NHL Rumor Mill – August 18, 2016
Latest on the Dallas Stars goaltending, the Colorado Avalanche’s search for a coach and how the Boston Bruins did in their interview with Jimmy Vesey.
NBC SPORTS: Jason Brough reports goaltending remains an issue for the Dallas Stars heading into 2016-17. Kari Lehtonen (.899 save percentage in the 2016 playoffs) and Antti Niemi (.865 SP) didn’t provide the type of goaltending expected from a tandem earning a combined salary-cap hit of $10.4 million. Their regular-season stats were also modest. Brough cited Dallas Morning News beat writer Mike Heika speculating Stars general manager Jim Nill will wait and see how things play out this season.
Earlier this summer, there was speculation the Stars had interest in Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop. Though Bishop is a UFA next summer and could prove too expensive for the Bolts to re-sign, they could hang onto him next season as they evaluate promising Andrei Vasilevskiy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nill wouldn’t buy out Lehtonen or Niemi and couldn’t find anyone to take either guy off his hands to free up room for a replacement. He has little choice but to start the season with his current tandem and see how things unfold. Bishop or Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury could become available before the February trade deadline. Perhaps another goalie could also hit the trade block. Even then, Nill will have to find a way to move out Lehtonen or Niemi.
AVALANCHE COACHING SEARCH
THE MERCURY NEWS: Curtis Pashelka reports San Jose Sharks assistant coach Bob Boughner could be among those under consideration for the vacant head coach position with the Colorado Avalanche. Washington Capitals assistant Lane Lambert and Jared Bednar of the AHL champion Lake Erie Monsters could also be on the Avs list.
ESPN.COM’S Craig Custance reports the Anaheim Ducks could grant permission for the Avalanche to speak with assistant coach Paul MacLean if they ask for it. Los Angeles Kings assistant coach Davis Payne could be another possibility.
THE DENVER POST: Former University of Denver coach George Gwozdecky and his successor Jim Montgomery have not been approached by the Avalanche.
UPDATE ON JIMMY VESEY
THE BOSTON GLOBE: The Bruins reportedly did very well in their meeting yesterday with promising unrestricted free agent forward Jimmy Vesey. He’s expected to reach a decision on which NHL club he’ll sign with by this weekend. Vesey also met with the Chicago Blackhawks, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs this week.