Tag: Dallas Stars

Ryan Potulny

Journeyman Potulny signs with Finnish squad


The Lahti Pelicans of Finland’s top league announced that they have signed Ryan Potulny.

The 30-year-old forward is a product of the University of Minnesota and was a finalist for the 2005-06 Hobey Baker Memorial Award. He recorded 38 goals and 63 points in 41 NCAA contests that season while playing on a team that also featured Phil Kessel, Alex Goligoski, and Blake Wheeler.

The Philadelphia Flyers took him with the 87th overall pick in 2003. He has 22 goals and 49 points in 126 NHL contests with the Flyers, Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks, and Edmonton Oilers.

At his height, he scored 15 goals and 32 points in 64 games with Edmonton in 2009-10.

He spent the 2014-15 campaign with the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack, scoring two goals and five points in 25 games.

Major goaltending decisions looming for Stars

Kari Lehtonen

Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill has some big decisions to make when it comes to his team’s goaltending.

Does he try and trade Kari Lehtonen?

If yes, who will be the starter?

If yes or no, who will be the backup?

According to the Dallas Morning News, Nill is in the process of answering those questions.

Only the Edmonton Oilers had a lower team save percentage than the Stars did in 2014-15. Goaltending was a major reason that Dallas missed the playoffs.

As we wrote last week, there’s no shortage of options for teams in need of a goalie.

All that supply may hurt the Stars’ chances of trading Lehtonen, a 31-year-old who comes with a cap hit of $5.9 million for three more seasons.

Perhaps partly because of that, Nill seems to be preparing for Lehtonen to remain with the Stars.

“What’s impressed me is the fact Kari feels he didn’t do a good enough job and he wants to do everything he can to fix it,” Nill said. “So we have to look at how he prepares himself and how we support him, and how he can be better, and how we can help him be better.”

A better backup would be a good start.

Related: Stars’ Jussi Rynnas to sign in the KHL, per report

Report: Stars’ Jussi Rynnas to sign in the KHL

Montreal Canadiens v Dallas Stars

According to a report out of Finland, goaltender Jussi Rynnas will sign with Ak Bars Kazan of the Kontinental Hockey League.

Rynnas spent much of the 2014-15 season with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League posting a 22-6-8 record to go along with a 2.53 G.A.A. and a .920 save percentage.

The 28-year-old also appeared in two games with the Dallas Stars going 0-1-0 with a 4.57 G.A.A. and an .841 save percentage.

Rynnas has one year remaining on his two-year, $1.1 million contract he signed with Dallas last summer.

Blackhawks’ property Anders Nilsson, who is eyeing a return to North America, started a bulk of the games for Ak Bars Kazan during the 2014-15 season.

Bruins sign NCAA champ Noel Acciari, whose ‘motor never stops’

2014 Hockey East Championship - Semifinals

Noel Acciari was a significant part of the Providence College team that won the 2015 NCAA title. The Boston Bruins hope that he can help them win some big games, too.

The team made it official that they signed the 23-year-old forward to an entry-level contract on Monday. Specifics regarding terms and money were not shared, although ESPN’s John Buccigross indicated that it’s for two years a few days ago.

CSNNE.com passed along the views of a scout that certainly point to a player who could be well-liked in Boston.

Here’s what one NHL scout from a Western Conference team had to say about Acciari after multiple viewings of the player: “High energy, hard-working 2-way center. The kids motor never stops. Average size but gets his nose dirty and plays really hard. Will need some time in AHL, but he has 4th line/checking upside, and is smart. Think Antoine Roussel minus the fighting and agitating, or a Derek McKenzie type. Just loves to play.”

Roussel without the fighting and agitating? That’s kind of tough to imagine.

Acciari may be able to mix some decent scoring touch in with his energy game, too, it seems. Acciari scored 15 goals and 32 points for Providence College in 2014-15. He gained accolades such as Hockey East Defensive PLayer of the Year this pas season.

Sounds like a decent depth pickup for the Bruins all around.

Need a goalie? No shortage of options out there


Don’t underestimate the importance of the backup goalie. In today’s NHL, where parity reigns, it can be the difference between making and missing the playoffs.

Think that’s overstating things? Give Jim Nill a call in Dallas. The Stars’ GM gambled on Anders Lindback this season, and it cost his team big time. With a capable backup, the Stars wouldn’t have had to lean so heavily on a struggling Kari Lehtonen. Dallas went on to finish with the NHL’s second-worst team save percentage (.895). Also, seven points back of a playoff spot.

Meanwhile, remember what Andrew Hammond did for the Senators? And Eddie Lack for the Canucks when Ryan Miller went down with an injury? Do either of those teams make the playoffs without such solid play from their backups?

Having one capable goalie is nice. Having two is even better. Heck, in the Senators’ case, it was three.

Remember that on July 1 when unrestricted free agents are expected to include Antti Niemi, Karri Ramo, Michal Neuvirth, and Jhonas Enroth. (As of today, Devan Dubnyk can become unrestricted as well, but it would be a surprise if he doesn’t re-sign with Minnesota.)

And then there’s the trade market. The Senators are trying to trade Craig Anderson or Robin Lehner. The Canucks are expected to deal one of Lack or Jacob Markstrom. The Blackhawks have three goalies under contract; what could Antti Raanta fetch them? Would the Leafs trade James Reimer? They’d listen to offers, that’s for sure.

So yeah, lots of options out there.

In spite of all the supply, Canucks GM Jim Benning is confident there’s enough demand that he’ll be able to recover something for either Lack or Markstrom.

“I think there’s enough teams that need goalies that if we decide to move someone that we won’t have a problem doing it,” he said recently in a radio interview.

And according to a report in the Ottawa Sun, there are seven teams interested in the Senators’ goalies.

The Edmonton Oilers are probably one of those seven teams. They finished the season with the NHL’s worst team save percentage (.888).

“I’ve had discussions on teams with goalies,” GM Peter Chiarelli said yesterday. “We’ve got a goalie under contract in Ben Scrivens.”

We’ve speculated that the Oilers may have interest in a veteran like Anderson, but Chiarelli refused to get into specifics.

“Obviously I’m not going to comment on any discussions with specific teams,” he said.

So, expect plenty of goalies to change clubs this summer. And when the 16 playoff teams are finalized for 2016, don’t be surprised if we’re looking back at one or two moves that made a difference between making and missing.

Related: If Anderson is available, should the Oilers be interested?