Carolina Hurricanes

Goalie nods: With Rask ill, B’s make emergency recall

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All the latest from the crease…

Boston facing questions in goal

Here’s the latest out of Bruins camp prior to tonight’s game against New Jersey: Tuukka Rask has fallen ill, head coach Claude Julien won’t say if backup Niklas Svedberg will get the start and, just a short while ago, the club made an emergency recall, bringing up Jeremy Smith from AHL Providence.

Smith, 25, got the call ahead of Malcolm Subban, the highly-touted prospect that struggled in his NHL debut against the Blues last week. A veteran of the American League circuit, Smith is 14-8-4 with Providence this year, posting a 2.08 GAA and .931 save percentage. He’s previously spent time in the Columbus and Nashville organizations, but has yet to make his NHL debut.

If we had to guess, Svedberg will get the start tonight — he was the only goalie present at this morning’s skate. For the Devils, Cory Schneider will be in goal.

Elsewhere…

Flames at Isles: Karri Ramo vs. Jaroslav Halak

Caps at ‘Canes: Braden Holtby vs. Anton Khudobin

‘Hawks at Bolts: (No word on a Chicago starter) vs. Ben Bishop

Avs at Stars: Semyon Varlamov vs. Kari Lehtonen

Kings at Ducks: (No word on a Kings starter) vs. John Gibson

Trade target Calvert (concussion) out indefinitely, says Columbus

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Columbus forward Matt Calvert has suffered a concussion and will be sidelined indefinitely, head coach Todd Richards said on Friday.

Calvert, 25, has appeared in 49 games for the Blue Jackets this season, scoring a career-high 10 goals. That mark came on the heels of a solid 2013-14 campaign, during which Calvert posted another career-high — in points, with 24 — despite only appearing in 56 games.

Calvert was also one of Columbus’ top producers during last year’s opening-round playoff loss to Pittsburgh, scoring two goals and four points in six games.

A speedy winger with some skill, Calvert isn’t a household name but could be a pretty useful pickup — assuming teams are willing to take the risk of a player dealing with a concussion. A pending RFA, Calvert is making $987,500 this year, which is a pretty nice cap hit for clubs that are pressed up against the ceiling.

As for potential suitors, Winnipeg was rumored to be interested prior to acquiring Jiri Tlusty; reports also suggested Tampa Bay was looking into Calvert as well.

Kings place Martinez on IR

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The Los Angeles Kings placed defenseman Alec Martinez on IR on Thursday. The move is retroactive to Feb. 9, as the Kings note.

One can assume that the transaction was made, in part, to make room for newly acquired blueliner Andrej Sekera. The Kings face the Ottawa Senators tonight, but Sekera hasn’t gotten into action just yet.

The fact that it’s a move retroactive to Feb. 9 means that the Kings have nice flexibility regarding when they can activate Martinez (whenever he’s good to go). When he gets back in the fold and Sekera becomes comfortable, the Kings has the potential to be that much more of a frightening playoff opponent.

Speaking of Sekera, it sounds like he could debut for Los Angeles on Friday:

Bowman: Blackhawks are ‘pretty close’ to making a trade

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Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman feels like he’s “pretty close” to making a trade, and it seems like he’s just as open to landing a defenseman or forward, as he told CSNChicago.com.

“We’re open to either one,” Bowman said. “I know it’s a generic answer, but there’s more than one way to improve your team. It doesn’t have to be just a replacement for Patrick. Sometimes you’re going to improve your team in different ways, bringing in different kinds of players. We’re open to that. We’ll see where it goes.”

Those who love concocting hypothetical deals should be delighted to hear that Bowman’s aims aren’t broad in terms of position alone. It sounds like he’s just as willing to acquire a rental as he might add someone with term on his contract.

The message seems to be “if you have an idea, run it by me.”

The juiciest bit comes from the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc, who reports that the Blackhawks are aiming pretty high with some of their ideas, possibly targeting a player at the higher end like Jeff Skinner or Michael Cammalleri.

Replacing Patrick Kane would obviously be a tall (and borderline impossible) task, but imagine Skinner on a team as talented as Chicago?

It’s possibly more likely that Bowman’s moves don’t make waves at that level, but we’ll find out soon enough, as the March 2 trade deadline looms.

(Chicago’s first full game since Kane suffered his injury went well as they blanked the Florida Panthers 3-0 on Thursday night.)

Still no deal between Williams and cap-strapped Kings

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Kings forward and reigning Conn Smythe winner Justin Williams said in mid-January he wanted to stop new contract talks until the offseason — but it sounds like he and the Kings didn’t leave those discussions in a very productive place.

“They have respected our position of leaving negotiations until after the season,” Williams’ agent, Thane Campbell, told ESPN this week. “That being said, they have obviously not accepted our most recent contract position.”

Williams, 33, is in the last of a four-year, $14.6 million deal with a $3.65M annual cap hit. While his points-per-game average has dipped steadily over the last five seasons, he’s still on pace for around 20 goals and 40 points and remains one of the most productive postseason players in the league, having won three Stanley Cups while racking up 78 points in 115 career playoff games.

But it sure sounds like he and Campbell aren’t ready to budge off their latest offer.

Back in January, Campbell basically said what he told ESPN this week, explaining that the plan was to hold off on negotiations… but adding that, if L.A. was to accept their demands, Williams would sign immediately.

“Our intention is to leave negotiations until after the season,” he said. “However, if they accepted our current position at any time, the deal would get done. We are not removing our last offer from the table and I believe they understand our position has little flexibility.”

The Kings and GM Dean Lombardi have been very active recently, re-signing Jordan Nolan (three years, $2.85 million) and Kyle Clifford (five years, $8 million). Lombardi also acquired Andrej Sekera from Carolina and questions have already been asked about Sekera signing an extension, not unlike what Marian Gaborik did following his trade from Columbus.

Sekera and Williams won’t be the only Kings needing a new deals this summer. Jarret Stoll will go unrestricted on July 1, and prized rookies Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson will become RFAs.