News and notes from around the NHL this evening:
- Robin Lehner is coming to Buffalo Sabres’ camp 40lbs lighter than last season, according to Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald. The Swedish goaltender suffered a high ankle in the team’s opening night game last season and picked up bad habits that contributed to him weighing-in at 240lbs when he returned. Lehner was poised to be the Sabres starter last year before the injury. The Sabres paid a stiff price for him and David Legwand, sending the Ottawa Senators the 21st overall pick in the 2015 Entry Draft (Colin White) in return. Lehner underwent season-ending surgery in March last year to fix the lingering ankle injury, but feels 100% going into camp. He seems to be the clear #1 this year after Chad Johnson signed with Calgary. The Sabres acquired RFA Anders Nilsson from the Blues for a 5th round draft this offseason before re-signing him to a one-year, $1MM deal, but he is not expected to compete for the starting job.
- The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons offhandedly revealed that Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg had issues with head coach Mike Babcock while all three were with the Detroit Red Wings. Simmons stated that both players said in their end-of-season exit interviews that they would not re-sign if Mike Babcock remained. The tidbit’s veracity, however, is in question. Zetterberg signed his last contract in 2009, after the Red Wings lost in the Finals and one year removed from their own Stanley Cup victory, and that contract doesn’t expire until 2021. Datsyuk re-signed his contract at the end of the 2013 season—a contract that expires at the end of this year. It seems improbable that Zetterberg would opine about something far off in the future, or that Datsyuk would complain but re-sign anyways.
- Speaking of Henrik Zetterberg, the Detroit forward and Swedish veteran spoke to the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff about leaving the Swedish World Cup team this fall. Zetterberg suffered a knee injury and pulled out of the tournament earlier this month. He told Duff that he made the right decision because he could not expect to play through the injury and then arrive at Detroit’s camp in good health. Zetterberg is just one of many players this fall to pull out of the World Cup of Hockey as to not aggravate injuries and risk missing games in the NHL.