With Lehtonen healthy, Stars return Nilstorp to AHL

Dallas appears ready for Kari Lehtonen to make his return from a concussion, and it couldn’t come at a better time.

The Stars returned third-string goalie Cristopher Nilstorp to AHL Texas on Monday, one day after Nilstorp had to make a relief appearance of Tim Thomas in Sunday’s ugly 7-2 loss to the Jets.

Thomas was lit up for four goals on 16 shots in yesterday’s loss, and was hooked just 29 seconds into the second period after Olli Jokinen scored to give the Jets a 4-2 lead. The 39-year-old veteran hasn’t exactly been stellar in his four games in a Stars sweater — going 2-1-1 with a .892 save percentage and 3.31 GAA — so Dallas will be keen to get Lehtonen back in goal for the playoff push.

The Finnish netminder has been out of action since suffering a concussion versus Minnesota on Mar. 8. Dallas, meanwhile, is currently tied with Phoenix on 75 points but holds the final wild card spot via tiebreaker (fewer games played). Vancouver sits just three back of the Stars and Coyotes, with 72 points.

It’s unclear if Lehtonen will be selected to start for Tuesday’s game in Pittsburgh, but the Nilstorp reassignment means he’s eligible to be.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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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

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

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.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.