Sizing Up The Goaltender Market

With training camps on the horizon, there are still some unresolved NHL goaltending situations. Therefore, these teams could consider signing a second goaltender on waivers during the preseason, as Montreal did with Samuel Montembault last season. With that in mind, let’s take a look at who might be looking for a goalkeeper and which teams have a goalkeeper who might be of interest.

Potentially looking

Arizona: The Coyotes have one of their two goalies locked up for three years in Karel Vejmelka but after that there are only question marks. Agricultural workers Jon Gillies and Ivan Prosvetov have NHL experience, but Gillies struggled last season with New Jersey and Prosvetov hasn’t posted a .900 SV percentage the past two seasons in the minors. Ceiling space is not an issue for them, so they can review one of the options available on waivers or accept a bad contract for additional compensation.

Chicago: At present, Alex Stalock is their alternate caretaker. He’s missed most of the past two seasons recovering from myocarditis and struggled considerably in the minors last year. Admittedly, the Blackhawks are definitely not in winning mode right now, but in a perfect world, they would like Arvid Soderblom have an uninterrupted year with AHL Rockford. Currently, he’s third on the depth chart, but if there’s a chance to bring in a second stringer on the cheap and push Stalock to be the one to call back in case of injury, they might want to take him. The disclaimer thread might be an opportunity to add that.

Philadelphia Cream: With Ivan Fedotov being prevented from traveling to North America this season due to a military commitment, the Flyers will have to turn to plan B. Felix Sandstrom is currently their second option, but he has just five career NHL appearances under his belt. They’re looking to be more competitive this season, so that could be a place for an upgrade. Granted, Sandstrom would then have to be waived to be sent back to Lehigh Valley, but that would have been the case had Fedotov been able to play, so it’s a risk they could be comfortable with.

Of course, an injury or two during pre-season could also add to the list of contenders in the coming weeks.

Teams that could lose a goalkeeper

For the purposes of this exercise, the focus will be on either young goaltenders who might be attractive, or veterans with recent NHL experience who might fill a gap.

Buffalo: Malcolm Subban was brought back to be the veteran to partner with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen in AHL Rochester, but he has 86 games of NHL experience under his belt and a deal that’s only $100,000 above the league minimum. He’s been a full-time substitute since his move to Vegas, which would also increase his chances of potentially being claimed.

Dallas: At present, Anton Khudobin seems to be the odd one out again with Jake Oettinger and Scott Wedgewood will be the Stars’ goalie duo. Khudobin is now in the final year of his contract which carries an AAV of $3.33 million. It wouldn’t be shocking if he acquitted the waivers, but if Dallas wants to free up some extra cash for Jason Robertsonof the contract, they will call Arizona to see what it would cost for them to accept this contract.

Los Angeles: Phoenix Copley cleared waivers with no hassle for the past two years, but was also on an expensive contract for a third-string option. Now he’s on a much more acceptable deal ($825,000) and is coming off an impressive season in the AHL Hershey. The 30-year-old was the Capitals’ backup in 2018-19.

Nashville: This is the most interesting to watch. Although Connor Ingram held on in the playoffs for the Preds they still went and brought Kevin Lankinen on a one-year, $1.5 million contract. That’s a lot to pay for a third string option, which could put Ingram at risk. However, if they try to sneak Ingram through, there’s a good chance he’ll be claimed, especially with a sub-minimum AAV. Carrying three goalkeepers is a possibility but usually not ideal, so something might have to give here.

New York (A): Rangers went for Louis Domingo on a two-year contract to be their insurance policy, but he could also bring in other teams. He did well in the playoffs for Pittsburgh and has 142 games of NHL experience over two seasons. Both years are one-sided, which was likely to try to deter other teams from claiming him, but with an AAV of just $775,000, he could generate some interest.

Seattle: With Martin Jones join the Kraken as a substitute, this will push both Joey D’accord and Magnus Hellberg over waiver. Daccord was considered a possible option in the NHL not too long ago and at 26, there could still be an upside after a solid season with AHL Charlotte. Hellberg, meanwhile, has been dominant in the KHL in recent years, prompting Detroit to give him a brief look at last season. Other teams may also want to take a look depending on how things develop over the next few weeks.

Winnipeg: Mikhail Berdin is the only goaltender on this list with no NHL experience, but at 24, he’s also the youngest of this group. If a rebuilding team wants to take a look at a younger substitute to see if there’s something there, this is the type of goalkeeper they’ll probably want to go for.

Of course, there will be other goaltenders hitting the waiver wire in the coming weeks that teams may also be interested in depending on what happens during the preseason. There won’t be a ton of waiver activity between the pipes – there rarely is – but one or two of those players could change teams in the coming weeks.

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