Justin Pogge

Phoenix Coyotes add goalie depth by signing Justin Pogge to one-year, two-way deal

With Ilya Bryzgalov out of the fold, Mike Smith in place as the starter and Jason LaBarbera signed as the backup, the Phoenix Coyotes’ short-term goaltending future is clear. What’s not so clear is how effective that duo will be.

While this signing won’t ease those concerns, the Coyotes added a little depth to their netminding ranks by signing Justin Pogge to a one-year, two-way deal. The team didn’t disclose how much the deal is worth, but Cap Geek’s numbers indicate that it might be worth about $575K if he plays at the NHL level and $80K if he remains in his most likely place in the AHL.

Pogge earned seven games of NHL experience with the Toronto Maple Leafs (going 1-4-1 with an awful .844 save percentage and 4.35 GAA in 2008-09), but it’s likely that he’s pretty low on the Coyotes totem pole. Curtis McElhinney is almost certainly higher on the depth chart and Mark Visentin could be their goalie of the future. Pogge probably just wants to find a stable hockey home after being traded in August 2009 by the Maple Leafs and March 2010 by the Anaheim Ducks. He spent last season playing for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers (the Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate).

The Arizona Republic lays out his overall body of work in the AHL.

In five AHL seasons with the Checkers, Toronto Marlies, San Antonio Rampage and Albany River Rats, the 25-year-old native of Fort McMurray, Alberta, played in 217 games, posting a 106-81-20 record with eight shutouts, a 2.69 GAA and a .909 SV%.

Sabres place Lehner on IR; Recall Lieuwen

Connor Brown, Robin Lehner
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They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.

The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.

In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.

The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.

Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.

The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).

McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.



Chara ‘doubtful’ for game against rival Canadiens

Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.

Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.

Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.

“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”

Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: