Dallas Stars

Stars add Reese to goalie coaching mix, sign Jokipakka

The Dallas Stars really struggled in net (and in preventing goals in general last season), but they took further measures to improve in that area on Monday.

In an interesting twist, the Stars hired Jeff Reese as goalie coach as expected, yet they’re not parting ways with Mike Valley. Instead, Valley will work under the title director of goaltending development.

ESPN’s Craig Custance was impressed by the Stars’ creativity there:

The only “salary cap” for coaching is a team’s own budget, after all, so why not add more keen minds on that subject?

Of course, improving on defense would also make life easier for the Stars’ goalies, and they also kept a young defenseman in the fold. Amusingly named blueliner Jyrki Jokipakka received a two-year contract today. Jokipakka (pictured) played 51 games with the Stars last season, collecting 10 assists and a -2 rating. He also managed five points in 19 games at the AHL level. It seems like he might show more potential than his draft status (195th overall in 2011) may have initially indicated.

Stars GM Jim Nill still has some work to do to ensure that the Stars’ defense starts to catch up with its blistering offense, yet this counts as a step or two in the right direction.

 

Report: Rynnas clears waivers, signs in KHL

Jussi Rynnas has officially signed with Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL, according to Mark Stepneski.

The goaltender was placed on unconditional waivers by the Dallas Stars last week.

Rynnas signed a two-year, $1.1 million contract with Dallas last summer, but after spending a bulk of the 2014-15 season in the American Hockey League, has decided to return overseas.

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

In 39 AHL games with the Texas Stars Rynnas was a 22-6-8 to go along with a 2.53 G.A.A. and a .920 save percentage.

(Related) Report: Heatley considering offers to play in KHL

Neuvirth’s agent and Isles had ‘positive conversation,’ will resume in late June

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There’s been some traction between the New York Islanders and pending UFA goalie Michal Neuvirth.

“Garth [Snow, Isles GM] and I had a positive conversation regarding Michal coming back next season to play for the Islanders,” Neuvirth’s agent, Patrik Stefan, told PHT on Friday. “The Islanders are a well built young team with a bright future. Although it was for short time, Michal enjoyed playing there and was impressed with the organization.

“Garth is well aware of what the UFA’s market for goalies this summer and he and I agreed to continue our conversation at the end of this month.”

This development is interesting on two fronts. One, in mid-May, Stefan said he hadn’t heard anything from the Islanders about his client.

Two, Stefan continued to insist his client is gunning for a No. 1 job.

“The bottom line is Michal wants to and is ready to be a starter next season,” Stefan said of the 27-year-old, adding that Neuvirth “will be one of the top goalies on the UFA list July 1st.”

If Neuvirth (.914 save percentage between Buffalo and New York last year) really wants a starting gig, it’s hard to see him going back to the Islanders. Jaroslav Halak seems firmly entrenched as the starter, coming off a year in which he finished fifth in the NHL with 38 wins, made the All-Star team and helped the Isles get back into the playoffs.

In an opening-round loss to Washington, Halak finished with a .926 save percentage and 2.30 GAA.

If Neuvirth does decide to go elsewhere, he’ll dive into a goalie market that’s flush with options.

RELATED: Need a goalie? No shortage of options out there

Fellow (projected) UFAs include Antti Niemi, Karri Ramo and Jhonas Enroth. Devan Dubnyk doesn’t figure to get to market, but stranger things have happened.

On the trade front, several names are out there. Ottawa’s shopping Robin Lehner and Craig Anderson, and Vancouver GM Jim Benning revealed he’s getting calls on Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom. The Blackhawks have three goalies under contract; what could Antti Raanta fetch them? Would the Leafs trade James Reimer?

All this could have a major impact on Neuvirth’s goal of being a No. 1 next season.

Report: Goaltending coach Jeff Reese to join the Dallas Stars

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Jeff Reese, who mutually agreed to part ways with the Philadelphia Flyers back in March, is reportedly headed to Dallas to take over as the Stars’ goaltending coach.

According to InGoal Magazine, long-time Stars goalie coach Mike Valley will be moving into a new role as Director of Goaltending.

InGoal reports Valley will now be in charge of working with already drafted and signed goaltending prospects as well as amateur and pro scouting.

Reese appeared in 174 NHL games with five teams over a 12-year career. He joined the Tampa Bay Lightning as a goalie coach and then became an assistant on John Tortorella’s staff. He was a part of Tampa’s coaching staff when the Bolts won the Stanley Cup in 2004.

The 48-year-old was hired by the Flyers in 2009 and played a large role in Steve Mason’s development in Philadelphia.

Related: Stars’ Jussi Rynnas is on unconditional waivers

Journeyman Potulny signs with Finnish squad

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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.