Agent: Marty Turco will have a home in the NHL this year


Thumbnail image for 1-turco.jpgIf you’ve been wondering what’s going on with free agent goalie Marty Turco you’re not alone. The quiet and mostly sad market for free agent goalies this season is one that’s chased Evgeni Nabokov back home to Russia, Jose Theodore into hiding and Antti Niemi off to an arbitration hearing that may end up making him expendable. Marty Turco’s agent Kurt Overhardt isn’t worried though. In fact, as the Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika found out, Overhardt is downright excited about Turco’s future.

Kurt Overhardt chuckled when I asked if he is worried that Marty Turco might not end up with a place to sit in this free agent game of musical chairs.

“You’re the second guy to ask me that exact same question in that exact same manner,” said the agent for Turco. “The answer is no.”

Overhardt is confident that something will get done in the 7-10 days and that Turco, the all-time Stars win leader who was not offered a contract extension, will be on a contending team.

“He will be on a contender, he will be the starter and he will get a chance to show everbody the kind of goalie he has been throughout his career and will continue to be,” Overhardt said.

Overhardt is so confident that he even says that there’s three teams in play for the former Stars goalie. The questions now remain as to just who these contending teams are. One of them could be Philadelphia who, at the moment, appears set to run with the two-headed monster of Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton in goal testing the theory that you don’t need a big name goalie to win.

Another team that could be in play is Chicago depending on what happens with Antti Niemi’s arbitration case. If the Hawks are forced to either walk away from Niemi or deal him elsewhere because of his arbitration reward, it could be possible that the Blackhawks sign an experienced veteran goalie at a reduced rate to fill out their ranks.

Assuming that those are two of the possible destinations, what could the magic third team be? Just for the sake of thinking out loud here and basing these ideas on nothing else but idle speculation here’s my short list of possibilities: San Jose, Montreal, Ottawa, Nashville.

San Jose because a tandem of Antero Niittymaki and Thomas Greiss inspires little hope. Montreal as a fail safe option in case things with Carey Price get too ridiculous. Alex Auld is always expendable. Ottawa because Pascal Leclaire and Brian Elliott run extremely hot and cold and Turco would provide stability. Nashville because Pekka Rinne is their only experienced goaltender and he did well in splitting time with Dan Ellis last year. Again, that’s just idle chatter from my own mind and is based on nothing at all logical. Feel free to share your thoughts of how much I don’t know in the comments.

Replacing Beauchemin with Bieksa hasn’t worked out so great for Anaheim

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Are the Anaheim Ducks missing Francois Beauchemin more than they thought they might?

It’s a question we’ve been hearing more and more lately, as the Ducks’ goal-scoring woes of October have been replaced by defensive issues in November.

Anaheim is 3-4-2 in its last nine games. The Ducks have allowed 27 goals in regulation during that stretch — that’s three per game on average — plus two more in a pair of overtime losses.

In a related story, per the O.C. Register, here’s what coach Bruce Boudreau said the other day about offseason acquisition Kevin Bieksa:

“He’s a veteran guy that has to fight his way out of this. We count on him to not make mistakes. We will go as far as guys like him take us.”

Bieksa, 34, is minus-7 in his last four games combined. True, he’s forced to play a lot of hard minutes against good players. But then, that’s exactly what he was brought in to do. The Ducks even gave him a two-year, $8 million extension, locking him up through 2017-18.

Now consider what Boudreau said during last year’s playoff run, about the guy Bieksa was brought in to replace:

“He’s the voice. Everybody else is so young. [He] is the voice back there.”

And Beauchemin was more than just a talker. He led the Ducks in ice time. He had nine assists in 16 playoff games. Bottom line: he was a big part of a team that fell one win shy of making the Stanley Cup Final.

Beauchemin, of course, signed a three-year deal with Colorado on July 1, for a cap hit of $4.5 million. So far, he’s been as advertised for the Avs. The 35-year-old has two goals and 10 assists. He gets the most ice time on the team, an average of 23:33.

Looking back, Anaheim GM Bob Murray never did want to lose Beauchemin. The Ducks just weren’t prepared to offer what the Avs did.

“Beauch’ has been a pretty good warrior for us,” Murray said in June. “He has a one-time chance for free agency and maybe somebody will give him $5 million.… I couldn’t do that.”

One has to wonder now if Murray wishes he’d found a way.

The Ducks host the Blackhawks tonight on NBCSN.

Devils sign veteran Kennedy to one-year, $600K deal

Tyler Kennedy, Lee Stempniak
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A second forward has converted a PTO with New Jersey into a shiny new contract.

Tyler Kennedy, who’s on his second professional tryout with the club, has agreed to a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level, the Devils announced on Friday.

Kennedy, 29, first caught on with the Devils in the preseason, only to be released in early October. He then rejoined the club on a second PTO in mid-November, and earned himself a deal from GM Ray Shero (previously, the two were together in the Pittsburgh organization).

A former 20-goal scorer with the Pens, Kennedy fell on hard times last year. It began in San Jose — where he never fit in Todd McLellan’s plans — and ended on Long Island, where he sat for over half of the Isles’ opening-round playoff loss to the Caps.

As for where he’ll fit in the Devils lineup?

Kennedy said he’s ready to play tonight — the Devils take on Montreal — and it’s possible Stefan Matteau could be scratched, allowing Kennedy to stpe into a bottom-six forward role.

As for how the Devils will free a roster spot — Jiri Tlusty remains on IR with a shoulder issue, while David Schlemko could be away from the club for a bit, as his wife is due to give birth.

Rangers park Boyle, Stalberg in press box for Thanksgiving Showdown

Washington Capitals v New York Rangers - Game Seven
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I’m not going to make the “it really is Black Friday for Dan Boyle and Viktor Stalberg” joke, but had to recognize it as a semi-viable lede.

So that’s out of the way.

Now, onto the business at hand — per the New York Daily News, Boyle and Stalberg will be scratched today when the Rangers take on the Bruins in the annual Thanksgiving Showdown (1 p.m. ET, NBC). Dylan McIlrath will draw in on defense for Boyle, while Emerson Etem will take Stalberg’s spot up front.

It’s not really surprising Alain Vigneault made some lineup changes.

The Blueshirts’ last outing was arguably their worst of the season — a 5-1 home loss to the Canadiens, a game in which Boyle finished minus-2 and Stalberg played the least among all Rangers skaters, with just 11:20 TOI.

More: Dan Boyle isn’t thrilled with all these healthy scratches

What’s more, McIlrath hasn’t played in nearly two weeks (Nov. 15, versus Toronto). It’s been even longer for Etem — he’s been out of the lineup since a win over the Blues on Nov. 12.

Related: Just a friendly reminder about Friday’s Bruins-Rangers Thanksgiving Showdown, on NBC

Goal-starved Flyers recall AHL Phantoms leading scorer Cousins

Nazem Kadri

Desperate for offense, Philly made a fairly noteworthy move on Friday — Nick Cousins has been brought up from the minors.

Cousins, 22, has been a solid scorer at the AHL level in each of the last two seasons. He led Lehigh Valley with 56 points in 64 games in ’14-15 and, this year, has 18 through 15 — putting him in a tie for seventh in league scoring.

The former OHL Sault Ste. Marie standout does have some NHL experience, having played 11 games for the Flyers last season. He averaged just under nine minutes per game over that span, and failed to register a point.

Looking ahead, Cousins could make his season debut today, when Philly hosts the Preds. Right now it’s unclear where he’d fit in the lineup.

To make room for Cousins on the roster, the Flyers sent Taylor Leier down to the Phantoms.