Taking a look at the unsettled NHL goaltender market

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With training camps on the horizon, there are still some goaltending situations around the NHL that are unsettled. Accordingly, those teams may be planning on picking up a second goaltender on waivers during the preseason as Montreal did with Samuel Montembeault last season. With that in mind, let’s examine who might be looking for a goalie and which teams have a netminder that could 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 is nothing but question marks. Farmhands Jon Gillies and Ivan Prosvetov have some NHL experience but Gillies struggled last season with New Jersey and Prosvetov hasn’t posted a .900 SV% in the last two seasons in the minors. Cap space isn’t an issue for them so they can look at any of the options available on waivers or take on a bad contract for additional compensation.

Chicago: Right now, Alex Stalock is their backup goalie. He has missed most of the last two seasons battling his way back from myocarditis and struggled considerably in the minors last year. Granted, the Blackhawks certainly aren’t in win-now mode but in a perfect world, they’d like Arvid Soderblom to 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 low-cost second-stringer and push Stalock into the spot of being the one to be recalled if an injury arises, they might want to take it. The waiver wire could be the chance to add that.

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Philadelphia: With Ivan Fedotov being blocked from going to North America this season due to a military commitment, the Flyers are going to 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 this could be a spot for an upgrade. Granted, Sandstrom would then need to be waived to be sent back to Lehigh Valley but that would have been the case if Fedotov had been able to play so it’s a risk they might be comfortable with.

Of course, an injury or two during the preseason could add to the list of suitors in the coming weeks as well.

Teams That Could Lose A Goalie

For the purpose of this exercise, the focus is going to be on either young goalies that could be appealing or veterans with some recent NHL experience that could 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 $100K above the league minimum. He has been a full-time backup going back to his time with Vegas which would also bolster his chances of potentially being claimed.

Dallas: Right now, Anton Khudobin appears to be the odd one out again with Jake Oettinger and Scott Wedgewood set to be the goalie duo for the Stars. Khudobin is now in the final year of his deal which carries a $3.33MM AAV. It wouldn’t be shocking if he cleared waivers but if Dallas wants to free up a bit of extra money for Jason Robertson’s contract, they’ll be calling Arizona to see what it would cost for them to take that contract on.

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Los Angeles:
Pheonix Copley has cleared waivers without any concerns the last couple of years but also was on a pricey contract for a third-string option. Now, he’s on a much more palatable deal ($825K) and is coming off an impressive season in AHL Hershey. The 30-year-old was the backup for the Capitals back in 2018-19.

Nashville: This is the most interesting one to keep an eye on. Although Connor Ingram held his own in the playoffs for the Preds, they still went and brought in Kevin Lankinen on a one-year, $1.5MM deal. That’s a lot to pay a third-string option so it could put Ingram in jeopardy. However, if they try to sneak Ingram through, there’s a very good chance he’ll be claimed, especially with an AAV that’s below the minimum. Carrying three goalies is a possibility but generally not ideal so something might have to give here.

New York (R): The Rangers went and brought in Louis Domingue on a two-year contract to be their insurance policy but he might appeal to some other teams as well. He did alright in the playoffs for Pittsburgh and has 142 games of NHL experience over parts of two seasons. Both years are one-way which was likely to try to deter other teams from claiming him but with an AAV of just $775K, he may attract some interest.

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Seattle: With Martin Jones joining the Kraken as their backup, that’s going to push both Joey Daccord and Magnus Hellberg to the waiver wire. Daccord was viewed as a possible NHL option not long ago and at 26, there could still be some upside after a strong season with AHL Charlotte. Hellberg, meanwhile, has been dominant in the KHL the last few years which prompted Detroit to give him a brief look down the stretch last season. Other teams might want to take a look as well depending on how things go over the next few weeks.

Winnipeg:
Mikhail Berdin is the one goalie on this list that doesn’t have any NHL experience but at 24, he’s also the youngest in this group. If a rebuilding team wants to take a look at a younger backup to see if there’s something there, this is the type of goalie they’d probably want to go for.

Of course, there will be other goalies that will hit the waiver wire in the coming weeks that could be of interest to teams as well depending on what transpires over the preseason. There won’t be a ton of waiver activity between the pipes — there rarely is — but one or two of these players could be changing teams in the coming weeks.



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