Latest on the Stars and Penguins – March 11, 2017

by | Mar 11, 2017 | Rumors | 45 comments

Will the Dallas Stars replace their current goalie tandem of Antti Niemi and Kari Lehtonen this summer?

A look at the Dallas Stars goaltending options in the offseason and where Mark Streit and Ron Hainsey fit into the Pittsburgh Penguins’ potential plans beyond this season in your NHL rumor mill. 

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent live chat, Mike Heika examined the Stars’ potential offseason goaltending options. He doubts the club will stick with its current tandem of Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi.

Both have a year remaining on their respective contracts. Heika wonders if they’ll bail on both goalies. Buyouts ($1.9 million per season for Lehtonen, $1.5 million annually for Niemi) would be in effect for the next two seasons.

If the Stars shed one or both, Heika wonders if they’ll pursue Antti Raanta of the New York Rangers or Philipp Grubauer of the Washington Capitals via trade or Chicago Blackhawks netminder Scott Darling via unrestricted free agency. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Goaltending was the Stars biggest weakness over the last two seasons. They simply cannot return next season with the current tandem. Perhaps they’ll be able to trade Lehtonen or Niemi to clubs in need of reaching the salary-cap minimum next season, or to a club seeking a goaltender to expose in the expansion draft. I suggested a swap of Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pens to the Stars for Niemi before the trade deadline, but obviously that deal wasn’t there.

The Rangers and Capitals could lose Raanta or Grubauer in the expansion draft. Both are likely trade candidates before the expansion draft. Given the respective cap payrolls and the offseason roster plans of both clubs, they might not have the room to take on Lehtonen or Niemi unless the Stars are willing to pick up half the salary. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Dave Molinari recently reported veteran defensemen and pending UFAs Mark Streit and Ron Hainsey aren’t thinking about their plans for next season. Acquired by the Penguins before the trade deadline, he speculated the Penguins’ interest in re-signing either player will be determined by their performances over the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs.

Molinari also noted  that “Trevor Daley and Chad Ruhwedel will be unrestricted free agents after this season, while Justin Schultz, Brian Dumoulin and Derrick Pouliot will be restricted.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The cost of re-signing Streit and/or Hainsey will also be a factor. The Penguins have over $59 million invested in 15 players for next season. Assuming the cap rises to $76 million as recently suggested by NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, the Pens will have roughly $17 million to work with. Schultz and Dumoulin are the priorities and will be due a significant raise on a long-term deal. They must also re-sign or replace pending free agent forwards Conor Sheary, Nick Bonino, Chris Kunitz and Matt Cullen. Streit ($5.25 million cap hit) and Hainsey ($2.83 million) will have to accept significant pay cuts to remain with the Penguins. 


  1. Lyle.

    No NHL team has trouble making the cap floor. Carolina has the lowest cap hit in the NHL they are 12 million above the floor.

    • Striker, the cap minimum this season is $54 million. The Canes are only $2.7 million over the floor. Should the cap rise as projected by Bill Daly to $76 million, the cap floor could rise to between $55-$56 million. The Canes have $41 million invested in 15 players for next season. Could they reach the floor easily this summer? Sure, but they, or another club, could need to spend to become cap compliant.

  2. & here I thought Dallas’s biggest problem the last 2 years was defense. Not just the quality of their defense but team defense as well. I don’t think any goalie helps what ails Dallas.

    • If you watch the stars in their own end the defense is actually playing solid but the goaltending gives up bad rebounds and let a lot of soft goals in

      • I’ve been to 23 games in Dallas live so far this year. It’s not pretty.

    • With better goaltending the team gains confidense and olays better in thete own end. They go hand in hand.

      • To some extent but bad defense means you lose.

        Schneider has looked pretty avergae playing behind what has to be 1 of the 3 worst D’s in the NHL with Dallas & Colorado.

      • Dallas is better than Toronto on defense just the goaltending is the major problem in Dallas! If you really follow systems you can see Dallas defense playing solid just goaltending don’t make the saves they should

      • Ive seen one dallas game. The Sens kicked their but because they didnt play D. They were soft and allowed rhe Sens in the zone and around the net way to easily.

        If that is what you consider D. Im amazed.

        Look at calgary. Granted the picked up stone to solidify the D. Once Elliot startied making saves the D also improved tremendously.

        Goaltending provides more to a team than mete saves.

    • Stars defense is actually among the middle of the pack, giving up the 14th most shots-against per game (30.4). Their goaltending, however, is the third-worst in the league (3.21), behind only the Avs (3.28) and Coyotes (3.22). It’s apparent what their biggest weakness is, Striker. To suggest that an improvement between the pipes, as you did in your first comment, wouldn’t improve things is, quite frankly, an odd statement. Yes, the defense could be better, but it’s the lousy goaltending that hurt them throughout this season.

      • Exactly right Lyle that goaltending has been terrible all yr

  3. pens should be careful with schultz. Having a great year but in a sheltered role… though he has done decent in a slightly less sheltered role since letang is out. if he wants middle pairing money 3-4.5 mil a year then go for it… if he wants 5 + per year he might be better off leaving. Dumo’s regression should keep him affordable. hainsey and streight both look good… dont see streit coming back unless theSchultz prices himself out or letang is out for good. Hainsey I could see taking a small cut to come back

    • I’m not sure how sheltered he’s been. Schultz that is. He’s not killing penalties but 3rd in TOI/GP at ES & 4th in TOI/GP overall just nominally behind Dumoulin. Essentially playing as a 2nd pairing Dman.

      Where are all the people that had written Schultz off? 4th in the league for scoring by Dman plus 29! to young to write off & it only took 1 more life not 9.

      • At least before Hainsey was acquired.

      • He gets a majority of his starts in offensive zone…he rarely had to drag Daley around. thats 2 points. Pens are using him appropriately which is good. But those being paid as top pair material should not have to be sheltered. Middle pairing sure

      • Agreed.

      • Since you so high on krug maybe his contract is a good comparable

      • Everyone wrote every oiler off. Despite so much evidence that the team was cobstrucylted poorly.

        Hall, Dubnyck, Schultz, were no good to many of you. Eberle, RNH currently.

      • Krug has dveloped progressively. Schultz not so much. He isn’t getting that kind of money yet.

        He would need to show more consistency 1st. He would be smart to sign a 1 year show me deal again for like 3.5 to 4.

      • Tough call on that. Until recently I forgot vegas can negotiate with rfas and that gives them slight advantage. He might be able to aim higher… but I’d love to see the 3.5-4 range.

  4. Dallas has no choice but to address their crease next year. Not necessarily because of the goalies themselves, as their defence is not great, but goaltending has been discussed for so long their now that management has to deal with it to show they are looking to move forward. Acquiring two good defensemen would help their as well. Either through free agency or a trade. That’s tough to do of course, but the defenders they need to acquire don’t have to be flashy just reliable. But they do need to find a quality goalie.

    • Their- ownership
      There- place
      They’re- they are

      I do know the difference!?

      • Thar- as in “that varmit is over thar. “.

      • Teah sure you googled it after the fact.

        Haha. Im teasing. I cant make fun of what anyone else types. Im the worst.

    • I think we all agree Dallas will have a new starter when next season starts. I assume 1 of the existing goalies will be bought out, maybe both.

  5. I could see the Pens bringing back 2 of the 3 of Hainsey, Streit or (less likely) Daley…after they trade Maatta to keep him from Vegas and resign Schultz.


    I (actually don’t, but I’ll play along for argument’s sake) kinda understand when the Oilers un-retired Kevin Lowe’s #4 to give it to young star and franchise player (at the time) Taylor Hall.

    But…Kris Russell???

    Was Lowe such a bad executive they now refuse to honor him as a player?

    • pens will keep maatta over hags or horny and rightfully so. they protect 8 and 1. crosby, malkin, kessel, sundquist, shultz, maatta, letang, dumo. murray. unless shultz wants top pairing money… then they need to let him walk or try to trade his rights. anything over 5 mil is to much for a player who needs to have sheltered use.

      • Their not protecting Sundquist

      • Dunno. I wouldn’t. But lots of rumors out there that he was a sticking point in a shat deal. I could see horny protected over sund but they may go young as horny only has one year left.

  6. There is no way Sheary is going anywhere. He will be affordable. Same for Hainsey. The others I am not sure. Schultz is an elite skater and fits. Dollars will dictate. Who is on defence for Dallas ? (without looking) – I could only name Klingberg. That is a problem

  7. While there has been some speculation about what would be offered to Las Vegas to pass on a given player, I haven’t noticed any that considered offering enticements to Las Vegas for selecting a given player. For example, rather than buying out Niemi, Dallas would propose a reasonable offer of a player or draft selections to the Knights for making an exposed Niemi one of their three goalie selections. The Knights could do as they please with him after that, other than buying him out.

    • I think its because they could do the same via trade afterwards. Dallas wants rid of Niemi? then they trade him to vegas with a pick or prospect. No reaso for vegas not to get the expansion asset AND the asset from the trade. poor business management from vegas part if they did what you proposed.

      • Drafting three mandatory goalies (and contracts) then dealing for Niemi would be a poorer use of assets than drafting three goalies inclusive of Niemi. Depending on which goalies are exposed and which are free agents, Vegas, like all the other NHL teams, might not even want to talk about Niemi after the draft. I would think that Vegas would rather have a draft course plotted before the draft, anyway, so as not to be stuck with too much of one thing.

      • Dunno. They could focus on younger assets that they either develop or flip for more picks prospects. 30 players and 7 picks isn’t enough to build a system. If they need 22 players for a NHL roster that leaves 8 players and 7 picks to build a farm. They ought to look at expansion for more younger players and add NHL players in fa and trades via salary dumps. Get additional picks prospects that way

      • Expansion was designed so that Vegas could compete immediately. The NHL would be humiliated and financially stressed if the franchise founders. The best way to avoid that is to construct the best possible Golden Knights roster and establish a rooting fan base, thereby. Vegas can worry about populating the farm after the entry draft and whatever trades that might bring. It can’t make definite building plans until it knows which materials are available. The Reid Duke signing is the only the first.

      • The NHL is humiliated every year with teams failing to reach potential. To say vegas should come into the league as a playoff contender is asinine. They should hope not to be an embarrassment. And planning for a couple years down the road would meet that.

      • If Vegas is even remotely near the playoffs this time next year winged pigs will be dive-bombing the White House!

  8. IF Dallas wants Raanta they can offer Niemi with 75% cap retained and rights to Nichushkin

    • You can only retain 50%

      • He’s doing well in da burgh but he is a bottom pairing guy. 2 mil is a gift and he should take it

      • See below ?

  9. I don’t see Hainsey resigning with Pittsburgh at his current salary. He took a significant pay cut after the last strike and he will be looking for more money and years than Pittsburgh is willing to give.

    • If he gets more money it’s a major mistake, he is barely an NHL dman anymore

      • Barley an NHL defenseman but playing over 22 minutes per game.

  10. Same salary or less for Hainsey ($2.8)- 2 year term. Flames have been paying for Smid for more than that and longer than that ! Thank go that deal is over next year.