Nashville Predators netminder Pekka Rinne should play around 60 games this season should he remain healthy, as Matt Bennett covered earlier. After an excellent stretch run last season which helped carry the team to the playoffs, Rinne ranks 13th overall amongst goalies in most drafts. In March of last season alone he totaled four shutouts showing his ability to play at an elite level.
According to David Poile, via NHL Live, his backup will be Anders Lindback and not Mark Dekanich or Chet Pickard. Dekanich was sent back to Milwaukee following a pre-season win by Lindback over Chris Mason and the Atlanta Thrashers. For some reason backup goalies seem to play their way into a starting role in Nashville and this 22-year-old goalie could get an extended look should Rinne falter.
Remember, Rinne almost lost his job altogether last season due to a streaky Dan Ellis; Lindback may be able to go on a similar tear although he has yet to show that at the NHL level.
Now for some bullets:
- The Atlanta Thrashers released former Phoenix Coyote and New York Ranger right wing Enver Lisin. Despite dynamite speed and an excellent shot the young man failed to show he could play at both ends of the ice and likely will not play in the NHL this season. Reports indicate he will sign with Metallurg of the KHL.
- Simon Despres keeps making a case to stick with the team. Tonight he will be paired with Kris Letang, should make for an interesting combination.
- Randy Carlyle and Bob Murray may be coming to their senses as they moved Bobby Ryan back to left wing. He should look more comfortable on the left side of Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. For the time being, Matt Beleskey should remain one of the luckiest men in hockey.
- Top Calgary Flames prospect Mikael Backlund will lace them up on the top line tonight with Olli Jokinen out. His 10 points in 23 games looked promising, centering Jarome Iginla seems even better. Alex Tanguay, naturally, will play on the other side.
- Per Jeff Marek, Kyle Beach, Igor Makarov, Brandon Pirri, Ben Smith and Brian Connell have all been sent to Rockford of the AHL.
- Brett Festerling, Danny Syvret, Brett Krahn, Staffan Kronwall, Sheldon Souray, Martin Gerber, Tim Conboy, Derek Whitmore and Colin Stuart cleared waivers. The two Anaheim defenseman (Syvret and Festerling) being demoted likely looks like Toni Lydman will return to the lineup on schedule.
- According to Tim Sassone, Jeremy Morin will get a pretty juicy opportunity to play with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp.
- Thomas Greiss’ days with the San Jose Sharks seem numbered. With the signings of both Antti Niemi and Antero Niittymaki, it should be just a matter of time before he gets placed on waivers and ultimately finds a new home. Todd McLellan thinks a waiver claim would be inevitable. Philly?
- Nikita Nikitin and Carlo Colaiacovo should start the season on injured reserve which clears the way for Alex Pietrangelo, Tyson Strachan and Ian Cole to duke it out for a spot.
- Christopher Higgins, Byron Bitz and Dmitry Kulikov will not play this weekend. Erik Gudbranson should play but would need a contract to play more than nine games for the Florida Panthers.
- Thomas Hickey got sent back to Manchester, giving the seventh position to overage standout Jake Muzzin. Still happy Lombardi didn’t take Karl Alzner?
- The Buffalo Sabres rid themselves of Tim Kennedy citing his size was too similar to Nathan Gerbe, Tyler Ennis, Derek Roy and Jason Pominville. A possibility to replace him, Luke Adam, scored two goals last night when the Sabres steamrolled over the Habs.
- Rick Nash returned to the lineup after being sidelined with a charley horse; fans in Columbus still have a glimmer of hope, for now.
- Brenden Morrow looks to bounce back from a down year for both his statistics and the team. The captain led the team last night to a 2-1 victory where he scored with under a minute left.
- The nominees for Rangers first line center are: Vinny Prospal, Erik Christensen and Derek Stepan. Rookie standout Michael Del Zotto leads the pre-season in points scored while last year’s rookie valedictorian looks awful with a minus 4 rating and one assist in five games.
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