Stars close to contract extension with Kari Lehtonen

Lehtonen.jpgMike
Heika of the Dallas Morning News is reporting this morning
that the
Dallas Stars are close to a 3-year contract extension with goaltender
Kari Lehtonen.

Lehtonen, a restricted free agent, needed a
qualifying offer that at least matched his $3 million salary from last
season. With a three-year extension, the Stars would more than meet that
requirement and have their goaltender future locked up for the
foreseeable future.

While some thought that the Stars might give
Lehtonen just a one-year deal, it was expected that after Lehtonen
proved himself more than capable in the final months of the season that
they would go for a longer commitment.

If the deal is worth
anywhere in the $3 to $3.5 million per year range, then the Stars will
have a bit more room to try a land a defenseman free agent this summer.
Despite the team being up for sale, a sale that hopefully is finalized
before the season starts, the Stars are still operating under a tight
budget that falls somewhere around $10 million under the salary cap.

The
next question is what the Stars might do for a backup. Matt Climie and
Brent Krahn, their two goaltenders in the AHL, are both set to become
unrestricted free agents this summer.

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    Video: Flyers’ Read (upper-body injury) will not return versus Predators

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    Philadelphia Flyers forward Matt Read is done for the night with an upper-body injury, the team announced.

    Read, who only played three shifts today, was hit into the net by Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg during the first period. Flyers GM Ron Hextall announced the veteran forward suffered an upper-body injury.

    There was no call on the play.

    In 26 games this season, Read has six goals and 10 points.

    Video: Radulov goes top shelf in the shootout and it’s pretty sweet

    MONTREAL, QC - NOVEMBER 08:  Alexander Radulov #47 of the Montreal Canadiens looks on during the warmup prior to the NHL game against the Boston Bruins at the Bell Centre on November 8, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Boston Bruins 3-2.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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    Alexander Radulov has been a pretty good acquisition for the Montreal Canadiens, and he continued to prove that Sunday against the L.A. Kings.

    Radulov scored in the shootout against the Kings, helping the Canadiens to a 5-4 victory. He also scored in the second period and had two assists for a three-point night. Not bad.

    But his shootout goal was sweet. Just made it look easy, as he went to the backhand, top shelf on Peter Budaj.

    With reported tension between coach Michel Therrien and Max Pacioretty, the Habs captain scored twice and had an assist. Another three-point night.

    So, the Habs got offensive contributions from their best players.

    That said, one of their best players, Alex Galchenyuk left the game late in the third period after a collision with Anze Kopitar away from the puck.

    Galchenyuk didn’t return for the overtime. In 25 games, he has nine goals and 23 points, emerging as the No. 1 center in Montreal when the season began.

    The Toews injury isn’t getting better, so Chicago’s captain will sit versus Jets

    NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 28:  Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on October 28, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    The Blackhawks face the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday, and they’ll do so without captain Jonathan Toews.

    Toews will miss a fifth straight game because of a reported back injury.

    On Sunday, per CSN Chicago, coach Joel Quenneville provided an update, saying the Blackhawks forward will now be kept off the ice for the next few days because the injury essentially isn’t getting any better.

    The Blackhawks are coming off a 3-1 road loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday, and they’re going through a difficult time with injuries to key players. Not only is Toews out, but goalie Corey Crawford has been sidelined for two to three weeks after undergoing an appendectomy.

    Scott Darling will start in net tonight for Chicago, which has a three-point lead in the Central Division.

    The Jets will be without their top point producer Mark Scheifele for a second straight game with a lower-body injury, per NHL.com.

    Buffalo’s depth on defense is dwindling

    BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 18:  Josh Gorges #4 of the Buffalo Sabres skates against the Boston Bruins at First Niagara Center on October 18, 2014 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jen Fuller/Getty Images)
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    The Buffalo Sabres aren’t known for their depth on defense, so when they have to deal with injuries at that position, things can get complicated.

    Well…I guess things are about to get complicated.

    On Sunday, the Sabres announced that Josh Gorges (pictured) will miss “weeks” because of a non-displaced fracture in his foot. The injury occurred after he blocked a shot in Thursday’s game against the Rangers.

    Besides Gorges, Buffalo is also without Zach Bogosian and Dmitry Kulikov.

    Bogosian has been out since Nov. 3 with sprained ligaments in his knee, and he’s still 10-to-14 days away from getting back into the lineup.

    The news is a little better for Kulikov, who returned to practice on Sunday. He’s missed 11 games because of a back injury he suffered in the preseason. He tried playing through it, but obviously he was still in some discomfort.

    “Kulikov has now skated two days with some physicality and now been skating for seven days,” coach Dan Bylsma said, per the Buffalo News. “Hopefully, that means we’ll see him in practice soon – in the next week hopefully.”

    Now, some of the replacements for these guys are starting to get hurt.

    Taylor Fedun missed Sunday’s practice and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to play against the Capitals on Monday night. If he can’t go, Buffalo will need to call someone up from the minors.

    Things got so wacky last week that the Sabres called up Brendan Guhle from junior on an emergency basis. By rule, he can stay on the roster as long as he keeps playing. Once he stops playing, the emergency tag is removed and he has to go back to his junior team.

    Guhle, Rasmus Ristolainen, Jake McCabe, Cody Franson and Justin Falk are the healthy defensemen on the roster right now.