Mike McKenna

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Talbot to help Flyers make NHL history as eighth goalie used this season

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Exactly two weeks after the Philadelphia Flyers acquired Cam Talbot from the Edmonton Oilers, the 31-year-old netminder will finally debut for his new team.

Talbot was the odd-man out after the deal, sitting in the pressbox for his first three games as a Flyer. Since Carter Hart’s injury, he’s been backing up Brian Elliott. Friday night he’ll finally get a start and help make NHL history in the process.

When the puck drops against the New Jersey Devils with Talbot in net, the Flyers will become the first NHL team to use eight  goalies in one season. They had been stuck on seven since Mike McKenna‘s start in early January and tied with the 1989-90 Quebec Nordiques, 2002-03 St. Louis Blues and the 2007-08 Los Angeles Kings.

Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon was one the seven who got a turn in goal for that Nordiques team.

Here’s a look at the games played for each of the eight goalies the Flyers have used this season:

Carter Hart – 22
Brian Elliott – 19
Anthony Stolarz – 12
Calvin Pickard – 11
Michal Neuvirth – 7
Alex Lyon – 2
Mike McKenna – 1
Cam Talbot – 0

The opportunity for Talbot arose because Friday’s game is the second game of a back-to-back following Thursday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Philadelphia is still clinging to slim playoff hopes with a six-point gap between them and the Carolina Hurricanes, who hold the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

Talbot hasn’t played since Feb. 9, but is certainly eager to get back between the pipes again. Hart is expected to return soon, so who knows when Talbot will get another look after Friday. In the meantime, enjoying making history!

“I don’t know if it’s something you really want to be a part of as a goalie or not,” Talbot said on Thursday via the Inquirer. “But here we are.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Trade: Flyers add Talbot, Oilers open up space for Sekera

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Cam Talbot is lucky No. 8.

The Philadelphia Flyers added Talbot to the fold late Friday night, acquiring the 31-year-old goaltender from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Anthony Stolarz.

Should Talbot get into one of the Flyers’ final 25 games — which he likely will — they will be the first team in NHL history to use eight goalies in a season. That just shows how weird this season has been on Broad Street. After some early season struggles, which saw general manager Ron Hextall and head coach Dave Hakstol fired within a 21-day span, they’ve ripped off a run that has seen them take 23 points from their last 14 games, putting them eight points out of an Eastern Conference wild card place and the third seed in the Metropolitan Division.

Emerging from the goalie carousel has been Carter Hart, the franchise’s goaltender of the future up until Dec. 17. He’s assumed the title of “goalie of the now” since after helping the Flyers win eight starts in a row and being a vital part of their recent run.

Talbot, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, comes to Philadelphia with an established relationship with Hart. The two have worked out together in the summer. “He’s a good mentor, a great guy, a good goalie,” Hart said on Thursday, adding that he called Talbot the night before his NHL debut for some advice.

This stablizes the goalie situation for the moment as Brian Elliott works his way back from injury down in the AHL on a conditioning stint and Michal Neuvirth is currently on injured reserve. In net had been Hart and Stolarz, the 25-year-old who was their second-round pick in 2012. Mike McKenna‘s been in the mix as well, but he’s only played twice since Dec. 28.

GM Chuck Fletcher will now get a good couple of months to see up close if Talbot, who’s posted a .909 even strength save percentage in 31 appearances with the Oilers, should be considered for an extension beyond this season and possibly act as a veteran backup/1B to Hart going forward.

This move for the Oilers helped them shed salary in order to have room to activate defenseman Andrej Sekera, who had surgery in August to repair a torn Achilles tendon. Stolarz can be a restricted free agent this summer, while they already have Mikko Koskinen locked up after extending the netminder for three years in January.

MORE: PHT NHL Trade Tracker

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Please welcome Mike McKenna to the Flyers’ goalie carousel

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Six goalies have played for the Philadelphia Flyers this season and there may very well soon be a seventh.

The Flyers plucked Mike McKenna off waivers on Friday, two days after the netminder was traded from the Ottawa Senators to the Vancouver Canucks. Just another day in the crease for that organization.

“Mike provides our organization added depth as we continue to battle injuries at the goaltending position,” said Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher. “He is a veteran goaltender with a tremendous amount of professional experience.”

Here’s an overview of the Flyers’ current goaltending situation:

Brian Elliott remains out with a lower-body injury but is “progressing pretty well,” according to Fletcher. He could be practicing again within the next two weeks.

Michal Neuvirth is dealing with a lower-body injury, according to interim head coach Scott Gordon. He’s set to miss Saturday’s game against the Calgary Flames and is considered day-to-day. He suffered the injury during Thursday night’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.

Anthony Stolarz may get back on the ice this weekend as he’s on the mend with a lower-body injury.

Carter Hart, who is healthy, has made five starts since being called up and posted a .900 even strength save percentage.

• Alex Lyon stays in the AHL and has helped the Phantoms win three of his last four starts.

• McKenna is a 35-year-old journeyman who’s played only 34 NHL games in his career while suiting up for nearly two dozen teams in The Show and the American Hockey League since 2006-07.

• Former GM Ron Hextall is still under contract with the team.

(Calvin Pickard was claimed on waivers by the Arizona Coyotes on Nov. 29.)

The Flyers became the 14th team in NHL history to start six goalies in a season when Hart made his debut. Could McKenna help them make more history as lucky No. 7?

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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

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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.