A logjam of talented goalies has forced Anaheim into an eyebrow-raising move.
Frederik Andersen, the rookie ‘tender that’s started his NHL career with a 6-1-0 record, has been reassigned to AHL Norfolk to make room for Viktor Fasth, who declared himself fit to return from injury and will back up Jonas Hiller tonight in Tampa Bay.
Andersen, 24, was named the NHL’s second star last week and boasts some truly spectacular numbers — 1.66 GAA, .943 save percentage and a signature win against Vancouver on Sunday, stopping a career-high 35 shots in a 3-1 victory.
Such play would normally earn goalies an extended look in the NHL, but Anaheim doesn’t exactly have a normal goalie situation.
Hiller and Fasth are the organization’s top-two netminders and sending either to the minors would mean having to clear waivers (much to the delight of Edmonton, probably.) The Ducks could carry all three, but that would likely come at the expense of Andersen, who doesn’t have a ton of experience playing in North America and could use as much playing time as possible — even if it’s in the American League.
It’s also worth noting Anaheim has a fourth goalie in this mix: John Gibson, the 39th overall pick at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. He beat out Ben Bishop for Team USA’s No. 1 gig at last year’s World Championships, a stellar performance spurred his former OHL Kitchener goalie coach to remark that Gibson “is ready for the NHL right now.”
The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.
You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:
If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.
The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?