tandem, but Laxdal will focus on the Stars forwards and the team’s power play while assistant coach Karl Taylor will work with the defensemen and organize the penalty-killing unit.

“We’ll be very collaborative in everything we do,” Taylor said. “We’re finding our stride together, and learning the day-to-day … I may be changing the (defense), and he may be changing the forwards, but in the end he’s the head coach.”

Continue reading this story in the Austin American-Statesman.

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