Heading into this year’s NHL Entry Draft, there could be as many as a half dozen goaltenders in play and moved before the free agent market opens on July 1st. With some teams looking to add a dependable back-up or the prototypical 1b, or some looking to find a young, capable starter, it’s quite possible that a few names are moved during the draft itself, for a pick in the first three rounds of what is expected to be a deep draft.
Here are some of the names that could find themselves in play.
Between the Pipes: Goalies who could be moved
Eddie Lack – 1 year left, $1.15 million
Canucks General Manager Jim Benning may have made his hand obvious after coming out and saying Ryan Miller would be back with Vancouver next season, but that he wasn’t comfortable going into the new year with two young goaltenders. This leaves Eddie Lack and Jacob Markstrom to decide between. Lack has more experience at 27 and has a year left on his contract, while Markstrom is an RFA. Markstrom did look good in the AHL, leading the Utica Comets to the Calder Cup final last season, and Benning believes he is capable of being an NHL goaltender.
Antti Raanta – 1 year left, $750k
With the emergence of Scott Darling in last year’s post-season, General Manager Stan Bowman may be tempted to go with the duo of Darling and Corey Crawford, the pair that helped win the 2015 Stanley Cup. Last season, Antti Raanta appeared in 14 games and posted a 7-4-1 record, with a .936 save percentage and a 1.89 goals against. He’s still just 26, somewhat tested having played in 37 games over the last two seasons and comes as one of the cheapest options via the trade route. If he isn’t moved, he’ll likely be sent down to the Rockford IceHogs.
Reto Berra – 2 years left, $1.45 million
As is the case in Chicago, Reto Berra may find a new team to play for after Calvin Pickard stepped up last season and played well when he was called upon. The Avalanche starter, Semyon Varlamov, is one of the better goaltenders in the league and behind him is Pickard, in terms of the depth chart. Berra is one of the more expensive options, especially when you take into account that he’s only played in 21 games over the last two seasons, but the cost to acquire him would be at an all-time low. If Berra is to remain in Colorado, Pickard would start the season with the San Antonio Rampage, as he has a two-way contract.
Cam Talbot – 1 year left, $1.45 million
One goaltender that is sought after is Cam Talbot of the New York Rangers, and for good reason too. Before last season, Talbot had played 21 games and split time between New York and their AHL affiliate Hartford Wolfpack. This past season, Talbot stepped up when starter Henrik Lundqvist went down to injury. He held the Rangers team together in the 36 games he appeared in, posting a 2.21 goals against and a .926 save percentage. He comes at a cheap rate with one year left and could be the answer to a team’s lack of a starting goaltender.
Robin Lehner – 2 years left, $2.225 million (RFA status)
General Manager Bryan Murray has decisions to make in Ottawa and one of them is who to trade between veteran Craig Anderson and up-and-comer Robin Lehner. With Andrew Hammond locked up after a sensational season, it set the stage for one of the two remaining goaltenders to get shipped out. The popular belief seems to be that Lehner will be on the move, as the Senators could use a veteran back-up in Anderson to keep Hammond in check, and a reliable replacement if he starts to slip. Lehner has a few things going for him, like two years left on his deal at a reasonable rate, RFA status, and the potential to be a good number one goaltender.
Justin Peters – 1 year left, $950k
While Braden Holtby remains a restricted free agent for the time being and is sure to hammer out a lengthy contract with the Washington Capitals, the back-up position seems to be filled by two goaltenders. Justin Peters, who initially held that rank, posted a 3-6-1 record in 12 games and has a year remaining on his contract. However things get a little complicated now that Philipp Grubauer has signed a two-year deal, worth $1.5 million. While Peters is one of the less desirable names out of the bunch, his availability could be made at an inexpensive cost and would be put in a pure back-up role.
Some teams may look towards the free agent market, save their prospects and picks, and take a chance at the bidding war of one of the available unrestricted free agents on July 1st. There are more than a handful of names, albeit they aren’t as highly regarded as a Cam Talbot or Robin Lehner. If it’s a back-up position that needs to be filled or a decent starter to begin next season, here are just some of the names that could be available.
Antti Niemi (Sharks), Thomas Greiss (Penguins), Jason Labarbera (Ducks), Karri Ramo (Flames), Peter Budaj (Jets), Anders Lindback (Sabres), Matt Hackett (Sabres), Curtis McElhinney (Blue Jackets), Jhonas Enroth (Stars), Ray Emery (Flyers), Jonas Gustavsson (Red Wings), Viktor Fasth (Oilers), Richard Bachman (Oilers), Dan Ellis (Panthers), and Michal Neuvirth (Islanders).