For a little while there, it looked like Dwayne Roloson was straightening things out.
He reeled off a three-game winning streak a couple weeks ago, but aside from a 4-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins last Thursday, things have been looking ugly again. The Toronto Maple Leafs handed another Southeast Division team a 7-1 loss, and much like the Washington Capitals, such an embarrassing defeat makes you wonder if there are some rumblings for change in Tampa Bay.
For many, that might start with Roloson. There would be some symmetry to that idea since Lightning GM Steve Yzerman brought Rollie the Goalie in during a similar moment last season; the Bolts needed a boost in net and Stevie Y didn’t hesitate.
This time around, it might be about bolstering that defense, though. Victor Hedman hasn’t progressed as well as they hoped, Mattias Ohlund is injured and the rest of the D corps is flawed at best. The problem is that there aren’t a ton of great defensemen floating around the trading block right now, so the change might have to come from within. (Or maybe Yzerman should bring in another new goalie.)
What would you do if you were in Yzerman’s shoes, though?
Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.
Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.
The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.
The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.
Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.
Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.
Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.
Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.
“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.
“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”
The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.
He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.