Johan Hedberg will (or at least should) always hold a special place in the hearts of Penguins fans as “The Moose” came out of nowhere to help the team make a deep playoff run during Mario Lemieux’s amazing comeback from retirement. Despite that Cinderella run, though, Hedberg has just been a borderline NHL goalie since then.
That being said, he developed a reputation for being a team-first guy who also happened to really step his game up once the Atlanta Thrashers gave him a No.1 starter-type workload late last season. He put together a career-best 91.5 save percentage and 2.62 GAA while playing 47 games, the most he’s played in since dressing in 66 during the 2001-02 campaign.
The Devils hope that Hedberg can spell Martin Brodeur without pulling the team out of contention in those games, much like the New York Rangers did by signing Martin Biron to give Henrik Lundqvist a breather.
While Hedberg had a nice run with the Atlanta Thrashers, I think you should look to his career numbers as the greatest indicator of his future production. He has a career 90 percent save percentage – practically the definition of “average” – although the Devils occasionally help a normal goalie put together unexpectedly productive seasons. (Just look at career minor leaguer-turned-overpaid-Panthers-backup Scott Clemmensen.)
The Devils are tied for the third most back-to-back games in 10-11 with 20, so having a decent backup like Hedberg could really improve their chances of remaining a fixture in the Atlantic division. If Hedberg’s good enough to allow Brodeur to drop down to a more reasonable 60 games played range, he might even (indirectly) help the Devils recover from their recent bout of playoff letdowns.
Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp
It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.
Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.
He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.
Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.
The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension
The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.
It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.
Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.