Goalie Nods: Ben Bishop expected to start for Kings against Canucks

When the Los Angeles Kings acquired Ben Bishop from the Tampa Bay Lightning they said they wanted a situation where they could have a No. 1 goaltender in their net every single night, whether it be him or Jonathan Quick. After Quick backstopped the Kings to a come-from-behind shootout win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, thanks to a stunning behind-the-back save in the shootout, it will be Bishop’s turn to take his place in the crease on Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks.

Bishop stopped 28 out of 30 shots in his debut with the Kings this past week and has been on a bit of a roll in recent weeks after a tough start to the season.

Going back to his time with Tampa Bay just before the trade, Bishop has allowed just seven goals in his past six starts, and never more than two during that stretch. He has a .949 save percentage in those games.

The Kings enter the game with points in four consecutive games and own a one-point lead over the St. Louis Blues for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.

The Canucks will go with Ryan Miller as he looks to snap a personal four-game losing streak.

Elsewhere on Saturday…

— The Colorado Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets did not announce their starters for Saturday’s game.

Craig Anderson is in net for the Ottawa Senators when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets. No word yet from the Blue Jackets for their starter but look for Sergei Bobrovsky.

— With Roberto Luongo sidelined James Reimer goes for the Florida Panthers when they host the Dallas Stars. Reimer has been playing great in recent weeks and looks to keep it going against Kari Lehtonen.

— The Lightning look to bounce back from a 5-2 loss in Pittsburgh on Friday and will be going with Andrei Vasilevskiy against the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabres are starting Robin Lehner.

— No word from the Rangers and Canadiens but it would be a stunner if Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist were not between the pipes for their respective teams.

Anton Khudobin goes for just his fourth win of the season when the Boston Bruins turn to him against Cory Schneider and the New Jersey Devils.

— After stopping 39 out of 40 shots on Thursday Steve Mason is back in net for the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday when they visit the Washington Capitals. It will of course be Braden Holtby in net for the NHL leading Capitals.

— Jusse Saros starts for the Nashville Predators when they host the Chicago Blackhawks. No word yet from the Blackhawks on who gets the call. Corey Crawford started on Friday and with Scott Darling sidelined he might get both ends of the back-to-back.

Petr Mrazek is in for the Detroit Red Wings when they visit the Edmonton Oilers, who will naturally be going back to Cam Talbot for his league-leading 58th start of the season. This is already a new career high for him in terms of appearances.

Preds GM Poile still has work to do, with Johansen in need of a deal

Leave a comment

David Poile got some work done Saturday.

The Nashville Predators re-signed Viktor Arvidsson on the day the two sides had an arbitration hearing scheduled. The new deal? Seven years at a total of $29.75 million — an annual average value of $4.25 million for a player that just scored 31 goals while playing on the top line with Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg.

The Predators made a run at the Stanley Cup last month, doing so with great goaltending from Pekka Rinne, a top-four group of defensemen that you can argue sets the standard around the league and a talented group of forwards — a number of them with age on their side.

They didn’t win it all, but Poile was recognized for his work by claiming General Manager of the Year.

This is likely among the reasons why.

Roman Josi still has three years left on his deal, while Mattias Ekholm, who was a valuable and reliable top-four d-man playing alongside P.K. Subban, has five years remaining on his deal.

With the Arvidsson contract completed, the priority is now to get Johansen — a restricted free agent — signed. At age 24, he’s Nashville’s No. 1 center coming off a 61-point season, which completed his three-year, $12 million deal.

He was also in the midst of a terrific playoff performance before he suffered a thigh injury and postseason-ending surgery. He’s in line for a significant raise from the $4 million AAV he made on his last contract.

The Predators have about $14.5 million remaining in cap space, per CapFriendly.

Vegas GM doesn’t appear to be in any hurry to move extra d-men


The Vegas Golden Knights currently have 10 defensemen under contract — and that is without Nate Schmidt signed.

Schmidt and the Golden Knights have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Aug. 3, so there is still plenty of time for them to negotiate a new deal for the restricted free agent blue liner without having a neutral third party decide the matter.

Schmidt’s agent, Matt Keator, told the Las Vegas Review Journal that talks with the Golden Knights have been positive, which lends to optimism that perhaps the club and player will avoid this whole process with a deal.

A new contract between Schmidt — left unprotected by Washington in the expansion draft — and Vegas would put the Golden Knights at 11 d-men less than two months before training camp opens.

Granted, that number is considerably less than what Vegas had following the expansion draft, when they stockpiled 15 defensemen and eventually moved players like David Schlemko, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Marc Methot.

While it seems more moves are likely on the back end for Vegas, general manager George McPhee doesn’t seem to be in any particular hurry right now, per the Vegas Review Journal.

“We’re at a manageable number right now,” said McPhee. “We’re pretty close to where we want to be and we’re comfortable with the roster we have.”

Their blue line also includes five players — Jason Garrison, Luca Sbisa, Clayton Stoner, Brayden McNabb and Deryk Engelland — that are pending unrestricted free agents at the end of next season. As far as Vegas’ defensive group is concerned, this could mean future trades during the season as other clubs, perhaps playoff bound, look to possibly add a rental late in the year.

One thing McPhee has made clear in the past: He planned on keeping Schmidt and fellow d-man Shea Theodore (only 21 years old). Now, they just have to get Schmidt under contract.

Related: Vegas has more ticket revenue than Boston, Philly and Pittsburgh, says Foley

Predators sign Arvidsson to seven-year, $29.75 million deal


Viktor Arvidsson has cashed in on his impressive, breakout 2016-17 campaign.

Playing in the final year of his entry-level contract — and making $640,000 in total salary, according to CapFriendly — the 5-foot-9 tall Arvidsson erupted for 31 goals and 61 points playing on the top line last season for a Nashville Predators team that eventually made its way to the Stanley Cup Final.

The two sides had an arbitration hearing scheduled for Saturday.

From The Tennessean:

Viktor Arvidsson received a new contract Saturday befitting a breakout star, with the Predators signing the energetic forward to a seven-year, $29.75 million contract, Arvidsson’s agent told The Tennessean. 

Few unheralded NHL players last season surprised more than Arvidsson. Expected to be a secondary contributor, Arvidsson erupted offensively with 31 goals and 61 points as part of Nashville’s top line, tying for the team lead in each category. 

Update: The Predators have since confirmed the deal, which pays Arvidsson an annual average value of $4.25 million per season, through the 2023-24 season.

Nashville’s general manager David Poile has work remaining this offseason. The Predators still have restricted free agents Ryan Johansen — another member of that vaunted top line in Nashville — and Austin Watson left to get under contract.

Watson and the Predators have an arbitration hearing scheduled for Monday. Watson is reportedly seeking $1.4 million in arbitration.

Flames re-sign RFA goalies Gillies and Rittich

Leave a comment

The Calgary Flames have re-signed goalies Jon Gillies and David Rittich to one-year, two-way contracts, the club announced Saturday.

Both spent the majority of last season in the American Hockey League, but did get in some game action with the big club in Calgary. The 23-year-old Gillies, the Flames’ third-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, played in 39 games with the Stockton Heat, posting a .910 save percentage.

He then made his first career NHL start on April 6 against the L.A. Kings and stopped 27 of 28 shots faced for the win. He then began the playoffs as Calgary’s back-up because of an injury to Chad Johnson.

Rittich made his debut two days later, allowing one goal on 10 shots in 20 minutes of ice time versus San Jose.

The Flames have already taken care of their goaltending situation at the NHL level for next season, bringing in Mike Smith from Arizona and Eddie Lack from Carolina.