NHL notes: Three first-timers named Vezina Trophy finalists

Tuukka Rask, Ben Bishop and Semyon Varlamov are this year's Vezina Trophy finalists. (QMI...

Tuukka Rask, Ben Bishop and Semyon Varlamov are this year's Vezina Trophy finalists. (QMI Agency/AFP)

Frank Pingue, Reuters

, Last Updated: 8:22 PM ET

Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins and Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche were named finalists for the Vezina Trophy, given to the top goalie, the NHL said on Friday.

The three goalies, who were the top three vote-getters on ballots submitted by the general managers of the 30 National Hockey League teams, are all first-time finalists.

Bishop, 27, set multiple franchise records in backstopping the Lightning to a second-place finish in the Atlantic Division in his first season as a starter.

Rask, 27, was the only goalie to rank among the NHL's top five in each of the major statistical categories as he helped the Bruins finish first overall for the first time since 1990.

Varlamov, 25, who ranked first in the NHL in shots faced and saves, also led the led the league and set a franchise record with 41 victories.

The award winner will be named June 24 at the NHL awards ceremony in Las Vegas.

WANG FORMALIZES SALE OFFER?

The New York Islanders could have a new owner in the near future.

Charles Wang released a formal offer sheet to potential bidders this week that would see the Isles owner sell a majority stake in the team, a finance industry source told SportsBusiness Journal.

The memo says Wang is offering 75% ownership of the team, with a five-year option on the other 25%. It also says the team is valued at $370 million.

Also, the memo reveals the Isles had an operating loss of $4.8 million, but received $15 million from the NHL that helped offset the shortfall through the league's revenue sharing plan and escrow payments.

The Islanders missed the playoffs for the seventh time in nine seasons, and haven't been past the first round of the post-season since 1993.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said he spoke with Wang Tuesday morning about selling the team.

"The last public communication on this was Charles Wang's statement saying that he is listening to the expressions of interest that he's getting, and he hasn't decided whether or not he's going to take them to the next step," Bettman told ESPN.com Wednesday.

Earlier discussions with prospective buyers had Wang offering between 30% and 49% of ownership with Wang staying on in a majority role for the next two seasons.

Wang is moving the team from the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, the Islanders' home since their inception in 1972, to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season.

EX-ISLES EXEC PLEADS GUILTY

Stephen Walsh, a former partner in a group that bought the Islanders in 1991, faces up to 20 years in jail after pleading guilty Friday to massive fraud, Newsday reported.

Walsh, 69, was an Islanders executive from 1991 until 2000, when the group sold the franchise to current owner Charles Wang.

Walsh agreed to forfeit $50 million as part of his plea in a Manhattan courtroom to securities fraud. He helped run an investment advisory business that scammed customers.

"Stephen Walsh and his partner Paul Greenwood ran an investment operation that was a veritable moneymaking machine -- for them," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement after the plea. "Their purported investing strategy wasn't nearly as effective as their fraudulent sales pitch to investors. Walsh personally pocketed tens of millions in stolen investor dollars."

Greenwood, also a former Islanders executive, pleaded guilty in 2010.

CALLAHAN LIKES BOLTS DIRECTION

Ryan Callahan can see himself continuing his career with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"You want to be on a team where the organization is going in the right direction," Callahan said following team exit interviews Friday. "You can definitely see that they are doing that here, with the amount of young talent. The future does look bright."

The former New York Rangers captain was acquired at the NHL trade deadline March 5 for Martin St. Louis, who was miffed at initially being left off Canada's Olympic squad by Bolts general manager and Team Canada executive director Steve Yzerman.

Yzerman and head coach Jon Cooper both would like to see Callahan return to Tampa. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Callahan had six goals and 11 points in 20 games with the Lightning after putting up 11 goals and 25 points in 49 games with the Rangers.


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