Jackets sign World Juniors standout Dansk

On Thursday, Columbus signed Oscar Dansk — the 31st overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft — to a three-year, entry-level contract.

Dansk, 20, is considered to be one of the best young netminding prospects in hockey. He starred for Sweden at the 2014 World Juniors, earning Top Goaltender honors on the strength of a 1.79 GAA and .982 save percentage.

This past season, Dansk went 29-9-1 for OHL Erie, posting six shutouts with a 2.39 GAA and .909 save percentage. Along with fellow Otters goalie Devin Williams, Dansk captured the 2013-14 Dave Pinkney Trophy for the OHL’s top goaltending tandem.

While Sergei Bobrovsky is the club’s goalie of the present and future, there are opportunities for Dansk within the Columbus organization. Veterans Mike McKenna, Jeremy Smith and Curtis McElhinney are pending UFAs, leaving Dansk to battle with fellow youngsters Anton Forsberg and Joonas Korpisalo for minutes, presumably with AHL Springfield.


Goalie nods: Bernier gets second straight start for Leafs; Montoya replaces Pavelec for Jets


I’ve never done this goalie nods thing before. Usually that’s up to Halford, but he’s busy talking fashion on Twitter. So what do I do? Just say who’s playing the position of goalie tonight in the NHL? I can do that.

Let’s start with the Penguins-Leafs game. For Pittsburgh, it’ll be Marc-Andre Fleury, who goes back in net after Jeff Zatkoff got the job done Saturday in Detroit. For Toronto, it’ll be Jonathan Bernier, who was in goal for the Leafs’ 7-3 victory over Chicago on Saturday. Maybe James Reimer will get the nod tomorrow versus Florida. His last outing was a rough one, getting pulled after allowing three goals on 15 shots versus the Blues. Though to be fair to Reimer, his teammates were “brain-dead.”

Moving on to Winnipeg-Columbus, in which it’ll be Al Montoya for the Jets and Mike McKenna for the Jackets. Montoya gets the start over Ondrej Pavelec, who’s struggled in December after a solid November. Pavelec is signed through 2016-17 for a cap hit of $3.9 million. Not the greatest contract on the Jets’ books, given the 26-year-old’s career save percentage is just .907.

Next up, the Blues versus the Senators. For St. Louis, Brian Elliott. For Ottawa, Robin Lehner. Goaltending has been a weakness for both these teams this season; however, it’s especially hurt the Sens, who surrender an average of 34.1 shots per game, compared to the Blues at just 25.5. You know what they say — the best goalie is controlling the puck at the other end of the ice. (Not sure they actually say that, but they should.)

Finally, it’ll be Kari Lehtonen for the Stars versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs. About a month ago, we called Lehtonen the most under-rated goalie in the NHL. At the time, his save percentage was .932. Since then, it’s fallen to .919. Sorry about the jinx, Kari.

Anders Lindback will try and fix Tampa’s long-running goalie problem


When the Tampa Bay Lightning won the Stanley Cup in 2004 with Nikolai Khabibulin in net, things were looking good in goal. Following the lockout, however, things have been nothing short of ugly for Tampa Bay in goal.

When you run down the list of guys who have taken up residence in the Lightning net since then you can understand why GM Steve Yzerman ponied up big for Nashville’s Anders Lindback.

Take a look at this list of failed goalies since the Cup-winning year: , Gerald Coleman, Brian Eklund, John Grahame, Sean Burke, Marc Denis, Johan Holmqvist, Karri Ramo, Mike McKenna, Olaf Kolzig, Riku Helenius, Mike Smith, Dan Ellis, Antero Niittymaki, Dustin Tokarski, Cedrick Desjardins, Dwayne Roloson, Sebastien Caron, and Mathieu Garon.

Yikes. Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune hears from Yzerman about what he’s hoping Lindback can provide the Lightning next season.

“It’s an important position, I can’t deny that,” said Yzerman, entering his third season at the Lightning helm. “Ultimately, you want to find that starter that you can put in there for 65 games, under two goals against (average) and in the .930 (save percentage) range – and that’s a priority.

“There aren’t many of them out there and it’s a tough position. The consistently elite guys, you just don’t get those guys.”

Can Lindback be the new stud to bring Tampa Bay to glory or is he just another name to add to the list? Lindback hasn’t gotten to prove much in the NHL and his future could be great or mediocre. Who knew Yzerman was such a gambler?