Tag: Alex Stalock

Antti Niemi

Even after flurry of trades, goalie market is far from settled


There were seven different trades over the course of Friday and Saturday that involved a goaltender, but even after that there are teams that still need to address their situation between the pipes. With the free agent period just around the corner and the trade market now in full swing, the pieces are likely to continue to fall into place rapidly. While we have a breather though, let’s take a look at where we stand.

Has Dallas addressed its goaltending needs?

Kari Lehtonen failed to live up to expectations last season so the Dallas Stars would naturally like to hedge their bets going forward. They’ve already taken a step towards that end by acquiring the rights to Antti Niemi from San Jose, but it remains to be seen if they can sign the netminder before he become an unrestricted free agent.

If they do sign Niemi, that might not settle their goaltending situation. He has spent the better part of his career serving as a starter and while his last two seasons haven’t been amazing, it’s likely that he’ll expect a significantly bigger salary than your typical backup. Which isn’t an issue by itself, but Dallas is still tied to Lehtonen for another three seasons at $5.9 million in cap space annually. That means Dallas will be dedicating a lot of its cap to goaltending and that’s something that may complicate matters for the squad unless it’s addressed.

What’s next for San Jose?

Meanwhile, San Jose still needs someone to work with Alex Stalock. The 27-year-old netminder had a 2.62 GAA and .902 save percentage in 22 games last season, so ideally the Sharks will want someone that can at least seriously challenge him for the starting job.

There are some noteworthy pending UFAs out there including Viktor Fasth, Karri Ramo, and Michal Neuvirth, but it’s also possible San Jose will make another trade.

“We’ve been exploring things for quite awhile, a lot of it in the trade market obviously,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson told CSN Bay Area. “As we’ve looked at it, we think there’s probably more goalies than there are teams. There’s more people that are available or could be available in discussions than you guys probably hear about.”

Who will be Steve Mason’s backup in Philadelphia?

With Ray Emery’s contract set to expire, the Flyers are in the market for a backup goaltender. They didn’t want to take part in the flurry of goaltending trades though.

“I didn’t want to give up an asset for a backup, quite honestly,” Flyers GM Ron Hextall told CSN Philly. “Did I talk to anybody? People called and I found out the prices.”

With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Philadelphia find its number two netminder on the free agent market.

Anaheim has created something of a logjam

When the Anaheim Ducks acquired Anton Khudobin from Carolina, it led some to naturally wonder if 21-year-old goaltender John Gibson was on the block. Ducks GM Bob Murray’s response was not family friendly, but the short version of his answer is: No.

So we can only assume that this issue won’t be addressed this summer, which makes it unique among the goaltending situations discussed here. Even still, it is awkward as this likely means that Gibson will be expected to spend the 2015-16 campaign in the minors after posting a decent 2.60 GAA and .914 save percentage in 23 games with Anaheim last season. This might just be a short-term setback for him though as Khudobin only has a year left on his contract before he can test the unrestricted free agent market.

Agent: ‘No serious discussions’ between Niemi, Sharks on new deal

Antti Niemi

Sure sounds as though San Jose is ready to move on from Antti Niemi.

Niemi, the club’s starting goalie for most of the last four seasons, doesn’t appear close to a new deal, agent Markus Lehto told CSN Bay Area on Monday.


The Sharks have had “no serious discussions” with pending unrestricted free agent goalie Antti Niemi about a contract extension, his agent told CSNCalifornia.com on Monday via email.

On April 15, Niemi was asked if he’d like to return to the Sharks.

“Yeah, we’ll see what happens,” he said.

Sharks general manager Doug Wilson has twice declined to comment on Niemi, as well as the team’s other free agents in his media sessions after the season. Matt Irwin, John Scott and Scott Hannan all have expiring contracts as well, and all would hit the open market on July 1.

It’s long been believed the Sharks would part ways with the Finnish netminder this summer. He was a central figure in the infamous playoff collapse to Los Angeles and, at the start of this season, was thrown into an open competition with backup Alex Stalock for the No. 1 gig. Niemi didn’t win the job so much as Stalock failed to grab hold of it and, as a result, started the majority of games (61, to Stalock’s 19) — but Niemi also posted one of his lowest save percentages (.914) and highest GAAs (2.59) since joining the Sharks in 2010.

It’ll be interesting to see what San Jose does in goal moving forward. In late February, we passed along a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman in which he suggested the Sharks were looking for “a 25-year-old goalie who can play a few years for them.” Shortly thereafter, they signed 24-year-old University of Wisconsin standout Joel Rumple to a one-year deal, putting him in the mix with Stalock and AHL Worcester’s Troy Grosenick to compete for minutes next season.

Based on that trio’s lack of big-league experience, though, it’s likely the Sharks will target a more proven entity in goal.

Goalie Nods: Miller returns, Pavelec gets break after three straight shutouts

Ryan Miller

News and notes from around the crease…

Ryan Miller will start for the first time since Feb. 22

Miller suffered a knee injury that has cost him more than a month of ice time and potentially his opportunity to lead the Canucks in the playoffs. That’s because Eddie Lack was great in Miller’s absence and has been solid for the bulk of the campaign. Lack did admittedly get off to a rocky start, but he quickly put that behind him and now has a 2.45 GAA and .921 save percentage in 41 contests.

Those numbers are superior to Miller’s 2014-15 statistics, but Vancouver still might need him during the playoffs. With that in mind, he’ll have an opportunity to shake off the rust in tonight’s game against Edmonton.

Ondrej Pavelec will be a healthy scratch despite three straight shutouts

At any other point in the season, Pavelec being benched, let alone scratched, after posting three consecutive shutouts would be a big controversy, but with the Winnipeg Jets’ playoff position secure, this isn’t a shocking development. By starting Michael Hutchinson against the Calgary Flames this afternoon, it gives him a chance to stay sharp ahead of the postseason while also allowing Pavelec to get a breather after playing in three games over four days.

Connor Hellebuyck, 21, is projected to serve as the backup goaltender for Winnipeg today.


Sharks at Kings: Alex Stalock will play between the pipes for San Jose. It’s not known who will play for Los Angeles, but Jonathan Quick is typically a good bet.

Wild at Blues: Devan Dubnyk vs. Brian Elliott

Pens at Sabres: Marc-Andre Fleury will start for Pittsburgh. There’s a fair chance Anders Lindback will play for the Sabres, but that isn’t confirmed.

Habs at Leafs: Carey Price vs. Jonathan Bernier

Devils at Panthers: Cory Schneider vs. Al Montoya

Blue Jackets at Islanders: No confirmed starters yet for this one, but Islanders goaltender Michal Neuvirth has an undisclosed injury and Kevin Poulin was recalled as a result.

Red Wings at Canes: Petr Mrazek vs. Cam Ward

Bruins at Lightning: Tuukka Rask will probably start for Boston; Ben Bishop will get the nod for Tampa Bay.

Preds at Stars: Carter Hutton vs. Jhonas Enroth

Hawks at Avs: Scott Darling vs. Semyon Varlamov

Ducks at Coyotes: Neither team has revealed its starter.

Goalie nods: Canucks sticking with Lack, who wants ‘to be the hero again’

Ducks Canucks Hockey

All the latest from the blue paint…

You can be their hero, Eddie

The Canucks had three goalies on the ice for this morning’s optional skate — Ryan Miller, Jacob Markstrom and Eddie Lack — but it’ll be the latter who’ll get the start tonight in a crucial tilt versus Los Angeles.

Lack hasn’t exactly been a hero over his last five games, going 2-2-1 with a .903 save percentage, numbers that have been skewed by tough outings in Winnipeg (five goals on 36 shots) and Nashville (four goals on 38). It’s also worth noting Lack’s seen an awful lot of rubber lately; he’s faced an average of 35.2 shots per game over his last five, including 40 in a overtime loss to Dallas last week.

With Miller getting closer to a return to game action, tonight’s tilt will prove huge for Lack’s future as Vancouver’s No. 1. Tonight’s tilt will also prove huge for Western Conference playoff jockeying, as the Kings head into tonight’s action just three points back of Vancouver in the Pacific, and one back of Calgary.

Speaking of the Kings, no official word yet on who’ll start, but it’s expected to be Jonathan Quick.


‘Canes at Sabres: Cam Ward vs. Anders Lindback

Blue Jackets at Rangers: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Henrik Lundqvist

Jets at Wild: Ondrej Pavelec vs. Devan Dubnyk (“DUUUBS” — Halford.)

Stars at Sharks: (No Dallas starter yet) vs. Alex Stalock

Goalie nods: Stalock starts third straight for Sharks

San Jose Sharks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Six

All the latest from the blue paint…

San Jose looking forward?

All but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, San Jose will sit veteran — and soon-to-be UFA — Antti Neimi for the third straight game tonight, and once again start Alex Stalock in goal when it takes on the Avs.

Stalock, who’s started three straight only one other time this year, inherited the net after Niemi fell ill two games ago and has performed reasonably well, helping the Sharks gain three of a possible four points by stopping 47 of his last 51 shots faced.

It’ll be interesting to see how much the Sharks play the 27-year-old over their final six games of the regular season. Stalock is under contract for next year and while there are doubt he can be a full-time starter in the NHL, he will (presumably) be with the organization in 2015-16 whereas it’s unlikely Niemi will be back.

For Colorado, Reto Berra gets the nod.


Leafs at Sabres: Jonathan Bernier vs. Anders Lindback

Flyers at Pens: Steve Mason vs. Marc-Andre Fleury

Oilers at Ducks: Ben Scrivens vs. Frederik Andersen