The Summer Goaltending Market
If the Penguins thought the goaltending market was bad this winter in trying to move Marc Andre Fleury, wait till the summer where the market is going to be flooded with younger, cheaper capable options.
One of the questions surrounding the Penguins after Fleury was not moved at the deadline or last summer when they might have had the best chance to move him, is whether they will end up regretting not getting ahead of others in what’s going to be a flooded goaltending market in June.
Unrestricted Free Agents
The market is deep here with a plethora of options for clubs. You have Ben Bishop, a Vezina Trophy finalist who while having a down season, will be the top dog on the market in seeking $5-$6 million per season but there’s a lot of value elsewhere where teams will be able to pluck a goaltender for $2-$3 million per season who can hold his own as a No. 1.
Scott Darling has been lights out this season with a 16-5-2 record, 2.13 GAA and .931 save percentage. Some clubs see him as still having No. 1 potential at age 28.
Steve Mason while having a poor season, had a combined .922 save percentage from 2014-2015 – 2015-2016. His market has probably dropped to the $2.5 million range but he’ll be another intriguing option for clubs and he’s 28.
Ryan Miller whose best days are behind him, is still a capable goaltender for a team that needs a one or two year stop-gap or is looking to go with a 1-2 combo of a young netminder and vet. He won’t fetch more than $3-$4 million per.
Brian Elliott is another serviceable option and who won’t cost teams more than $3 million per season.
Jaroslav Halak, 31 years old, $4.5 million cap hit | Signed Through 2017-2018
Marc Andre Fleury, 32 years old, $5.75 million cap hit | Signed Through 2018-2019
Jimmy Howard, 32 years old, $5.29 million cap hit | Signed Through 2018-2019
Semyon Varlamov, 28 years old, $5.9 million cap hit | Signed Through 2018-2019
Halak will be the most attractive to teams as he was at the deadline because he has just one year left on his contract and the Islanders want to move his $5 million salary for next season in the worst way. The Islanders eating 50% of the cap hit will be a strong possibility.
Notable Goaltenders projected to be exposed in expansion draft
Phillip Grubauer, Washington Capitals
Joonas Korpisalo, Columbus Blue Jackets
Michael Neuvirth, Philadelphia
Antti Raanta, New York Rangers
Roberto Luongo, Florida
Eddie Lack, Carolina
Jaroslav Halak, New York Islanders
Jimmy Howard, Detroit
Anton Khudobin, Boston
Antti Niemi, Dallas
Louis Domingue, Arizona
Aaron Dell, San Jose
Carter Hutton, St Louis
Vegas has a great seat at the table to add two young goaltenders with upside and a veteran or go with three young goaltenders in the expansion draft and nab a veteran via trade or free agency.
Were Marc Andre Fleury to give the Penguins permission to be exposed in the draft, I continue to have a hard time believing Vegas would select him.
This isn’t a knock on Fleury, it just doesn’t make much sense for Vegas to go in that direction.
The Golden Knights plan to select at least two young goaltenders with No. 1 upside and potentially add an established veteran. Washington’s Phillip Grubauer is the hot name in league circles. Just 25 years old, has a .927 save percentage and three shutouts. George McPhee drafted him and other members of the Golden Knights staff were in Washington too then.
Vegas for example could select Grubauer and Antti Raanta and have $1.75 million committed to their goaltending next season while also selecting 22 year old Joonas Korpisalo that makes all of the sense in the world because he’s not eligible for waivers until 2018-2019. It’s an ideal situation for an expansion team as you’re playing the percentages that one of the young upside goaltenders will emerge into a No. 1 by year one or two.
Jim Rutherford has been so calm with regards to the expansion draft that some of the fan base has wondered if Rutherford has a backdoor deal in place with Vegas.
There’s no indication that is the case and I just see no reason why Vegas would make a commitment to the soon to be 33 year old Fleury via trade before the expansion draft or selecting Fleury were he to waive his no movement clause when there are going to be so many cheaper, younger options available in the expansion draft or in free agency.
Because there are going to be so many available goaltenders out there, trading Fleury anywhere before the expansion draft could prove difficult for the Penguins.
For Fleury the destination that quite a few scouts, executives have felt should have happened by now Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"