Mike Halford

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Goalie nods: As Nilsson trade winds swirl, Sabres give Ullmark season debut

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Netminding duties in Buffalo have been handled exclusively by Robin Lehner and Anders Nilsson this year but, tonight, a third goalie will get in the mix.

Linus Ullmark, the 23-year-old Rochester farmhand, will make his first start of the season when the Sabres host the Preds. Ullmark spent considerable time at the NHL level last season — starting 20 games — but was sent to the American League this year for further seasoning.

He’s played quite a bit, going 20-20-2 with a 2.90 GAA and .910 save percentage, and the timing of this start has raised some eyebrows. The Sabres are believed to be in seller mode heading into tomorrow’s deadline, and there’s been a lot of talk around Nilsson, who’s a pending UFA.

For the Preds, Pekka Rinne is the likely starter in goal.

Elsewhere…

Mike Smith returns from a two-game absence (illness) to start in Boston. The Bruins will counter with Tuukka Rask, who has won four of his last five starts.

— Marquee matchup on Broadway, as Braden Holtby and the Caps take on Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers. This will, of course, be Kevin Shattenkirk‘s debut in a Washington uniform.

Steve Mason will start for the first time in seven games when the Flyers host the Avs at Wells Fargo. No word yet on a Colorado starter.

— Another really good matchup in Montreal, as Sergei Bobrovsky takes on Carey Price in a battle of former Vezina winners.

Cam Ward gets the nod in Florida, looking to snap a personal four-game losing streak. He’ll be up against Roberto Luongo, who has also struggled lately. He’s allowed 18 goals on his last 139 shots faced, for a poor .871 save percentage.

Connor Hellebuyck makes his seventh straight start for the Jets, who host the Wild. Darcy Kuemper will give Devan Dubnyk the night off, after Dubnyk beat the Kings on Monday.

— No surprises for Edmonton, as the Oilers will once again start Cam Talbot for the NHL-leading 57th time. Talbot will face Jake Allen.

Matt Murray gets the nod for Pittsburgh, fresh off a 36-save win over the Flyers in Saturday’s Stadium Series game. It looks as though the host Stars will go with Antti Niemi.

— The Kings didn’t have a morning skate, but it’s possible Ben Bishop makes his team debut when L.A. takes on the Flames in Calgary. Jonathan Quick played last night against Minnesota and looked rusty in a loss. For the Flames, Brian Elliott gets the start.

— Petr  Mrazek looks likely to start for Detroit tonight in Vancouver, while the Canucks are expected to go with Ryan Miller. Jacob Markstrom is out with an injury suffered during Sunday’s Super Skills contest.

— Finally, Frederik Andersen faces an old foe as the Leafs take on the Sharks in San Jose tonight. Martin Jones will be in the other net.

Trade: Rangers, Sabres exchange AHLers

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Just hours after acquiring Brendan Smith from Detroit, the Rangers made another deal — albeit a far smaller one.

New York has sent minor-league defenseman Mat Bodie to Buffalo in exchange for forward Daniel Catenacci, the club announced.

Of the two, Catenacci has the more distinguished resume. The 23-year-old was Buffalo’s third-round pick (77th overall) at the 2011 draft, and appeared in 11 games for the Sabres last year, making his NHL debut in the process.

Catenacci’s spent all of this year in AHL Rochester, scoring 13 points in 50 games.

Bodie, 26, is an undrafted blueliner out of Union College that’s spent his entire pro career in the American League. He’s a good offensive defenseman, and sits 12th among all AHL rearguards in scoring this year, with 30 points.

Bodie has yet to make his NHL debut. If you’re looking for potential connections to a bigger deal, his acquisition does give Buffalo organizational depth on defense — which could be tested if GM Tim Murray ships out the likes of Dmitry Kulikov or Cody Franson.

Roundup: Wild sign Weber, Jackets ink Bergeron

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Busy Tuesday around the NHL, as teams continue to make moves ahead of the trade deadline.

• The Wild have signed veteran d-man Mike Weber to an NHL contract, this after he caught on with their AHL affiliate in Iowa. It’s a two-way deal and, in order to make him roster-eligible, the club has placed him on waivers. Weber’s last big league action came in ’15-16, when he appeared in 10 games for the Caps.

• The Blue Jackets made a similar move with Marc-Andre Bergeron, per TVA. Bergeron, 36, joined AHL Cleveland this season after a three-year stint with Zurich of the Swiss league, and has scored nine points in 13 games for the Monsters. His is also a two-way deal and, like Weber, has been placed on waivers as a formality.

• Calgary has waived d-man Jyrki Jokipakka. Acquired from Dallas in last year’s deadline deal for Kris Russell, Jokipakka has appeared in 38 games for the Flames, scoring six points. Today’s move comes after Calgary made a pair of moves to upgrade the defense, signing Matt Bartkowski and trading for Michael Stone.

• Anaheim has waived forward Joseph Cramarossa. Cramarossa, 24, was taken in the third round of the ’11 draft, and has appeared in 49 games for the Ducks this year, scoring 10 points (making his NHL debut in the process).

• Chris DiDomenico, who Ottawa signed out of the Swiss League yesterday, has been waived for the purpose of joining the roster.

• Tampa Bay waived Gabriel Dumont, who’s been up and down between the Bolts and AHL Syracuse throughout the season. The former Montreal forward has two points in 19 games for the Lightning.

Pens waive veteran forward Fehr

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Noteworthy move out of Pittsburgh on Tuesday — the Pens have waived 31-year-old Eric Fehr.

Fehr, in the second of a three-year, $6 million deal with a $2M cap hit, has appeared in 55 games this season, scoring six goals and 11 points while averaging just under 11 minutes a night.

He was also a regular in last year’s Stanley Cup run, scoring three times in 23 games.

Though his role decreased, Fehr was still frequently used by head coach Mike Sullivan — albeit in a more limited capacity. He was a good PK contributor, and did play over 10 minutes in Saturday’s outdoor game win over the Flyers, registering an assist.

The immediate speculation is that Pens GM Jim Rutherford waived Fehr to clear some cap space for a future deal. Rutherford already acquired Ron Hainsey to help bandage the Pens’ defense, and could be pushed to make another splash in the wake of Washington’s blockbuster deal to get Kevin Shattenkirk.

‘Hawks sign Rozsival, Tootoo to one-year extensions

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Chicago re-upped with a pair of veteran skaters on Tuesday, agreeing to one-year contract extensions with d-man Michal Rozsival and forward Jordin Tootoo.

At first glance, these deals certainly appear to be expansion draft-related. The Sun-Times notes this will allow ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman to protect former first-round pick Ryan Hartman, who’s enjoying a breakout campaign with 15 goals through 57 games.

Rozsival, 38, has been the more active of today’s signees, appearing in 51 contests while notching a pair of points. He’s won a pair of Stanley Cups in Chicago.

Tootoo, 34, was signed last summer and has appeared in 36 games. He’s gone scoreless while racking up 21 PIM.

Rozsival’s current deal pays $600,000, while Tootoo’s is at $750,000. Terms of their extensions weren’t released but it’s fair to suggest the dollar figures will be similar, given Chicago’s pressed right up against the cap ceiling.

UPDATE:

Bowman certainly seems to be getting his house in order ahead of the aforementioned expansion draft. Last week, he inked journeyman goalie Jeff Glass to a two-year deal, another move that appeared to be with Vegas in mind.