One of the most plugged-in names in the hockey world (aside from Bob McKenzie) is Elliotte Friedman of SportsNet. Friedman writes a weekly roundup of different thoughts, rumors and inside tidbits that he gathers in the course of his reporting.
This week, Friedman had one note in particular that stuck out to me about the goaltending situation in Buffalo. You may know that the Sabres have traded all their NHL goalies away this year in order to lose enough to draft, they hope, Connor McDavid. However, the Sabres will want to start being good again really soon, as there is not much point being bad when you have a superb young player on your team. In order to be good, the Sabres will need, well, a goalie:
The Sabres are expected to look at some youthful options, but if they chase a veteran, it’s believed they have interest in unrestricted free agent Antti Niemi. If that doesn’t work, would Kari Lehtonen be a fit? Lindy Ruff is going to have a stroke if this continues and Jim Nill talked in this space about how difficult Lehtonen finds the adjustment on a better defensive team as opposed to a porous one. He could could help the Sabres, because while Buffalo hopes to improve, it’s unlikely they would be airtight.
On the podcast yesterday, Erin and I surmised that the Stars would probably have to retain salary in order to trade Lehtonen for a decent return given the season he's had. I still don't think Dallas should trade Kari when his value is at its lowest, and there are many reasons to expect his numbers to regress back to above-average next year.
That said...Buffalo's situation is unique enough to where they just might be a perfect candidate to acquire someone like Lehtonen. They could certainly use some of the forty-nine draft picks they've been hoarding to sweeten any potential deal, and the recent fire sale has left them with a goodly amount of cap room, making Lehtonen's salary less of a concern for them. They get him with three years remaining on his contract, and one would think the East would be kinder to any goalie than the West (and Central).
To be clear, I don't want the Stars to trade Lehtonen right now (unless Nill pulls off an absolute heist), but I also am not as sure as I was two months ago that they wouldn't really consider it, no matter how bad the netminding was for one season. Goalies fluctuate, and Kari's larger body of work since he arrived in Dallas is really very solid. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that Dallas could, at worst, write off this year and shore up the team for another crack at things in the fall. If Buffalo comes calling and the Stars can find another option in net, though? Well, that would be anyone's guess.
Kari's probably not going anywhere in the near future, though. I don't think. Maybe.
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Forgot to mention that I sprained my ankle while filling in as the emergency goaltender on our soccer team earlier this week. Next time I'll make the goalie coach do it, once we get a goalie coach.
Tyler Seguin could return to action as soon as Tuesday. More Seguin is a good thing. [Stars]
Mike Heika has some thoughts on Kulikov, the Department of Player Safety and how the players police the ice. Great stuff here. [DMN]
Ralph Strangis watched RED ARMY and has some thoughts on it. [According to Ralph]
"This could be the sixth year in the last seven the Stars finish .500 or better in terms of points earned, yet still miss the playoffs." [Grantland]
Nathan MacKinnon is done for the season (6-8 weeks, technically) with a fractured foot. [NHL]
And the Central Division continues to suffer attacks from malevolent microbots as Dustin Byfuglien is out for 2-4 weeks with an upper body something or other. [Puck Daddy]
Ryan Kesler is the latest athlete to pen a piece for the Players' Tribune. My Ducks-loving friend put it like this: "I am in love with this article." Ducks, but still. Don't worry, Perry is still a jerk, even in this nice little article. [Players' Tribune]
David Schlemko is a fake national hero on a fake national postage stamp after pulling off the Forsberg move Thursday. [Globe and Mail]
Derek Roy decided to be good again, because of course. Check out this sweet spinning goal during Edmonton's loss to Chicago (SO) last night. [NHL Video]
If you think what Buffalo is doing this season isn't hockey, they you will love this Vine of them playing soccer with the puck during a hockey game. Not with their feet, though, ho ho ho. [SB Nation]
Speaking of Buffalo, Anders Lindback made a valiant desperation save in what was ultimately another win for Ottawa's Hamburglar. Check out the save though. [SB Nation]
After Boston's cap-strapped-happenings last year, they've rewarded Reilly Smith for his patience, signing him to a two-year deal. Torey Krug also got a year's extension. [ESPN]
Player tracking could well arrive by next season. Chips in uniforms! A chip in the puck! Chips in the locker room, just for snackeroos! [SportsNet]
Finally, you will be having a laugh at the Southampton FC club as its players seek to make merry with feet a-blade. That wasn't even English. I don't know what I'm doing. I made a beet and radish salad for dinner Thursday. WATCH SOCCER PLAYERS TRY HOCKEY AND FALL DOWN: