No shortage of storylines tonight, but here’s a neat one — Aaron Dell, the 27-year-old that’s captured the backup gig behind Martin Jones in San Jose, will make his first-ever NHL start when the Sharks take on the Isles in Brooklyn.
Dell was undrafted out of the University of North Dakota, and kicked around the CHL, ECHL and AHL after leaving school. He caught on with the Sharks organization a couple seasons ago, and won backup job by putting up solid numbers for the AHL Barracuda in ’15-16.
He posted a 17-16-6 record — with a .922 save percentage, 2.42 GAA and six shutouts — and used that, along with a strong training camp and preseason, to beat out Troy Grosenick and Mantas Armalis for the No. 2 job.
Given Dell’s relative obscurity, there was some question if San Jose would go out and snag a goalie to back up Jones this season. There were rumblings the club might look at Scott Wedgewood after the Devils exposed him to waivers, given the Peter DeBoer connection (DeBoer was the head coach in New Jersey while Wedgewood was tending goal for AHL Albany.)
That rumor never came to fruition, though, and the Sharks opted to go with Dell.
For the Isles, Jaroslav Halak will be in net.
— John Gibson is back in goal for the Ducks, after allowing three goals on 30 shots in an OT loss to the Isles on Sunday. He’ll be up against Cory Schneider, who starts for the Devils.
— Philipp Grubauer makes his first start of the season for Washington, giving Braden Holtby the night off. Semyon Varlamov goes for the Avs after Calvin Pickard beat the Penguins in OT on Monday.
— Al Montoya starts his third game in a row for Montreal, as the Habs host the Pens. As mentioned, Pittsburgh played Colorado last night and didn’t skate this morning, so it could be Mike Condon making his team debut… against his former team, the Canadiens. If not, it’ll be Marc-Andre Fleury going back-to-back.
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— Craig Anderson goes for Ottawa after Andrew Hammond was ventilated last night in Detroit. The visiting Coyotes are going with Mike Smith.
— An all-Finnish matchup in Nashville as Kari Lehtonen and the Stars visit Pekka Rinne and the Predators.
— The Flyers are going back to Michal Neuvirth in goal after Steve Mason started Saturday in Los Angeles. Corey Crawford counters for Chicago.
— Jeff Zatkoff continues his run as the No. 1 in L.A., filling for the injured Jonathan Quick. Tonight he’ll face off against Darcy Kuemper, who will play his first game of the year for the Wild.
— James Reimer makes his Panthers debut in the Battle of Florida. He’ll be up against Ben Bishop, who returns to start for the Lightning after Andrei Vasilevskiy beat the Devils on Saturday.
More: There’s no bad blood between Bishop and Vasilevskiy
— Robin Lehner, fresh off his first win of the year Sunday in Edmonton, goes for the Sabres in Calgary. The Flames are making an interesting move by going with Chad Johnson for the second straight game, ahead of No. 1 netminder Brian Elliott, who struggled mightily to start the year.
— Battle of the Cams in Edmonton: Cam Talbot for the Oilers, Cam Ward for the ‘Canes.
— Jacob Markstrom gets the nod for Vancouver, as Ryan Miller is dealing with tightness. It was an optional skate for St. Louis today, so no word on a starter.
Updated: Miller’s out for tonight. Vancouver, in need of an emergency backup, have signed University of British Columbia goalie Matt Hewitt. Hewitt, 23, used to play for WHL Regina but has spent the last four seasons at the Canadian University level.