Author: Mike Halford


Report: Stars bringing another d-man prospect to North America

The Dallas Stars are set to ship over another European d-man for the remainder of this season.

Per Finnish outlet MTV, the Stars will bring Esa Lindell — their third-round pick (74th overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft — from SM-liiga club Assat over to North America, presumably to join their AHL affiliate in Texas.

Lindell, 20, is a promising offensive defenseman that scored 14 goals and 35 points in 57 games this year. He was part of the Finnish team that captured gold at the 2014 World Juniors, finishing third on the team in scoring while leading all Finnish blueliners in points, with five.

He’s also not the first prospect Dallas has decided to bring over recently.

Last week, the club moved Swedish d-man Ludwig Bystrom — Dallas’ second-round pick (43rd overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft — from SHL Farjestads to Texas. A former Swedish League All-Star, Bystrom was just one of the Stars’ young Swedish and Finnish blueline projects, along with Patrick Nemeth, Jyrki Jokipakka, John Klingberg and Julius Honka (and now, Lindell.)

Another injury blow for Rangers: St. Louis (lower body) out 10-14 days


The streaking New York Rangers took another hit in the health department on Monday, as the club revealed Martin St. Louis could miss up to two weeks with a lower-body injury, suffered Sunday against Florida.

Per Newsday, St. Louis is believed to have suffered a right knee injury, which may have happened in this sequence:

As the Bergen Record notes, it looks as though St. Louis told trainer Jim Ramsey he felt a “pop” in the knee.

The 39-year-old veteran has 20 goals and 47 points in 68 games this year, averaging over 17-and-a-half minutes per night. Now, he’ll join two other key veterans on the shelf: Henrik Lundqvist, who is still dealing with a vascular injury, and Kevin Klein, who’s out 3-4 weeks with an arm injury.

Assuming St. Louis misses the full two weeks, that would put him on target for a Mar. 30 return — meaning he’d miss the next seven games, including a game on Mar. 24 against Los Angeles, which is a rematch of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final (on NBCSN.)

That game, not coincidentally, is when Lundqvist is rumored to return to the Rangers lineup.

Jets get Byfuglien, Myers back at practice but lose Postma for ‘weeks’

Dallas Stars v Winnipeg Jets

Eventful Monday in Winnipeg — the Jets welcomed back a pair of defensemen, but lost another one for a significant length of time.

First, the returnees: Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers were back at it, with Myers declaring himself “good to go” for tomorrow’s game against San Jose after sitting Saturday’s big win over Tampa Bay; Byfuglien said it was too soon to tell if he’d be back, having missed the last four contests.

For Postma, the news was far less encouraging.

The 26-year-old, who returned to the Jets lineup on Saturday after a lengthy stint in the press box, played very well — getting over 23 minutes of action — but suffered a lower-body injury, with a timetable for return of “weeks, not days, even on the positive end of it,” per today’s update from head coach Paul Maurice.

That puts Postma on the shelf with fellow blueliners Byfuglien, Ben Chiarot and Grant Clitsome, and could sideline him for the remainder of the regular season. Postma had appeared in 42 games this season, scoring six points.

The Jets are in a fight for their playoff lives, and Tuesday’s tilt against the Sharks will be a significant contest in terms of Western Conference postseason jockeying. San Jose is four points back of Winnipeg for the final wild card, though it’s possible both the Sharks and Jets could be on the outside of the playoff picture looking in by tomorrow; with a win over Arizona tonight, Los Angeles would take the wild card lead.

Goalie nods: Lindback, who’s been surprisingly good, goes again for Buffalo

New York Rangers v Buffalo Sabres

All the latest from the crease…

Lindback takes on Caps

Anders Lindback will look to continue his personal reclamation project when the Sabres host the Caps in Buffalo.

Acquired from Dallas in the Jhonas Enroth trade, Lindback — who was dreadful as Kari Lehtonen’s backup — has been quite effective since Buffalo dealt Michal Neuvirth to the Isles. The lanky Swede has yet to win a game for the Sabres, yet allowed just 12 goals on 160 shots over a five-game stretch, good for a .925 save percentage and 2.68 GAA.

In his last outing, a 2-0 loss to the Rangers, Lindback stopped 31 of 32 shots for a .969 save percentage. He also did this to Toronto in overtime last week:

For the Capitals, no word yet on who’ll start. Braden Holtby was in for yesterday’s 2-0 win over Boston and could go back-to-back; if not, it’ll be Philipp Grubauer, who’s up from AHL Hershey with Justin Peters injured.


Habs at Bolts: Carey Price vs. Ben Bishop

Leafs at Oilers: Jonathan Bernier vs. Ben Scrivens

Coyotes at Kings: (No Arizona starter yet) vs. Jonathan Quick (probable)

Versteeg likely to be scratched: ‘When you play like [expletive], you’re not going to play’

Kris Versteeg

Kris Versteeg has been slumping lately — no goals and just one point in seven games — yet his harshest critic isn’t Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville.

It’s Kris Versteeg.

“I guess when you play like [expletive], you’re not going to play,” Versteeg said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “I just have to try to work hard to get back in.”

A potential healthy scratch — Versteeg wasn’t on a line during Monday’s practice — is the latest in what’s been a tale of two seasons for Versteeg. The 28-year-old had a great start to the year, scoring 27 points in his first 33 games, but suffered a major setback against Washington at the 2015 Winter Classic, breaking his hand and missing nearly six weeks of action.

Versteeg was fine in his first five games back following the injury — scoring three goals — but has struggled ever since. He got an increased role offensively following Patrick Kane’s season-ending injury but has failed to capitalize on the opportunity, and saw his ice-time dip to 13:32 in Saturday’s 6-2 win over the Sharks.

Quenneville wouldn’t say if Versteeg would be in or out when the ‘Hawks host the Islanders, but the latter seems likely. What’s more, this wouldn’t be the first time this season Quenneville utilized the healthy scratch to get one of his forwards going — Bryan Bickell was also parked in the press box recently in an effort to spark his game.

“We’re just looking for some more [from Versteeg],” Quenneville explained. “His last game wasn’t very good.”