LOS ANGELES -- Marc Crawford said defense, obviously, was an issue for his club. But he didn't put all the blame on his defenseman. He said it starts with the goalie, which is why Kari Lehtonen is such a key for this club.
"We're excited about where Kari is and the emphasis he’s put on his conditioning," Crawford said during an interview with ESPN Dallas at the draft. "He really sees, as we do, the tremendous opportunity we all have. He’s going to be one of the biggest factors, if not the biggest factor, on how we improve defensively."
Crawford said Lehtonen is working on a conditioning program this offseason and is getting stronger.
"He knows the commitment he has to make," Crawford said. "He had a huge injury and wasn’t in the greatest of conditioning because of that injury. Once he got into game conditioning, he was an excellent player for us down the stretch. He's so much further ahead now and we’re not taking anyting for granted. He has taken it upon himself to spend weeks and blocks of time working on his game. We’re staying on top of his conditioning. All you can do is the right things in those areas. We’re all excited about what lies ahead for Kari. He’s excited too."