Will Jere Lehtinen return next season?

Lehts.jpgJere Lehtinen’s long, underrated career is coming to a close. The
Finnish right winger who exemplified defensive hockey for so long will
be 37 next season, and is currently playing on a one-year, $2.5 million
contract ($1.5 million base, $1 million in bonuses).

He’s had to
deal with injuries the past few seasons as his once reliable body has
started to break down, but there’s no question he still has the
leadership and skill needed to help teach a young team that defense is
just as important as offense.

If you’ve seen the Stars this
season, then you know that’s a lesson they need pounded into them.

Stars
coach Marc Crawford, for one, is hopeful that Lehtinen decides to come
back next season. From
Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News:


“I
think
Jere is still a very, very good player,” Crawford said. “The
guys who are smart players, who are hustling players, you don’t lose
those abilities. He has skating and instincts, and that just makes
him such a crucial player for us.

“He’s
terrific for teaching, he’s terrific to put on a line with young
players. We could actually use a few more players like him.”

It’s
not just a matter of whether Lehtinen wants to return; it’s also
whether general manager Joe Nieuwendyk sees him as a needed asset next
season and what he’s willing to pay. If $1.5 million was the contract
this season, then I’m guessing we’d see Nieuwendyk offer nothing more
than $1 million; after all, Lehtinen has just 3 goals this season and is
far from the 30+ goal scorer he was just a few years back.

Lehtinen
has played his entire career in Dallas, and I’m certainhe wants to join
Mike Modano as finishing it with the Stars as well. Just don’t expect
any decisions to be made anytime soon.

“We’ll talk in the
summer, but I can tell you that I am a big fan of Jere Lehtinen,”
Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk
said. “When he’s in the game, I think we’re a better team.”

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    Kopitar dominates with a hat trick to help Kings defeat Rangers in OT

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    Anze Kopitar received high praise from L.A. Kings coach Darryl Sutter following Friday’s win over the New York Rangers.

    All Kopitar did was score three goals on four shots on goal. He was also credited with five hits while winning 65 per cent of his faceoffs. His third goal of the evening with 30 seconds remaining in regulation pushed this game into overtime, where Tanner Pearson scored the winner for L.A. in a 5-4 victory.

    “It was Kopi’s best game of the season, that’s for sure,” said Sutter, as per LA Kings Insider.

    “Not just because he scored three goals, but it was his best game all around in terms of using his whole package. I mean, he was a pretty dominant player.”

    L.A. maintain an eight-point lead on the San Jose Sharks for the Pacific Division lead.

    The Kings’ victory came at a cost. Marian Gaborik left the game in the first period after being involved in an awkward collision. He did not return, and Sutter didn’t have an update on the veteran forward when the game ended.

    Video: P.K. Subban tossed after on-ice outburst toward officials

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    P.K. Subban was given a game misconduct on Friday after an outburst directed at officials in the final minute against the Buffalo Sabres.

    Subban was furious after the puck got caught up in the skates of the linesman in the neutral zone before Evander Kane then picked it up and scored into the open net. That put the Sabres up by two goals with 55 seconds remaining in regulation and ended any hopes of a Montreal comeback.

    Subban had some choice words for officials but his argument ultimately landed him with an early exit from this game. The Habs lost by a final score of 6-4.

    The Sabres scored four straight goals between the first and second periods, chasing Ben Scrivens from the net 1:28 into the second period.

     

    Video: Doan ties Hawerchuk for most points in Jets/Coyotes history

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    Shane Doan on Friday scored his 20th goal of the season, and tied a historical mark for the initial Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes franchise in the process.

    Doan scored in the first period against the Calgary Flames, tying him with Dale Hawerchuk for most points in Jets/Coyotes history with 929.

    Now 39 years old, Doan has spent his entire career with that organization, playing one season in Winnipeg before the organization moved to Phoenix.

    He also joined another impressive list, too.

    Leafs’ Corrado returns to Vancouver with a chip on his shoulder

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    Just as the Vancouver Canucks are once again struggling through injuries and with their depth on defense a constant question mark, Frank Corrado returns to town with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

    It’s a quick visit. The Leafs and Canucks do battle on Saturday, with the hosts wearing their famous ‘Flying Skate’ logo from the 1990s.

    But the return of Corrado with a different team provides a juicy storyline in Vancouver.

    The Canucks waived the 22-year-old defenseman in October.

    He was claimed by the Leafs, which ended his time in Vancouver when it previously started with promise and optimism.

    He quickly ascended as a prospect after being selected in the fifth round five years ago. But when training camp rolled around this season, Canucks GM Jim Benning was of the belief that Corrado had been passed in the depth chart by a few other defensemen in the system.

    The move has been criticized in Vancouver because the Canucks lost an asset — a 22-year-old right-shooting defenseman with potential — for nothing.

    Corrado had some interesting things to say about how his time in Vancouver eventually played out, as per Josh Clipperton of the Canadian Press.

    Two examples:

    Corrado has played 10 games for the Leafs this season, with three assists. He made his Leafs debut more than two months after being claimed.