After sweating things out for the past 24 hours, Detroit has a starting goalie for tonight’s battle with the New York Rangers.
Veteran backup Ty Conklin cleared re-entry waivers and according to Helene St. James of the Free Press, will get the start on Broadway this evening. With Jimmy Howard again bothered by groin issues and Joey MacDonald out with back problems, the Wings had put the call out to bring back Conklin.
Had Conklin not cleared, rookie Jordan Pearce would’ve gotten the call tonight to make his first career NHL start. Instead, Conklin will make his first appearance with the Wings since February 4 when he gave up three goals in 20 minutes to the Edmonton Oilers. On the upside for the Wings, Howard tells St. James that he’s hopeful to start Saturday’s game against Carolina.
One of the most enticing question for hardcore hockey fans goes like this:
“How dangerous would an already-tough Nashville Predators team be with Alex Radulov added to the mix?”
The story has been gaining traction for at least a week now, but the dream is starting to become a pinch-me reality for once-spurned Predators fans (who look at him as something of a “prodigal son”). TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the NHLPA could open the door for his return, which would best be illustrated merely by showing his Tweet:
Radulov’s incentive for coming back is immense as he’d burn the last season of his entry-level deal if he played for the Predators during the rest of the regular season and the playoffs. Even as a pending restricted free agent in that scenario, he could make a bucket of money – especially if he takes Nashville deep into the playoffs.
As useful as Andrei Kostitsyn and Mike Fisher have been, merely getting Radulov back would be the biggest offensive addition Nashville has enjoyed in years. (If you’re super-clever, you might call it addition by subtracted subtraction.)
Anyway, it’s a fun situation, but Dreger’s all-caps IF shows that it’s not a sure thing. Stuff like this is too enjoyable not to burst at the seams about at least a bit, so let me ask: what kind of impact could a contract-year Radulov make on the playoffs? Could the bump they receive from a player who might immediately become their most potent offensive catalyst even convince Shea Weber and/or Ryan Suter to stay?
Could Radulov’s return (and possible signing) even soothe some of the pain if Weber and Suter leave?
The situation naturally breeds all sorts of fun questions, so have at it.
With the trade deadline on the way on Monday, today was the day for teams to place guys on waivers. TSN’s Bob McKenzie has the full run down of today’s action.
The busiest team was Columbus as they placed forward Ryan Russell and defenseman Grant Clitsome on waivers while claiming former Maple Leafs forward Darryl Boyce. Boyce slots in as a checking forward and should get time on Columbus’ fourth line. Clitsome is the intriguing guy here as he’s got another year left on his deal at just over $1 million, but he’s a guy that could be useful to a team in need of blue line help.
The Islanders and Devils shuffled around veteran forwards as the Isles waived Brian Rolston and the Devils put Eric Boulton out there to be potentially taken off their hands. Rolston is in the final year of his contract that’s paying him over $5 million against the salary cap. The Isles are stuck with his cap hit unless another team grabs him thanks to his deal being a 35-and-over contract.
Calgary also got in the action putting Krys Kolanos on waivers while Minnesota put Brad Staubitz on re-entry waivers. Any team claiming Staubitz gets him at half-price. Don’t expect much action there.
Antero Niittymaki might just finally get his wish.
After hoping to find a way to just play in a few games, the Sharks have put the Finnish netminder on waivers.
Niittymaki was squeezed out of the Sharks’ goalie rotation thanks to injury and with how well Thomas Greiss has played behind Antti Niemi and after rehabbing his hip injury he’s eager to play.
The problem for Niittymaki is that there’s nowhere to go in San Jose and given how little Greiss plays, there’s no chance for him with the Sharks. With those post-injury worries in mind, we’ll find out now if teams in need of a lift in goal bite on picking up Niittymaki.
The Tampa Bay Lighting have been struggling in goal all season but after winning four in a row, GM Steve Yzerman may not want to risk mixing things up. If Tampa Bay opted to grab Niittymaki it would be a familiar situation as he played for the Lightning two seasons ago.
Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson is trying to do things to change the team’s fortunes. He’s trying.
Howson pulled the trigger and grabbed former Wild first-round pick Colton Gillies off of waivers. Unfortunately for the Blue Jackets, Gillies was on waivers from the Wild for a reason – he hasn’t been very good.
In 89 career games with the Wild, Gillies has just three goals and seven assists. He’s a career fourth line grinder type of forward and going to Columbus in that sort of role is curious as the Blue Jackets have plenty of guys who fill that need as it is.
Howson must be banking on Gillies’ familiarity with interim coach Todd Richards and having a change of scenery to maybe unlock his career. Gillies played in just seven games for Richards last season in Minnesota.