Goalie nods: Smith, 27, to make NHL debut for Avs
Colorado will get to look at another goalie in the system tonight.
Jeremy Smith, the 27-year-old journeyman that’s spent all year in AHL San Antonio, will make his big league debut when the Avs take on the Devils in New Jersey.
Smith, originally drafted back in 2007, has played almost exclusively in the American League during his career, with stops in Milwaukee, Springfield, Providence, Iowa and finally San Antonio, where he’s 5-8-0 with a .911 save percentage and 2.57 GAA this season.
Prior to tonight, the closest Smith came to the NHL was with Boston, who recalled him from the minors a few times. But he never saw game action with the B’s.
Tonight’s start comes after the Avs shut No. 1 Semyon Varlamov down for the year, which left them with a Calvin Pickard-Spencer Martin duo. Martin, who made his NHL debut back in late January, has since been returned to the minors.
Martin, 21, was likely sent back to save his confidence. It was a big ask for him to play at the NHL level in this stage of his career, made even bigger by asking him to play behind the worst team in the league. Martin’s only in his second full season of pro hockey and, unsurprisingly, struggled to an 0-2-1 mark with the Avs, posting a 4.35 GAA and .865 save percentage.
For the Devils, Cory Schneider starts in goal.
-- Vancouver will start Ryan Miller after Jacob Markstrom beat the Sabres on Sunday. Matt Murray also returns to the net after a night off, as Marc-Andre Fleury played (and lost) on Saturday.
-- The streaking Isles will stick with Thomas Greiss in goal when they take on the Leafs in Toronto. Greiss will square off against Frederik Andersen, who has lost three straight while posting an .887 save percentage over that stretch.
-- Robin Lehner goes up against his old team, as the Sabres invade Ottawa. Craig Anderson makes his second consecutive start since rejoining the Sens, having posted a 33-save shutout in his return on Saturday.
-- John Gibson has struggled lately, losing three of four while posting a .898 save percentage. He’ll look to get things on track tonight in Minnesota. The Wild, as they almost always do, are starting Devan Dubnyk, who’s emerged as the favorite for the Vezina Trophy.
-- Connor Hellebuyck starts again for the Jets, as Ondrej Pavelec is out hurt (he was placed on IR today). The visiting Stars will go with Antti Niemi, who starts for the first time in three games.
-- It’s Cam Talbot versus Louis Domingue as the Oilers host the Coyotes in Edmonton.