I’ve never done this goalie nods thing before. Usually that’s up to Halford, but he’s busy talking fashion on Twitter. So what do I do? Just say who’s playing the position of goalie tonight in the NHL? I can do that.
Let’s start with the Penguins-Leafs game. For Pittsburgh, it’ll be Marc-Andre Fleury, who goes back in net after Jeff Zatkoff got the job done Saturday in Detroit. For Toronto, it’ll be Jonathan Bernier, who was in goal for the Leafs’ 7-3 victory over Chicago on Saturday. Maybe James Reimer will get the nod tomorrow versus Florida. His last outing was a rough one, getting pulled after allowing three goals on 15 shots versus the Blues. Though to be fair to Reimer, his teammates were “brain-dead.”
Moving on to Winnipeg-Columbus, in which it’ll be Al Montoya for the Jets and Mike McKenna for the Jackets. Montoya gets the start over Ondrej Pavelec, who’s struggled in December after a solid November. Pavelec is signed through 2016-17 for a cap hit of $3.9 million. Not the greatest contract on the Jets’ books, given the 26-year-old’s career save percentage is just .907.
Next up, the Blues versus the Senators. For St. Louis, Brian Elliott. For Ottawa, Robin Lehner. Goaltending has been a weakness for both these teams this season; however, it’s especially hurt the Sens, who surrender an average of 34.1 shots per game, compared to the Blues at just 25.5. You know what they say — the best goalie is controlling the puck at the other end of the ice. (Not sure they actually say that, but they should.)
Finally, it’ll be Kari Lehtonen for the Stars versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs. About a month ago, we called Lehtonen the most under-rated goalie in the NHL. At the time, his save percentage was .932. Since then, it’s fallen to .919. Sorry about the jinx, Kari.
The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.
Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.
That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.
If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.
The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have claimed one of the more intriguing players placed on waivers — former Vancouver defenseman Frank Corrado.
Corrado, 22, was waived by the Canucks on Monday. The former OHL standout had appeared in 28 career games for Vancouver — including 10 last year — but was squeezed out of an NHL spot following the emergence of Ben Hutton, who surprised many onlookers by making the 23-man roster.
Canucks GM Jim Benning will receive criticism for losing an asset like Corrado for nothing. Several Vancouver pundits warned of exposing a young, promising d-man to waivers and those warnings ultimately proved accurate.
With Toronto, Corrado could push for playing time as the club indicated on Monday veteran d-man Sephane Robidas wouldn’t be with the team to start the year. That would leave the the Leafs with seven healthy blueliners: Dion Phaneuf, Jake Gardiner, Roman Polak, Morgan Rielly, Matt Hunwick, Martin Marincin and Scott Harrington, who can go to the minors without having to clear waivers.
Petter Granberg, another defenseman, is currently on IR.
In a corresponding move to the Corrado claim, the Leafs put forward Richard Panik on waivers. Panik, who Toronto plucked off waivers from Tampa Bay last year, appeared in 76 games for the Leafs, scoring 11 goals and 17 points.