Save of the Night – Niklas Backstrom (February 5)

Aside from the occasional night off – or the even less common instance when a save or goal isn’t deemed worthy – the gang at PHT will decide which tally or stop is the best of any given night. Once those two winners are determined, we’ll share our reasoning (and most importantly, the video clip for each) in posts for your viewing pleasure.

When it comes to team-building strategies, it seems like teams like the Philadelphia Flyers opt for a risky (but often fruitful) tight-rope system that involves making small monetary investments in goalies. The logic is simple: by saving money in net, the team is able to surround those goalies with a superior supporting cast.

There was some time when that seemed like such a great plan that it made teams who went with the opposite approach (spending big on “proven” goalies to camouflage roster blemishes) look downright silly to me. Of course, further inspection shows that there are many ways to skin that cat, though. (Although if forced to choose one path, I’d follow the Flyers model.)

The Minnesota Wild might be the ultimate example of the opposite approach: both starter Niklas Backstrom ($6 million annual cap hit) and backup Jose Theodore ($1 million) are among the most expensive goalies in their categories. Every once and a while, the Wild really get what they pay for. It might look like a relatively simple save, but Backstrom’s pad stop was an example of world-class reflexes and anticipation. That stop earned the Wild’s $6 million man the Save of the Night for February 5th.

Derek Roy signs in Swiss league

Derek Roy, Jeremy Smith, Chris Kelly
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Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.

Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.

The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.

A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.

With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.

Lehner’s injury ‘doesn’t look like it’s short term’

Robin Lehner
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Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.

Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.

When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.

“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”

It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.

While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.