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Predators add J.P. Dumont to the buyout bin

The bone-dry ranks of unrestricted free agent defensemen received an interesting boost once it became clear that Sheldon Souray’s flamethrower slap shot, Mike Commodore’s ruggedness/red afro and Cam Barker’s untapped potential will be added to the mix.

After possibly adding a big chunk of unrestricted free agents to the market on accident thanks to their Dale Tallon-esque qualifying offer issues, the Nashville Predators actually intentionally added one of their players to the unrestricted free agent ranks today. The Predators bought out forward J.P. Dumont, breaking down the $4 million salary from the last year of his contract into a $1.3 million cap hit in both 2011-12 and 12-13.

Dumont could be an interesting gamble for another NHL team (wait for it …) if the price is right. His hot-and-cold game went frigid in 2010-11 as he only scored 19 points in 70 games while averaging a bit more than 11 minutes per night. After peaking in Nashville in 06-07 (66 points), 07-08 (a career-high 72) and 08-09 (65 points), Dumont’s game kept dropping the last two seasons. He went from 45 points in 09-10 to that abysmal 19-point showing in 10-11.

Still, some teams might look at that not-too-long-ago run and wonder if he might be productive on a more offense-first squad. Much like Souray, Dumont doesn’t work at his inflated salary but he might be considered an interesting piece if he keeps his economic goals reasonable. He’s probably a more enticing buyout-turned-free-agent than banged up center Chris Drury, if nothing else.

It’s an understandable move by the Predators, but times could be really tough if the NHLPA’s grievance ends up giving them some serious free agent headaches. Stay tuned for the resolution to that and many other issues during this off-season.

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT


Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
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You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
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There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)