Toronto Maple Leafs: 5 Goalies They Should Look at in the Offseason
With Luongo looking to leave Vancouver to get out from under the media’s scrutiny, it makes sense that he would decline a trade to Toronto, where the media is as rabid as the fans.
What this means for Toronto is that it will have to look elsewhere for a goaltender to help James Reimer or Ben Scrivens.
According to CBCSports.com Toronto's GM, Brian Burke maintains he is willing to use the tandem of the two youngsters.
He is trying to acquire a veteran goaltender to bring experience and confidence in net, the prices have been too much for Burke.
If they have to trade to obtain a solid goalie, expect a deal going the other way and costing the Leafs either Reimer or Scrivens.
Since both are talented young netminders, losing one in exchange for a solid starter is not a huge loss. One of them will have to be packaged off with a couple players to obtain a solid goaltender.
In the following slides, we look at five goalies the Leafs should be targeting during this offseason, either through trades or free agency.
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Bernier is the youngest player on this list and an upcoming restricted free agent next year. Some may feel that trading for another young goalie is not the best option.
According to Andy Strickland of 590 the Fan St. Louis, the Kings told Bernier they would look to move him once the deal with Quick was done.
Strickland also told the Twitterverse that possible teams for Bernier included the Leafs.
Bernier is a talented goalie who has been behind one of the best in the league for the last few years. He still has some development to be the top goalie, but taking over a starting role will help that.
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It was announced by Darren Dreger of TSN that Martin Brodeur has hired a new agent. This could mean he is looking to test the free-agent market.
Brodeur turned 40 during this past postseason and helped the Devils reach the Stanley Cup Finals.
The veteran goalie still has at least one year, if not more time, ahead of him if his play in this year's postseason shows anything.
A short-term, one- or two-year deal could be enough for the veteran to help in the development of the two young netminders on the Leafs roster.
It seems unlikely that Brodeur will be in a different jersey next season, but if he is testing free agency, the Leafs should attempt to gain his services.
He is one of the best goalies of all time. His presence on any team can do big things for morale and development.
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With the Flames looking to rebuild a younger team, one of the Leafs' trading possibilities is Miikka Kiprusoff.
He still has two years on his current contract that carries a cap hit of $5.8 million. It is a steep cost, but with the announcement that the cap will be raised for next season, it is manageable.
Kiprusoff is still one of the top goalies in the league, and like Brodeur, having his veteran presence could help drastically in the development of the young netminders of the future.
Obtaining Kiprusoff will likely cost a decent amount. As stated, either Reimer or Scrivens would be part of a trade that could include a name like Kadri and one other prospect.
With the net remaining the largest hole on the Leafs' roster, it makes sense to trade for a player like Kiprusoff.
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Near the end of 2011, rumors of Miller wanting a trade began to flare up. They would persist for quite some time before Miller himself set the record straight.
While he may have been willing to stay with the Sabres last season, the Leafs should still attempt to make a trade for him.
With Buffalo gaining a couple of players in the first round of this year's draft who could be ready for the NHL as soon as next season, the Sabres are starting to become a younger team.
While Sabres fans hope that Toronto is on his list of teams not to be traded to, obtaining Miller would be a huge asset for the Leafs.
At 31, he is still a very talented goalie whose skill could help the Leafs rise out of the basement and make the postseason for the first time since the lockout.
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This season, Niittymaki was sent down to Syracuse by the San Jose Sharks. He played 24 games this season with a 2.72 goals-against average.
He is a skilled goalie who is hitting the market this summer as an unrestricted free agent at 32 years old.
Some may feel he is not on the same level as those previously mentioned on this list. However, he would be the Leafs' cheapest option.
His salary from last season was $2 million, but being sent down will allow Toronto to offer him around $1-$1.5 million for a short-term deal.
This deal would allow Reimer and Niittymaki to play tandem and give Ben Scrivens another few seasons to develop in the minors.
Niittymaki has shown in his NHL tenure that he is a talented goalie. While he may not be on the same level as the others mentioned on this list, he is still a smart option for Toronto.