NHL Trade Speculation: Top 10 Goalies Who Could Be on the Move in Offseason

Jason SapunkaCorrespondent IIMarch 8, 2012

NHL Trade Speculation: Top 10 Goalies Who Could Be on the Move in Offseason

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    Trades are done for this NHL season. Though many teams can now focus on the playoffs, there still has to be uncertainty regarding the long-term plans of certain franchises.

    A number of teams either lack or have an abundance of assets to put in their nets.

    Certain trade deadline moves have altered the list of potentially available goalies in the 2012 NHL offseason, a list that can change even further depending on the performance of certain individuals.

10. Rick DiPietro

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    The New York Islanders have been in contract talks with Evgeni Nabokov since before the trade deadline.

    If they re-sign Nabokov, he'll likely be used as a starter over the disastrous Rick DiPietro.

    DiPietro's 15-year contract might cause some issues finding a trade partner, as well as the $4.5 million per year salary.

9. Steve Mason

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    Steve Mason's inconsistency and overall struggles in goal are a huge part of the Columbus Blue Jackets' position in last place of the NHL.

    The Blue Jackets could either risk sticking with him for the future, or find an alternative.

8. Ben Bishop

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    In addition to current starter Craig Anderson, the Ottawa Senators have a few options in net.

    Recently-acquired Ben Bishop is a promising young prospect, but so is 20-year-old Robin Lehner, who did well in the five games he appeared in this season.

    Ottawa could look to bringing up Lehner when Anderson outstays his welcome as starter, leaving Bishop to be expendable.

7. Craig Anderson

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    Maybe the Senators like what they see in Bishop, and deal Craig Anderson. That leaves them with a very promising and young tandem of Bishop and Robin Lehner.

    This move would be a bit more risky, since neither Bishop or Lehner have extensive NHL experience.

6. Sergei Bobrovsky

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    When Ilya Bryzgalov's contract with the Philadelphia Flyers expires, Sergei Bobrovsky will be 31 years old.

    Even if Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky were to switch starter/backup roles late in the contract, that would mean Bobrovsky would not get his deserved playing time until his late-20s.

    In the long-term, keeping Bobrovsky is not good for either the Flyers or their young goalie as long as Bryzgalov is signed.

    If Bryzgalov keeps playing as well as he has lately, the Flyers could feel more confident in moving him.

    The team was reportedly discussing a trade including Bobrovsky at the deadline.

5. Antti Niemi

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    Another trade that was considered at the deadline was Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks for the Flyers' James van Riemsdyk.

    It was the Flyers who turned down the trade.

    In addition to current 26-year-old backup Thomas Greiss, San Jose has two young goalies in their system by the names of Tyson Sexsmith and Harry Sateri. Both are 22 years old.

4. Jaroslav Halak or Brian Elliot

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    The St. Louis Blues have been splitting starts between two goalies all season long.

    Jaroslav Halak plays more, but Brian Elliot plays better.

    Do the Blues rely on both goalies in the long-term, or take advantage of two quality seasons and trade one of their two netminders?

3. Jonathan Bernier

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    As long as 26-year-old Jonathan Quick continues to be a dominant goaltender, the Los Angeles Kings have no reason to keep both him and Jonathan Bernier.

    Bernier is a talented young goalie who was drafted 11th overall in the 2006 NHL entry draft. In 45 career NHL games, he has a .911 save percentage and a 2.49 goals-against average with five shutouts.

    More than 25 percent of Bernier's career wins have been through shutouts.

2. Cory Schneider

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    Roberto Luongo has a no-trade clause and Cory Schneider, probably the NHL's best backup goaltender, is an upcoming restricted free agent.

    Vancouver cannot keep both forever. Luongo's contract keeps him with the Canucks for another 10 years (through 2022).

    The talented young Schneider is going to cost a lot to keep, but Vancouver could get a large return by moving his rights to another team this summer.

1. Tim Thomas

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    Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli denied a Tim Thomas to Chicago trade rumor, but the deal could make sense for the Bruins.

    Though Tim Thomas is one of the NHL's best goalies, he will be 38 years old in the offseason. He still has trade value now, which will only evaporate the longer Boston decides to keep him.

    Backup goalie Tuukka Rask is capable of being a starter for the Bruins.

    Don't forget, Chiarelli considered dealing Thomas to the Flyers for Jeff Carter before the 2010-11 season. He was two years younger than he'll be this offseason.

    It could happen.

     

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    B/R Featured Columnist Jason Sapunka covers the NHL and Philadelphia Flyers.