Kari Lehtonen was drafted 2nd overall in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by the Atlanta Thrashers. During the 2003-2004 NHL season he played four games for the Thrashers, winning all four of them and posting one shutout. On opening night of the 2005-2006 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 played his first full season in 2006-2007, playing in 68 games and winning 34 of them. He finished with a GAA of 2.79 and a save percentage of .912. Lehtonen currently leads the Thrashers in several records, including being the franchise leader for victories (58), franchise leader for shutouts (7), and the franchise leader for games played by a goaltender in a single season (68).
Lehtonen is a young up-and-comer with tremendous upside. He loves to face lots of shots and thrives on action, winning more games the more shots he faces. Lehtonen should be the key to Atlanta's success for years to come.