Saturday, April 7, 2012

Top Available Goalies This Offseason


Potential Starter's

Tomas Vokoun, 36: 25-17-2/ 2.51/ .917
Vokoun is a stud. Puts up good numbers every year. I think, depending on what happens in the playoffs the Capitals may or may not get a deal done to re-sign him. If he hits free agency he'll most likely be the most established goalie available with Nabokov having re-signed on the Island.

Josh Harding, 28: 13-12-4/ 2.62/ .917
Harding is a guy who has played well since he's entered the league but has never had a shot at being a starter playing behind Backstrom in Minnesota. He could be approaching his prime and as a UFA for the first time he will be looking for a situation where he can go and be a starting goalie.

Johan Hedberg, 39: 17-7-2/ 2.22/ .918
The old man can still stop the puck. Winning three quarters of his starts, he quietly put up amazing numbers in New Jersey. This guy has had a losing record just once since the lockout (14-15-3 in '08 with Atlanta). I See "Moose" as being a quality back up, capable of playing upwards of 30 games and winning 15-20 of them. Could be a great bargain too. Underrated goalie.

Martin Brodeur, 40: 30-21-4/ 2.41/ .907
Doubt Marty would leave NJ at this point in his career. I would imagine he'll stay in NJ where he's been a God for the last 20 years, or retire. But for every Yzerman, Sakic, and Jeter, there is a Favre, Modano, and Bourque who do change teams. Long shot, but had to include him.

Martin Biron, 34: 12-6-2/ 2.46/ 9.04
Biron hasn't been a starter in 3 years (29-19-5 with Philly in '09) but has always been a very good goalie and could potentially be a 1A/tandem goalie in the right situation. He always seems to play well and post solid numbers in goal.

Al Montoya, 27: 9-10-5/ 2.96/ 8.97
Not great numbers. Typically my rule is your GAA should be below 3.00, and SV% above .900 to be considered respectable. Montoya was hovering around both those numbers so he was pretty average stats wise, but keeping in mind he was playing on one of the worst teams in the Islanders. Montoya was a big time prospect 8 years ago (drafted 6th overall in the '04 draft) and has shown flashes of why. A lot of goalies don't come into their own until they are in their late 20's and I wouldn't be surprised to see Montoya find a good situation where he can succeed and become a legitimate starter. Or he might just be a back up, it could really go either way with this guy.

A few notable back ups

Chris Mason, 36: 8-7-1/ 2.59/ .898
Decent back up numbers for the Jets. He was pretty much a .500 goalie with average numbers and average play across the board. Could have a bit left in the tank in a back up role.

Dwayne Roloson, 42: 12-16-3/ 3.68/ .886
These are bad numbers, even for a back up. The veteran, who turns 43 at the start of next season will almost definitely retire. But he did look okay for stretches this year and could sign a cheap deal as a back up. Rolly never puts up spectacular numbers in the regular season but routinely goes deep in the playoffs (conference final last year, Cup final in '06, conference final in '03). His clutch play could make him an interesting option for a team looking for depth in goal, and he's a goalie who is used to playing in a tandem role. (As I write this Elliot Friedman reports that Rolly kept the game puck after tonights Tampa game and will most likely retire. Great career, if not for his fluke injury late in game 6 of the 2006 Cup final he would have his name on the Cup. Bad break, but great goalie, and great career.)

Marty Turco, 37: 2-2-0/ 3.68/ .855
These numbers are just terrible. Marty has actually been a .500 goalie for a while now (11-11-3 in '11, 22-20-11 in '10, 33-31-10 in '09). You have to go back to '08 to find him as a legit, winning starter (32-21-6). He used to be one of the best and he may retire, but I think he could be a good pick up as a veteran back up, especially for a team with a young goalie who could use a good team guy. Turco is a character and would bring a ton of experience to the bench. Just a side note, his performance against Vancouver in the 2007 playoffs has to be the greatest goaltending performance in a losing effort in NHL history. He had 3 shutouts in that series, carrying Dallas on his back, a GAA of 1.30 and a SV% of .952. Dallas lost this series...are you kidding me!

Other goalies like Clemmensen, Auld, Gustavsson, etc. Are UFA's too.

*For anyone thinking "none of these guys are any good except for (so and so)" just remember, many questioned if Theodore could return to form and be a starter again after a few mediocre seasons but he's played really well for Florida. Goaltending is a tricky position to predict sometimes. Another under the radar signing was Mike Smith in Phoenix, look how that turned out.

Available via trade

A few names being rumoured include:

Niklas Backstrom, Minnesota - Another bad season for the Wild, the rumours were out there at the deadline. I could see them shopping Backstrom's $6 million salary for some help up front and then re-signing Harding.

Tim Thomas, Boston - Entering the final year of his contract and coming off a slight decline this season, I could see Boston maximizing the value on Thomas and moving him either in the offseason or sometime throughout the season and handing the reigns over to Tuuka Rask. Thomas has won a Conn Smythe and 2 of the last 3 Vezina Trophy's. Even though he's getting up there I think the market would be fairly big for Timmy.

Miikka Kiprusoff, Calgary - Another year of missing the playoffs and the rumblings have started that Calgary could finally start their rebuild. Moving 34 Kipper is an obvious option. Ron MacLean even suggested that this summer Calgary could shop Iginla and give him a chance to play for a true contender. If these rumours are true a young package of picks and prospects could land Kiprusoff who is still one of the NHL's best goalies, posting ridiculous stats on a bad team this season (35-22-11, 2.35, .921).

Jaroslav Halak/Brian Elliot, St.Louis - Here's a team with two good goalies, both with a couple years left on their deals going into next year. I think the results of these playoffs could determine which stays and which goes. Slight edge to stay would go to Halak right now because he played more games. Halak's numbers were stellar this year, but Elliot's were actually even better. I think Hitchcock's defensive system is flattering to goalies but still you have to give credit to the guys stopping the puck. Elliot's cap hit is $1.8 million for the next two seasons, a little less than half of what Halak makes which could make Halak the trade bait.

Cory Schneider, Vancouver - The kid has put up outrageous numbers (20-8-1, 1.96, .937 this year, 16-4-2, 2.23, .929 last year). I know the wins are going to be inflated playing in Vancouver but you can't argue that the kid has proven over the last two seasons that he can play. He's primed to have an opportunity to be a starter somewhere. If Gillis can have some faith in Luongo he could move Schneider for a very nice return.

Steve Mason, Columbus - A fresh start in Columbus for next year and Mason coming off a terrible season, the rumours are that they tried to move him leading up to the deadline but nothing happened. He's 23 and was brilliant a couple seasons ago. He carries a $2.9 million cap hit which is affordable for a team looking to roll the dice on a kid who could use a change of scenery.

Nikolai Khabibulin, Edmonton - One year left on his contract with the Oilers, they said the asking price was too high for 'Bulin at the deadline, but keep in mind that was a sellers market and the asking price will likely drop this summer. At the start of this year Khabibulin played outstanding hockey but with the brutal... I mean re-building Oilers in front of him, he burnt out quickly.

Sergei Bobrovsky, Philadelphia - For a while this season Bob has actually been better than Bryz in Philly and he's playing the best hockey of his career. Since Bryz is locked up to the big contract Bob could be available. We all know Paul Holmgrem loves to wheel and deal so we'll see if this guy moves this summer.

Jonathan Bernier, LA - Everyones favourite unproven goalie. There's a ton of hype around this kid, and he is almost certainly available for the right price with Quick playing so well in LA. He's definitely a good prospect but time will tell if he can be a starter in the NHL. He's 19-14-5 career over the past 3 seasons, which suggests that he has earned a shot at being a starter somewhere.

Anders Lindback, Nashville - Even less proven than Bernier, but has shown flashes of being pretty good. I doubt he moves but Nashville will have some decisions to face this summer and Lindback could be a trading chip to address needs at other positions. Lindback is closer to a Bishop (acquired from St.Louis by Ottawa) in a sense that we really don't know what he could be capable of, but there is a belief out there that he could be a starting goalie at some point in the next couple of seasons.

So that's it. If anyone knows of any good rumours of anyone I may have missed I'd love to hear it.