Not sure how many of you stayed up to watch last night’s Stars-Oilers game in Edmonton. Those that did saw a first-star performance from Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen, who really has to be the most underrated netminder in the NHL.
Lehtonen’s 22-save shutout in the Stars’ 3-0 victory bumped his save percentage up to .932. While he’s far from the only regular starter off to an excellent start to the season…
…it doesn’t seem like he gets the attention he deserves.
Maybe that’s because of the market he plays in. Or maybe it’s because he’s signed through 2017-18 so there’s no contract speculating to do. Or maybe it’s because the 29-year-old has been doing what he’s doing for so long that it’s not really a story anymore.
In 393 NHL games, Lehtonen has a save percentage of .915. Among active goalies with at least 10,000 career saves, only Tim Thomas (.921), Henrik Lundqvist (.920), Roberto Luongo (.919) and Tomas Vokoun (.917) have stopped a higher percentage of shots.
That’s pretty good company. Maybe we should talk about the guy a bit more.
Only four goalies have a .914+ save percentage in each of last four years: Lundqvist, Rask, Miller and Lehtonen. Consistency.
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.