With the trade of goaltender Steve Mason this morning to open up some cap space, the Winnipeg Jets find themselves with a sudden hole in their lineup as the team no longer has a viable backup goaltender behind starter Connor Hellybuyck. Their top goalie out of the AHL, Michael Hutchinson, is already an unrestricted free agent and likely to move on, while the next in line is Eric Comrie, who has a total of four NHL games to his name.
That will force the cap-saving Jets to find a cheap solution on the free agent market. A few days behind in the recruiting market, many of those backup options are already off the board, such as Carter Hutton (Buffalo), Jonathan Bernier (Detroit) and Cam Ward (Chicago).
The Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe writes there are options out there, suggesting the team look at some under-the-radar goaltenders who struggled a year ago. Tops on his list is former Buffalo Sabres netminder Chad Johnson, who struggled last year in Buffalo with a 3.55 and a .891 save percentage. However, the 32-year-old was behind one of the worst defenses in the league, while the Jets’ offense could easily protect Johnson better.
- Sean Shapiro of The Athletic writes that extension talks between the Dallas Stars and Tyler Seguin can’t even start until after John Tavares signs a contract and sets the market. Whatever Tavares gets will be the starting point for negotiations between the two parties. Seguin, who is eligible to sign an extension starting tomorrow, put up a career-high 40 goals for the Stars. However, the 26-year-old can also opt to become a free agency next year in a similar fashion to what Tavares is doing now. Dallas has made it clear they want to lock the center up long-term.
- Former Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen and current unrestricted free agent could be an interesting watch, according to Fox Sports Andy Strickland. The 34-year-old backup was interested in joining the Boston Bruins as a backup to Tuuka Rask, but now doesn’t seem likely. While there has been some interest from some Western Conference teams, he could choose to retire if the right opportunity doesn’t present itself. Lehtonen finished last season with a pedestrian 2.56 GAA and a .912 save percentage as a backup for the Stars.
- The Athletic’s Michael Russo writes the Minnesota Wild have had conversations with free agent center Eric Fehr. The 32-year-old veteran had trouble cracking the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup this year and was eventually traded to the San Jose Sharks for a 2020 seventh-round pick, but made an impression centering the team’s fourth line. He put up three goals in 14 games and played in 10 playoff games. The scribe also writes that he doubts Fehr ends up in Minnesota.
- Despite rumors that the Vancouver Canucks were closing in on an agreement with unrestricted free agent center Jay Beagle yesterday, Rick Dhaliwal of Sportsnet reports that the market for Beagle is increasing and driving up his pricetag. Vancouver remains quite interested in signing the veteran and are very, very much in the race to acquire him.