Armed with a new head coach, the Dallas Stars can begin to get to work to fixing their team after the team failed to qualify for the playoffs despite a flurry of offseason moves last year. While, the team has many issues to deal with, one key area of need is finding a quality back-up goaltender.
The team is finally released from a five-year, $29.5MM deal it gave to eventual backup Kari Lehtonen. However, the $5.9MM AAV for a player who produced a 2.56 GAA and a .912 wasn’t worth it. On top of that, at age 34, the team needs a backup that can take over the workload for oft-injured starter Ben Bishop.
SportsDay’s Mike Heika writes there are several potential options for Dallas, but the best-case scenario would be for the Stars to chase Carter Hutton, who backed up Jake Allen last year. Hutton, who could easily fill in full-time in case Bishop gets hurt, could also be expensive as the 32-year-old veteran may hope to land a starting job somewhere. He was 17-7-3 last year with a 2.09 GAA in 32 games this past year in St. Louis. Other options would consist of Jonathan Bernier, Andrew Hammond, Michael Hutchinson and Anton Khudobin.
- While it may not come as a surprise, the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan reports that the NHL Department of Player Safety does not intend to have a hearing with Pittsburgh Penguins Jake Guentzel, who hit John Carlson during Saturday’s game against the Washington Capitals. Despite complaints from Capitals head coach Barry Trotz, Khurshudyan the league felt it was a full-body hit.
- With the season on the line, The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz (subscription required) writes that while San Jose Sharks’ trade deadline acquisition Evander Kane has been highly successful since coming over from Buffalo, that hasn’t been the case during the team’s second-round series against the Vegas Golden Knights. Kane has scored just one point in the series and the team will need them to pull off a two-game sweep to advance to the conference finals. Kurz wonders whether Kane’s health has been an issue as he has skipped the morning skate for both of the team’s last two games.
- Chicago Blackhawks prospect Maxim Shalunov has been improving steadily in the KHL and the 2011 fourth-round prospect is looking more interesting, but The Athletic’s Scott Powers (subscription required) writes that the 25-year-old is still two years away from reaching Chicago after he signed a three-year extension to remain in the KHL last offseason. As Shalunov has developed in Russia, he’s also received more attention recently from the Russian national team and while he didn’t get the invitation to the Olympics that he was hoping for, he did get the invite to play in the World Championships.