Rumor Roundup: Stars, Flyers and Senators buzz

Kari Lehtonen (Getty Images)

Since last season, the Dallas Stars’ fortunes have risen or fallen based upon the goaltending of Kari Lehtonen. In 2013-14, Lehtonen’s solid performance (33-20-10, 2.41 GAA, .919 SP) was instrumental in the Stars reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The 31-year-old’s struggles this season (30-14-10, 2.87 GAA, .906 SP) put the club’s playoff hopes on thin ice.

It’s also prompted some questions over Lehtonen’s future in Dallas. There’s been speculation Stars GM Jim Nill could consider finding a more reliable starter, but replacing his current one (who’s earning $5.9 million annually for three more seasons) won’t be easy. Lehtonen also has a partial no-trade clause. Read more

How the Dallas Stars can turn things around next season

Jared Clinton
Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

When it came to pre-season predictions, the Dallas Stars were supposed to be the next big thing in the Central Division. They added big names, had promising depth and the playoffs seemed certain. Now, 70 games later and with their playoffs hopes all but dashed, how does Dallas turn things around next season?

The answer, or so most people thought early on, would have been to replace what looks like a mediocre defense corps. Sure, Alex Goligoski and Trevor Daley are Dallas’ bigger names, but top-flight, Norris Trophy-contending defensemen? There are none in the Stars’ lineup. But as it turns out their defense has held up about as well as, if not better than, could be expected for a team that has no standouts on the backend.

The real issue for Dallas lies between the pipes. You need look no further than the Minnesota Wild for proof. Read more

Five freshmen exceeding all expectations in their rookie seasons

John Klingberg (Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)

Andrew Hammond’s run between the pipes for the Ottawa Senators is one of the best stories of the season. He won’t, however, be getting a nod for the Calder Trophy anytime soon. It’s not because he’s undeserving, but rather because he doesn’t technically qualify.

Hammond was 26 before September 2014 and, as such, was too old to be eligible for the trophy as the league’s best rookie. He may have just had an outside shot at winning the thing if he were to muscle the Senators in the postseason, too. Alas, he’ll have to settle for free McDonald’s for the rest of his life.

So, while Hammond won’t be on this list of the top five unexpectedly good rookie seasons, here are several players who are turning heads in their freshman years: Read more

Prospect Hot List: Hunting for Hobey in Denver

Joey LaLeggia (Photo By Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The playoffs are almost upon us in major junior, while the NCAA conference tournaments are in full swing. Since some teams have already been eliminated, early signing season has begun too, with Brandon Montour leaving UMass for Anaheim and Ben Hutton ending his career in Maine to ink a deal with Vancouver. More are sure to come, but until then, here’s a look around the world of prospects.

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Waiver-wire pickup David Schlemko makes memorable debut with Flames, scores jaw-dropping shootout winner

David Schlemko scores on Tuukka Rask. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

On Saturday, defenseman David Schlemko was a waiver-wire pickup of the Calgary Flames. Five days later, he made his debut for the organization Thursday night on the road against the Boston Bruins – and made it memorable by scoring a stunning, game-winning shootout goal on star netminder Tuukka Rask.

The Flames are the third NHL team for the 27-year-old Schlemko this season: The Edmonton native began the year in Arizona and appeared in 20 games for the Coyotes (scoring one goal and four points) before the team waived him January 2; and the Dallas Stars picked him up one day later and employed him for just five games before putting him back on the waiver wire Feb. 28. Calgary had just lost blueliner and captain Mark Giordano for the season with a torn biceps, so Schlemko was plucked off waivers March 1, but he didn’t play in the Flames’ March 3 game against Philadelphia. And after Calgary and the Bruins were tied at three goals apiece at the end of overtime in Boston, Schlemko was the eighth Flames shooter in the shootout. He did not disappoint – unless you were Rask and his teammates:
Read more

Predators center Mike Ribeiro sued for alleged sexual assault of former nanny

Adam Proteau
Nashville Predators' Mike Ribeiro

As first reported by TMZ.com Wednesday, Nashville Predators center Mike Ribeiro is being sued for more than $1 million in damages by a nanny he and his wife employed in Texas for an alleged sexual assault and for threats made against her in 2012.

Full details of the lawsuit were not immediately released, but Larry Friedman, the attorney for the woman behind the lawsuit, told The Associated Press Thursday she’d been sexually assaulted by Ribeiro shortly after graduating from high school and when Ribeiro had been playing for the Dallas Stars. The young woman said she didn’t alert the authorities because she was “terrified”. And Ribeiro’s wife, Tamara, is alleged in the suit to have “made inappropriate comments and/or threats” to her. Read more

Isles’ Matt Martin suspended one game for hit on Stars defenseman Trevor Daley

Adam Proteau
Matt Martin (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

New York Islanders left winger Matt Martin was suspended for one game by the NHL’s department of player safety Wednesday for his knee-on-knee collision with veteran Stars blueliner Trevor Daley.

The collision took place early in the first period of Tuesday’s game between the Islanders and Dallas. Martin received a five-minute major penalty for kneeing on the play, as well as a game misconduct. But the league, which in its ruling Wednesday night referred to the play as “reckless”, decided that supplemental discipline was necessary: Read more