Leafs coach Ron Wilson made it crystal clear that both Jonas Gustavsson and Ben Scrivens are not the answer they’re looking for in a backup goalie in Toronto. With James Reimer still out dealing with a whiplash-like injury, it’s been on those two to stop pucks. In their last few games they’ve done anything but that.
So what now? With Reimer’s status still up in the air as to when he’s getting back, the backup issue is going to stay terrible and isn’t changing without a trade being worked out. Marty Turco is readily available as a free agent but he wouldn’t do anything to fix the problem. Brian Burke does have a couple of teams he could talk to about a deal though.
Florida has a glut of useful goaltending at the top with Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen with Clemmensen being the guy most likely to be moved. Clemmensen has just one year left on his deal and with Jacob Markstrom back in the AHL for the time being and with a future as their eventual top guy, Clemmensen is just the guy holding things down in the mean time. Dale Tallon and Brian Burke working on a trade has the potential to be explosively glorious.
If that doesn’t tickle their fancy there’s always the Islanders. The Isles are rolling with Rick DiPietro, Al Montoya, and Evgeni Nabokov in goal and Nabokov is the guy most readily available to move. Nabokov isn’t a permanent solution but would likely improve their backup situation dramatically and give Ron Wilson a guy he’s more than familiar with from his days in San Jose. Only question here is what it would take to get Garth Snow to move Nabokov. It won’t be cheap.
One way or another, Burke has a move to make here to keep the Leafs riding high all season. Backup goalie is a huge Achilles Heel for this team and they’ll need a fix sooner than later.
Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp
It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.
Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.
He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.
Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.
The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension
The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.
It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.
Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.