Lehtonen ‘not doing very well’ with concussion, so it’s Timmy time in Dallas


The Stars are fighting for their playoff lives and just lost their starting goalie to injury, yet nobody’s freaking out.


Because their No. 2 goalie isn’t a run-of-the-mill backup.

It’s Tim Thomas, acquired last Wednesday in a trade deadline deal with Florida. The 40-year-old, less than three years removed from winning the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP during Boston’s Stanley Cup championship, is now primed to be Dallas’ No. 1 after Kari Lehtonen suffered a concussion on this nasty collision with Minnesota forward Erik Haula:

Looks like Thomas will be the guy in goal for the next while. Ruff — who, prior to Lehtonen getting hurt, suggested that Thomas would get a shot at the No. 1 gig anyway — knows what Thomas brings to the table, and is excited to see it.

“He’s not your conventional type of goaltender, but we knew that going in,” Ruff told the Dallas Morning-News. “He’s a battler, he’s athletic. He’s been in the fire before and knows how to handle it, and that experience can help us.”

The big question now is, how much can Dallas rely on Timmy?

He was a workhorse at times for Florida this season, serving as the Panthers’ goalie of record for nearly a full month straight:


So, it stands to reason he’s ready for Dallas’ stretch drive. The Stars play 11 times over the next 19 days, including back-to-backs tonight (vs. Columbus) and tomorrow (vs. St. Louis), then on Mar. 28-29 against the Preds and Blues.

Dallas GM Jim Nill said he made the Thomas deal because the Stars are “serious about making the playoffs and making a statement in the playoffs.” And Ruff knows the importance of postseason goaltending, as his deepest runs in Buffalo came on the strength of outstanding performances by Dominik Hasek (’99 Stanley Cup Final) and Ryan Miller (’06 and ’07 Conference Finals).

So, they made the move expecting Thomas to play a role — maybe not one this big, but a role nonetheless. As for Thomas, he says he’s just excited to be part of the playoff chase.

“The intensity … it’s fun to be a part of,” he said. “To me, it makes it easier to play.”

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.

Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”

The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.

The NHLPA released a similar statement.

It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.

We’re starting to find out some details now:

How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?

Stay tuned.