No shortage of storylines tonight, but here’s a neat one — Aaron Dell, the 27-year-old that’s captured the backup gig behind Martin Jones in San Jose, will make his first-ever NHL start when the Sharks take on the Isles in Brooklyn.
Dell was undrafted out of the University of North Dakota, and kicked around the CHL, ECHL and AHL after leaving school. He caught on with the Sharks organization a couple seasons ago, and won backup job by putting up solid numbers for the AHL Barracuda in ’15-16.
He posted a 17-16-6 record — with a .922 save percentage, 2.42 GAA and six shutouts — and used that, along with a strong training camp and preseason, to beat out Troy Grosenick and Mantas Armalis for the No. 2 job.
Given Dell’s relative obscurity, there was some question if San Jose would go out and snag a goalie to back up Jones this season. There were rumblings the club might look at Scott Wedgewood after the Devils exposed him to waivers, given the Peter DeBoer connection (DeBoer was the head coach in New Jersey while Wedgewood was tending goal for AHL Albany.)
That rumor never came to fruition, though, and the Sharks opted to go with Dell.
For the Isles, Jaroslav Halak will be in net.
— Al Montoya starts his third game in a row for Montreal, as the Habs host the Pens. As mentioned, Pittsburgh played Colorado last night and didn’t skate this morning, so it could be Mike Condon making his team debut… against his former team, the Canadiens. If not, it’ll be Marc-Andre Fleury going back-to-back.
— Robin Lehner, fresh off his first win of the year Sunday in Edmonton, goes for the Sabres in Calgary. The Flames are making an interesting move by going with Chad Johnson for the second straight game, ahead of No. 1 netminder Brian Elliott, who struggled mightily to start the year.
Updated: Miller’s out for tonight. Vancouver, in need of an emergency backup, have signed University of British Columbia goalie Matt Hewitt. Hewitt, 23, used to play for WHL Regina but has spent the last four seasons at the Canadian University level.