Today’s Starting Goalies – November 27th (early edition)

Whether you’re interested for fantasy hockey reasons or just want to know which goalie your team is playing in a given day, we thought it might be helpful to share our best guesses (based on various previews from newspapers and Web sites plus our own instincts) on who might start each day. Here’s what’s on tap for this afternoon’s starts. We’ll get you tonight’s starting goalies later today. We’ll also update this post when starters are confirmed.

7:00 PM ET games

Toronto @ Ottawa

Likely Toronto starter: Jonas Gustavsson (Source.)

Likely Ottawa starter: Brian Elliott – Pascal Leclaire played last afternoon and lost against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but certainly made a case for himself being part of the rotation again. This is a good chance for Elliott to remain relevant. (Source.)

Buffalo @ Montreal

Likely Buffalo starter: Ryan Miller – Hopefully the Sabres aren’t pushing him too far with back-to-back starts. (Source.)

Likely Montreal starter: Carey Price – After Alexander Auld lost yesterday, it’s no surprise Price will start after getting a brief rest. (Source.)

7:30 pm ET game

Florida @ Tampa Bay

Likely Florida starter: Tomas Vokoun – After Scott Clemmensen lost in the last game, I’d say that Vokoun is the odds-on favorite to start tonight.

Likely Tampa Bay starter: Dan Ellis – Mike Smith got pulled from last night’s start against the Capitals, so I think Ellis should get the nod.

8:00 pm ET games

Dallas @ St. Louis

Likely Dallas starter: Kari Lehtonen – Lehtonen is one of those goalies who will get back-to-back starts frequently. (Source.)

Likely St. Louis starter: Jaroslav Halak – Sadly, your guess is as good as mine with this one.

Anaheim @ Phoenix

Likely Anaheim starter: Jonas Hiller – Much like Halak, I’m not quite sure if this one is too dependable, but it’s my best guess.

Likely Phoenix starter: Ilya Bryzgalov – The Coyotes are on a winning streak, had a nice break and play this one at home. It would be a letdown if Breezy didn’t come out victorious. (Source.)

NY Rangers @ Nashville

Likely Rangers starter: Henrik Lundqvist – This is yet another one that could go either way, with Hank starting last night, but he earned a shutout and looked great in the process so I’d lean toward him.

Likely Nashville starter: Pekka Rinne – I feel like a bit of a broken record here, but this one is a coin flip too. Rinne only played one period before being pulled for Anders Lindback last night.

9:00 PM ET game

Minnesota @ Colorado

Likely Minnesota starter: Niklas Backstrom (Source.)

Likely Colorado starter: Peter Budaj – With Craig Anderson hurt again, Budaj should receive most of the starts for the time being. (Source.)

10:00 PM ET game

San Jose @ Edmonton

Likely San Jose starter: Antero Niittymaki – This isn’t a guarantee either (sigh) but chances are quite good that he will play after Antti Niemi allowed six goals against Vancouver on Saturday. (Source.)

Likely Edmonton starter: Devan Dubnyk – The Oilers might be able to get something going, at least on a small scale, if they win tonight. (Source.)

10:30 PM ET game

Chicago @ Los Angeles

Likely Chicago starter: Corey Crawford (Source.)

Likely Los Angeles starter: Jonathan Quick (Source.)

Want previews of today’s games? Click here.

Islanders’ D getting crowded with four-year deal for Adam Pelech

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If nothing else, quantity probably won’t be much of an issue for the New York Islanders’ defense in 2017-18.

GM Garth Snow locked down another blueliner on Monday, as he signed Adam Pelech to a four-year contract. The deal is worth $1.6 million per season ($6.4M overall), according to Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

Pelech, 22, played 44 games at the NHL level in 2016-17, collecting 10 points and struggling from an analytics standpoint. He also appeared in nine games with the Islanders in 2015-16.

Staple notes that this could make for a logjam – or, to put a positive spin on it, make for a lot of competition – particularly if the Isles can strike a deal with Calvin de Haan soon. If that pans out, they’d have eight defensemen who would need to go through waivers.

On the bright side, the Islanders’ defense looks respectable on paper, and that’s assuming that Pelech doesn’t take a step forward. If he does, this could be another respectable, under-the-radar move by Snow.

At the moment, it mainly seems like adding depth and flexibility, which isn’t the worst thing, either.

Plenty of opportunity on revamped Blackhawks defense

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For almost a decade, Niklas Hjalmarsson was a mainstay on the Blackhawks’ back end, quietly providing some of the most effective defense in the league.

But with Hjalmarsson in Arizona now, traded to the Coyotes for the younger-though-less-proven Connor Murphy, it remains to be seen how Chicago’s blue line will roll out next season.

In addition to Hjalmarsson, the ‘Hawks also bid adieu to Brian Campbell, Johnny Oduya, and Trevor van Riemsdyk this offseason.

Add up all the good-byes, and that’s a lot of minutes to replace.

“We’re going to see when we’re putting the pairs together, whether we’re going to reunite [Duncan Keith] and [Brent Seabrook] or look for some balance,” head coach Joel Quenneville said, per CSN Chicago. “There are a lot of options. We’ll look forward to that and sorting it out.”

The way it looks right now, the top four will be comprised of Keith, Seabrook, Murphy, and Michal Kempny. That’s two left shots — Keith and Kempny — and two righties — Seabrook and Murphy.

Read more: After major changes, Bowman thinks Blackhawks are in ‘good spot’

The bottom pairing, though, is anyone’s guess. Newly signed Czech defenseman Jan Rutta is in the mix. But so too are Jordan Oesterle, Gustav Forsling, Ville Pokka, Erik Gustafsson, Viktor Svedberg, and possibly even Luc Snuggerud.

Once training camp starts, it’ll be up to those young players to prove themselves.

“Just the amount of opportunity that is in front of me just drives me even more,” said Oesterle, whom the ‘Hawks signed July 1. “I want to be here and force their hand to keep me here.”

Veteran Michal Rozsival is also under contract for next season. However, he turns 39 in September, and with all that youth champing at the bit, the Blackhawks will be hoping they won’t need him much, if at all.

Chicago’s defense in 2016-17, ranked by total time on ice

Sheary’s agent — who’s also Dumoulin’s agent — hoping to avoid arbitration

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Conor Sheary‘s agent is hopeful that an arbitration hearing won’t be needed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And that same agent has reason to be optimistic, since he’s also the agent for Brian Dumoulin, who settled at the last minute today.

“Each (case) is so different,” Andrew Gross told the Post-Gazette this morning. “Ultimately, though, team and player would like to avoid going in that room. It’s not a pleasant experience.”

Sheary’s hearing isn’t scheduled until Aug. 4. The 25-year-old forward is coming off a 53-point regular season. In his young NHL career, he’s already won two Stanley Cups.

That said, the Penguins can’t afford to break the bank on an extension. After all, a big reason for their success has been having players like Sheary on affordable deals — a necessity with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Kris Letang taking up so much cap space.

Sheary wasn’t all that productive in the 2017 playoffs either, scoring just two goals with five assists in 22 games, while finishing a team-worst minus-5 for the postseason.

“We’re prepared to go to arbitration,” Pens GM Jim Rutherford said last week.

Of course, Rutherford was also speaking about Dumoulin, and the two sides were able to reach an agreement on him.

You can probably expect a similar outcome with Sheary.

Just don’t bet the house on it.

Preds avoid arbitration with Austin Watson

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Another narrowly avoided arbitration to pass along.

The Nashville Predators have signed forward Austin Watson to a three-year, $3.3 million contract that will pay him $1 million next season, $1.1 million in 2018-19 and $1.2 million in 2019-20.

Watson’s hearing was scheduled for today.

From the press release:

Watson, 25 (1/13/92), set career highs in goals (5), assists (7), points (12), penalty minutes (99) and games played (77) during the 2016-17 season as he established himself as an integral member of the Nashville roster. The 6-foot-4, 204-pound winger then added four goals and nine points in 22 postseason contests as the Predators advanced to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. Watson also appeared in 57 games for the Predators during the 2015-16 season, recording three goals and 10 points.

The Pittsburgh Penguins also avoided an arbitration hearing today by signing defenseman Brian Dumoulin to a six-year contract.