The 2014 NHL offseason is right around the corner. To get the party started, let’s take a look at the goaltenders available and see which teams might be inquiring about their services.
Miller has long been perceived to be as one of the best goaltenders in the NHL that’s stuck in a bad environment. However, he finally got out of Buffalo at the trade deadline last season, and got a shot at a ring.
His St. Louis Blues couldn’t win more than two playoff games, then re-signed Brian Elliott to a three-year $7.5 M contract, and now the Miller is likely ready to look for a new home.
He’ll obviously be a hot commodity, but expect him to look for a contender. He’s made his millions, and is hungry for a shot at a ring.
The San Jose Sharks could be an ideal fit as they have a fairly complete team minus the reliable goaltender. Antti Niemi’s collapse in the postseason opens the door and Miller might be just what they need.
Possible Match: San Jose Sharks
Brodeur is back for one more season, and while some think he’ll be back in New Jersey, there’s a very good chance he lands with a contender. Brodeur is back because he wants another shot at a ring; not because he wants to add to his franchise records in New Jersey.
The challenge is that he wants playing time, but he always wants a shot at a ring. It likely can’t work both ways.
Maybe a team like Pittsburgh is a good fit: he’ll get some time as a backup, and have the opportunity to lead the Pens to the Stanley Cup if Marc-Andre Fleury chokes in the playoffs.
Possible Match: Pittsburgh Penguins
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Hiller is a conundrum: in the regular season, you’re getting a former All-Star who has won 70% of his games over the last two seasons with a GAA under 2.50 and a save percentage around .912. That’s pretty decent. However, he’s been horrible in the playoffs, giving up 26 goals in his last nine postseason starts.
He’d be ideal in a spot where he can compete for the No. 1 job, but few teams feel they can trust him the whole way.
But he is an experienced goalie, which has plenty of use to maybe a team like the Vancouver Canucks. That would take some pressure off of No. 1 Eddie Lack and give the Canucks a good option in case Lack struggles.
Possible Match: Vancouver Canucks
There are a host of other netminders on the wire that should get some attention. Ilya Bryzgalov had a resurgence in Minnesota and should latch on somewhere. 28-year-old Chad Johnson had been a career minor-leaguer, but had a really good season in Boston. Was he just a product of the environment, or will some franchise take a shot on the numbers (17-4-3, .925 SV% and 2.10 GAA)? Also, Tim Thomas is on the scrap-heap available for the taking, if anyone wants him.
As you can see, there are plenty of options in terms of goalkeepers in this free agency period.