Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon is a guy who is never afraid to make a deal, but he may not be so eager to do that at the trade deadline this season.
George Richards of the Miami Herald heard from Tallon about a host of topics concerning the 15th place team in the Eastern Conference.
Tallon said he’s not ready to sell at the March 5 deadline just yet despite the team being 13 points back of the final wild card spot for the postseason. He said players like Brad Boyes, Tim Thomas, Jesse Winchester, and Tom Gilbert (who are all due to be free agents this summer) could come back next season. All of them would be attractive to teams looking to add a piece for a playoff run, however.
Speaking of Thomas, Tallon says the two have discussed him sticking around for another year. Tallon added emphatically that Thomas “absolutely” has a place there past this season. Both he and Scott Clemmensen are due to become free agents this summer and prospect Jacob Markstrom is biding his time in the minors.
Tallon says he would like to speak with soon-to-be restricted free agent defenseman Dmitry Kulikov about an extension but talks haven’t begun. He hopes to reach out to his agent soon to get things going there.
Florida goalie Tim Thomas didn’t last long into Friday’s start against Carolina, as he was yanked after allowing four goals on 14 shots in the opening 25 minutes of action.
It marked the first time the 39-year-old had been pulled since allowing four goals on 13 shots in an eventual 5-1 loss to Pittsburgh on Nov. 30.
The ugliness started early for Thomas and the Panthers tonight, as Riley Nash scored his eighth of the season at the 9:17 mark. Just over a minute later, Alex Semin made it 2-0 with his 14th of the year.
Nick Bjugstad and Brett Bellemore exchanged tallies to make it 3-1 Carolina at the end of the period, but the ‘Canes kept pressing early in the second and were rewarded just 4:36 in as Jiri Tlustly scored his ninth of the campaign.
That was it for Thomas. He was relieved by backup Scott Clemmensen, making his first appearance since Jan. 30.
The Panthers have not been playing well lately — they lost four of five coming into tonight, allowing 20 goals — and one wonders if Thomas could be moved when the NHL roster freeze is lifted after the Olympic break.
All the latest from the blue paint…
Luongo returns to Boston
Roberto Luongo will make his first start at TD Garden since the 2011 Stanley Cup Final when Vancouver takes on the Bruins tonight.
Eddie Lack has been in goal for Vancouver’s last two games — a 4-3 loss to Winnipeg and Monday’s 2-0 defeat in Detroit — so Luongo should be well-rested and ready to exorcise the demons that haunted him in Boston three years ago, when he allowed 15 goals over three games and got hooked twice.
The veteran netminder has played pretty well in January, going 3-4-0 with a 2.55 GAA and .921 save percentage. He’ll be up against Tuukka Rask tonight.
Lundqvist vs. Varlamov at Madison Square
Great goaltending matchup in New York as Henrik Lundqvist gets the start for the Rangers, going up against Avs No. 1 Semyon Varlamov.
Lundqvist, who won the ’12 Vezina and was a finalist last year, will face one of the leading candidates for this year’s award. Varlamov has been nothing short of outstanding all year long, ranking among the league leaders in wins (28), GAA (2.45) and save percentage (.925).
Jets at Hurricanes: Ondrej Pavelec vs. Anton Khudobin
Flames at Canadiens: Reto Berra vs. Carey Price
Maple Leafs at Panthers: Jonathan Bernier vs. Tim Thomas
Islanders at Capitals: Evgeni Nabokov vs. Michal Neuvirth
Senators at Blues: Robin Lehner vs. Jaroslav Halak
Lightning at Wild: Ben Bishop vs. Darcy Kuemper
Stars at Coyotes: Kari Lehtonen vs. Mike Smith