Here's something I've been wondering... with at least nine NHL goaltenders left on the free agent market, which ones are going to find a home?
Are there any homes left? Or are these guys left waiting a la Jason Allison for what might be a lost year? Do Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph simply retire?
Here is a team-by-team look at the NHL-calibre netminders with contracts (or who are going to arbitration), as well as potential vacancies:
- Anaheim: Giguere, Bryzgalov, Hiller
- Atlanta: Lehtonen, Hedberg
- Boston: Fernandez, Thomas, Toivonen
- Buffalo: Miller, Thibault
- Calgary: Kiprusoff, ~vacant~
- Carolina: Ward, Grahame
- Chicago: Khabibulin, Lalime
- Colorado: Budaj, Theodore
- Columbus: Norrena, Leclaire
- Dallas: Turco, Smith
- Detroit: Hasek, Osgood
- Edmonton: Roloson, Garon
- Florida: Vokoun, Anderson
- Los Angeles: LaBarbera, Cloutier
- Minnesota: Backstrom, Harding
- Montreal: Huet, Halak, Price
- Nashville: Mason, Rinne
- New Jersey: Brodeur, Weekes
- N.Y. Islanders: DiPietro, Dubielewicz
- N.Y. Rangers: Lundqvist, Valiquette, Montoya
- Ottawa: Emery, Gerber
- Philadelphia: Biron, Niittymaki
- Phoenix: Tellqvist, ~vacant~
- Pittsburgh: Fleury, Sabourin
- San Jose: Nabokov, Greiss (likely)
- St. Louis: Legace, Schwarz/Bacashihua
- Tampa Bay: Holmqvist, Denis
- Toronto: Toskala, Raycroft, Clemmensen
- Vancouver: Luongo, Sanford, Schneider
- Washington: Kolzig, Johnson
If you're a career adviser to one of the fellows left on the sidelines in free agency so far, what do you tell these guys to do? With the way the salary cap is, many teams don't want to tie up any more salary than the minimum in their backup.
Does that mean guys like Aebischer, Esche, Markkanen and Auld, all of whom have been exclusively in the NHL for years, are headed to the AHL or Europe?
It sure seems like it.
UPDATE How can you tell agents are getting desperate? They've started to call up the Blue Jackets, hoping there's some interest in a goaltender:
Nor are the Blue Jackets floating offers to the handful of capable goalies still available on the free-agent market.In the future, I wonder, will we see more of a downward trend on goaltender salaries as the surplus of free agents aim to simply get a team rather than a big money deal?
"We've had a couple of calls from agents wondering if we have interest in their clients," Howson said.
But the conversations have been brief, always ending with a "No, thanks."