Heading into the year, there were major question marks about the backup spot behind Martin Jones in San Jose.
And though it’s been through a limited body of work, Aaron Dell has answered them so far.
Dell, 27, 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.
Through three games this year, he’s looked very good, posting a 1.90 GAA and .932 save percentage.
The lingering issue, of course, is just three games played.
Jones has been a workhorse for the Sharks, and currently sits third in the NHL in minutes played. The 26-year-old has shown an ability to handle big workloads — he played 65 games last year, and was arguably San Jose’s best player in the Stanley Cup Final — but it’s always somewhat risky, given the looming specter of injury or a prolonged slump.
Anyway, Dell will make his fourth start of the year today when the Sharks host the Isles. He’ll be up against a fellow backup, as Thomas Greiss goes for New York.
— Corey Crawford, who has lost three of his last four starts, goes for the ‘Hawks in Anaheim. No word yet on a Ducks starter.
— Marc-Andre Fleury, who has lost his last four starts, gets the nod for Pittsburgh in Minnesota. No word yet on a Wild starter.
— Braden Holtby gets a Black Friday vacation, as the Caps will go with Philipp Grubauer against the Sabres. Buffalo hasn’t unveiled its starter yet, but Robin Lehner has been used almost exclusively lately.
— It’s Connor Hellebuyck up against Pekka Rinne as the Jets take on the Preds in Nashville.
— Chad Johnson, once again, will start over Brian Elliott for the Flames. It’s safe to call Johnson Calgary’s No. 1 netminder at this point. Boston played last night (Tuukka Rask was in goal), so no starting goalie announcement yet.
— Excellent matchup in Tampa Bay, as Sergei Bobrovsky and the Jackets take on Ben Bishop and the Bolts.
— An All-American matchup in New Jersey: Jimmy Howard versus Cory Schneider, as the Wings take on the Devils.
— Fresh off a win in Arizona on Wednesday, Ryan Miller is back in goal for the Canucks. He’ll take on Antti Niemi, after Kari Lehtonen allowed five goals in an OT loss to Vancouver two weeks ago.
— Louis Domingue is hurt, so Mike Smith is the default starter for Arizona. Edmonton hasn’t named a starter yet, but no goalie has played more than Cam Talbot this year. It’s expected he’ll go.