Curtis Sanford

Sanford off to KHL, goaltending market continues to thin out


According to Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, Blue Jackets backup netminder Curtis Sanford has signed with Lokomotiv of the KHL.

“Not a back-up plan,” is how Sanford described the move.

He’ll be joining a Lokomotiv team looking to rebuild after last year’s plane crash tragedy that killed 25 roster players and 11 team staff members. (Ex-NHLers signed on for next year include Viktor Kozlov, Staffan Kronwall, and Vitaly Vishnevsky.)

Sanford’s decision to leave the NHL is a bit curious given how effectively he returned last season after a two-year hiatus. The 32-year-old appeared in 36 games for Columbus posting a 10-18-4 record with a .911 save percentage and 2.60 GAA — the W-L record was an eyesore, but he did play well in stretches, was named Columbus’ Masterton Trophy nominee and even got a Tuesday Tire Pump (remember that?) out of the deal.

The larger picture, however, is what the move does to an already svelte goaltending market. In the past 48 hours we’ve seen Tim Thomas go on sabbatical, Tomas Vokoun sign in Pittsburgh and Sanford bolt to Russia. That leaves the UFA goalie list highlighted by the likes of Jonas Gustavsson, Scott Clemmensen, Johan Hedberg, Josh Harding, Dwayne Rolson, Martin Biron and Chris Mason.

Torres suspended pending hearing

Raffi Torres, Cory Schneider
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According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.

The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.

Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.

“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”



Oilers place Scrivens on waivers

Jordan Martinook, Ben Scrivens
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The Edmonton Oilers placed Ben Scrivens on waivers on Sunday.

Should he go unclaimed, the 29-year-old will be sent to the American Hockey League.

It looks like Edmonton will enter the regular season with Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson as their goaltenders.

Scrivens was the team’s number one goalie last year, but his overall numbers were among the worst for starting goaltenders in the NHL.

He had a 15-26-11 record with a 3.16 goals-against-average and a .890 save percentage in 57 games last season.

Scrivens is scheduled to make $2.3 million in the final year of his contract.

If he does end up in the AHL, the Oilers will carry $1.35 million of dead money on the salary cap.

The move comes one day after Edmonton placed Nikita Nikitin on waivers.

The 29-year-old officially cleared on Sunday afternoon.