NHL Rookie Preview: Richard Bachman
Bachman was chosen in the fourth round, 120th overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars. The 25 year old goalie took a while to get NHL action, a common occurrence out of College Prospects, so there isn’t anything to be too worried about. Bachman posted an 8-5-1 record with a 2.77 goals against average and a .910 save percentage in 18 games with Dallas last season. Bachman represented the United States for the first time in his career at the 2012 IIHF World Championships, stopping 17 of 19 shots en-route to a win over Kazakhstan in his only appearance at the tournament. Dallas fans should have no problem with their goaltending duo going into next season.
Bachman has excellent quickness and agility in his crease. He has a lightning quick glove hand and is very athletic – a trait that he uses to keep himself in plays that some goalies would be out of. He is a confident ‘keeper that proved his worth at the collegiate level. Bachman has good reflexes and recuperative ability, allowing him to make some nice highlight reel saves. When Kari Lehtonen went down with an injury, Bachman outplayed 2004 Calder Trophy winner Andrew Raycroft, earning him the backup role once Lehtonen returned. He has been very impressive and should have a good career as a backup goaltender. Only 3 days after getting called up by the Stars, Bachman earned a shutout against the New York Rangers in a 1-0 win.
At just 5’10, Bachman is small. Bachman will challenge out high, but will need to sharpen his judgment as he moves up the ranks because his athleticism might not be able to bail him out at higher levels. He could use some improvement with stickhandling, something former Dallas goalies Johan Hedberg and Marty Turco were masters of. He needs to have more confidence in himself in big-game situations, and needs to avoid psyching himself out when the spotlight is on him. He doesn’t have great size, so he can be beaten upstairs when his positioning leaves him.
With nobody to challenge Bachman for the backup role with the Stars, Bachman will continue to develop with the big boys with a shot to get some starting action if Lehtonen falters or gets injured, both things that are common with the starting netminder. You can expect to see Bachman play around 20-25 games next season.