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Is Each Projected NHL Starting Goaltender Worth His 2012-13 Salary?

Tom Urtz Jr.Contributor IOctober 17, 2012

Is Each Projected NHL Starting Goaltender Worth His 2012-13 Salary?

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    One of the biggest stumbling blocks in the current CBA negotiations is tied to player salaries, so it is an interesting time to see if each projected starting netminder is worth his salary.

    Goalies are a team's last line of defense, and they are often a team's most important player.

    Goalies make a decent living, and although some are overpaid, a good percentage of netminders earn their keep.

    Here is a look at whether or not each NHL netminder is truly worth his 2012-13 salary.

Jonas Hiller

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    2012-13 Salary: $4,500,000

    The jury is out on Jonas Hiller because he has had his ups and downs during the past few seasons. Most recently, the Swiss netminder had a bad bout of vertigo, and that sidelined him for a good portion of time.

    His cap hit of $4.5 million a season may look to be a lot, but when Hiller is on his game, he is worth it for Anaheim.

Tuukka Rask

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    2012-13 Salary: $3,500,000

    Tuukka Rask has been a Boston Bruin for the past few seasons, primarily as a backup for Tim Thomas. Rask signed a one-year deal with Boston this offseason, and it was a strategic move for both sides.

    If Rask can maintain the same level of play as a starter this season, he should be in line to earn a huge raise this offseason. There is no reason to think that Rask will struggle this season, so Rask is definitely worth his salary.

Ryan Miller

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    2012-13 Salary: $6,250,000

    Ryan Miller is not worth his current salary because he has not played like an elite goalie the past few seasons. Miller is one of the NHL's highest paid netminders, but he has been outperformed by goalies like Jonathan Quick, Henrik Lundqvist and Pekka Rinne.

    Miller is a talented goaltender who is capable of stealing games for the Buffalo Sabres, but he shouldn't be one of the NHL's highest paid goaltenders.

Miikka Kiprusoff

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    2012-13 Salary: $5,000,000

    Miikka Kiprusoff is one of the NHL's most underrated goaltenders, and you could make the case that he is a bit underpaid.

    He has been a backbone of the Calgary Flames for the past few seasons, and he is one of their best players.

    Kipper has posted seven consecutive seasons in which he has won at least 35 games. It is safe to say that not only is Kipper worth his contract, but he is one of the league's most consistent netminders.

Cam Ward

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    2012-13 Salary: $6,400,000

    Cam Ward is one of the NHL's younger veterans, and he is only going to improve now that Carolina is icing a decent team. The Hurricanes have struggled a bit as of late, and Ward had been one of the team's only bright spots.

    Ward is a Stanley Cup Champion and a Conn Smythe-caliber goaltender worth every dime of his contract.

Corey Crawford

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    2012-13 Salary: $2,250,000

    Corey Crawford posted a 30-17-7 record in 2011-12 with a paltry 2.72 GAA during the regular season, and his playoff numbers weren't any better.

    Crawford posted a record of 2-4-3 with a 2.58 GAA and a .893 SV%, and he clearly is not worth his salary.

    If Crawford doesn't step up, he is going to be out of a job very soon in Chi-Town

Semyon Varlamov

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    2012-13 Salary: $3,000,000

    Semyon Varlamov is slightly overpaid, but it was a contract used by Colorado to help meet the salary floor requirements.

    He is a young netminder that is still developing, so the deal could pay off in the long run for the Avs.

    If the team continues to improve as a whole, it is hard to think that the young netminder won't continue to grow and improve over time.

    Right now he may not deserve his salary, but that could change by the season's end.

Sergei Bobrovsky

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    2012-13 Salary: $900,000

    Up to this point, Sergei Bobrovsky has been an excellent netminder, and Philadelphia is going to regret choosing Ilya Bryzgalov to be their future netminder. During his career of 83 games, Bobrovsky has won 42 games, and he has a 2.73 GAA.

    His entry-level contract expires after this season, so the Blue Jackets will likely have to give their netminder a sizable raise.

Kari Lehtonen

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    2012-13 Salary: $4,250,000

    Kari Lehtonen was signed to an extension that doesn't kick in until next season, so for right now $4.25 million is just right for the netminder.

    He has been an above average goaltender for the Dallas Stars, but I don't think he is worth $6,250,000—the salary that kicks in for 2013-14— next season.

    If Lehtonen can step up his game, he can prove that he is worth the big bucks, but right now he has a perfect salary.

Jimmy Howard

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    2012-13 Salary: $2,250,000

    Jimmy Howard is one of the NHL's top underpaid netminders. Critics of Howard could say that he has benefited from Detroit's strong defensive system, but he should prove this season why he is one of the NHL's top goaltenders.

    It is no accident that Howard has started his career of with three straight seasons of 35 wins or more, and Howard will only improve over time.

    He is in line for a huge raise when his contract expires at the end of the 2012-13 season.

Devan Dubnyk

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    2012-13 Salary: $3,250,000

    Devan Dubnyk is a talented young netminder for the Edmonton Oilers, but he isn't worth $3.25 million a year. He has put up average numbers at best, and he is another byproduct of teams overpaying to retain free agents just to help reach the salary floor.

    His current salary was a huge jump from the $800K he previously made, so Dubnyk has a lot of work to do in order to prove why he is worth his salary.

Jose Theodore

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    2012-13 Salary: $1,500,000

    At this stage in his career, Jose Theodore's salary is just right. He is an average goaltender capable of going on a hot streak, and last season was one of his best since the lockout.

    He is only keeping the crease warm until the Panthers are ready to commit to Jacob Markstrom, so this salary works for Theodore and Florida.

Jonathan Quick

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    2012-13 Salary: $1,700,000

    Jonathan Quick is currently underpaid with his current salary of $1.7 million a season. He signed a mega contract extension over the summer that will bump up his salary by $5.3 million, for a grand total of $7.0 million in 2013-14.

    Quick is the reigning Conn Smythe recipient, so it is hard to argue with Los Angeles for giving him the huge contract extension.

Niklas Backstrom

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    2012-13 Salary: $6,000,000

    Niklas Backstrom is an overpaid goaltender who has not proved to be worth $6.0 million a season. He is a free agent after this season, so don't be surprised when the Minnesota Wild let him hit free agency.

    The team is moving forward, and their youth movement is going to take place over the next few seasons.

    There is no longer a need for Backstrom because Minnesota will have capable netminders in Matt Hackett and Josh Harding,

Carey Price

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    2012-13 Salary: $5,500,000

    Carey Price recently signed a contract extension with the Montreal Canadiens, and it is fair to say that the club overpaid their netminder.

    Price really has had only one good season to this point, so a salary of $5.5 million is just a bit too much for the young netminder. If Price had multiple 30 win seasons, you could maybe justify it, but Price has not proven himself up to this point.

Pekka Rinne

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    2012-13 Salary: $7,000,000

    Although Pekka Rinne is a goaltender on the rise, he is not worth his current salary. That is by no means a knock on his abilities or play up to this point, but there are a few reasons why $7 million is too much for Rinne.

    His potential might be worth $7 million, but when you consider that he is the league's highest paid goaltender, despite not having any hardware to his name, it is fair to say that the Nashville Predators overpaid Rinne.

Martin Brodeur

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    2012-13 Salary: $4,000,000

    Martin Brodeur, at this stage of his career, is not worth his salary. He had an impressive Stanley Cup run, but it is unrealistic to think that a 40-year-old goaltender has a lot left in the tank.

    He should have given the New Jersey Devils more of a hometown discount because they could use all the savings they can get. Brodeur will go down as one of the NHL's greatest netminders, but $4.0 million is too much.

Evgeni Nabokov

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    2012-13 Salary:$2,750,000

    Evgeni Nabokov took a year off from the NHL before returning last season, and he looked decent during his 42 appearances. Before joining the Islanders, he was a goaltender who had recorded three straight 40-win seasons for the San Jose Sharks.

    Nabokov is a veteran netminder who has earned his salary by virtue of talent and experience.

Henrik Lundqvist

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    2012-13 Salary: $6,875,000

    Henrik Lundqvist is the best goaltender in the NHL and the reigning Vezina Trophy winner. He is an elite netminder who is the New York Rangers' best player. 

    It is fair to say that goaltender is underpaid, considering how vital he is to the team's success, but Lundqvist has more than earned his salary.

    With Lundqvist's contract up after the 2013-14 season, it will be interesting to see how much money he stands to rake in with a new deal.

Craig Anderson

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    2012-13 Salary: $3,000,000

    Craig Anderson's strong play led the Ottawa Senators to the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, and he more than lived up to the contract extension awarded the year before.

    The Senators appear to be a team on the rise, so $3 million is a perfect rate for Anderson.

Ilya Bryzgalov

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    2012-13 Salary: $6,500,000

    The NHL's favorite Russian cosmonaut had an interesting first season in Philadelphia. By no means is his salary of $6.5 a bargain for Philadelphia because he committed horrendous errors throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

    The only thing worse than his current salary is what he made in 2011-12 ($10 million) and what he will make next year ($8 million).

    Bryzgalov has a lot of work to do, or his signing will have been a "humungous big" mistake on the part of Ed Snider.

Mike Smith

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    2012-13 Salary: $2,000,000

    Mike Smith is coming off a year in which he finished fourth in voting for the NHL's Vezina Trophy. He showed some tremendous dedication and effort for Phoenix last year, so his salary of $2.0 is a great rate and a true steal for the Coyotes.

    Smith and the Coyotes made it to the Western Conference final last season, so expect the Coyotes to have high expectations for this season.

Marc-Andre Fleury

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    2012-13 Salary: $5,500,000

    Marc-Andre Fleury has won 35 games or more in each of his past four seasons. Fleury is one of the league's best regular season netminders, and he was second in the NHL with 42 wins in 2011-12.

    If anything, Fleury is slightly underpaid because of his dominant regular season play and his consistency.

Antti Niemi

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    2012-13 Salary: $4,000,000

    Antti Niemi made his name famous when he backstopped the Chicago Blackhawks to their first Stanley Cup since 1961.

    He then joined the San Jose Sharks, and he has kept up his stellar play. He is a young netminder who continues to impress, so a salary of $4.0 million is a great deal for Niemi and the Sharks.

Jaroslav Halak

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    2012-13 Salary: $4,250,000

    Jaroslav Halak was one of the NHL's top goaltenders in 2011-12 while splitting goaltending duties with Brian Elliot. His impressive play, highlighted by a 1.97 GAA last season, makes him worth every penny for a defensive-minded team like the St. Louis Blues.

    This tandem is one of the league's best, so expect St. Louis to be one of the Western Conference's best teams this season.

Anders Lindback

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    2012-13 Salary: $1,400,000

    In all fairness, Anders Lindback has never been a starting goaltender, so it unfair to say whether or not he is worth his salary. However, $1.4 million is a fair price for a decent backup, so it could prove to be a fair deal for all parties involved.

    Lindback is young enough to prove why he deserves the job in Tampa, and it will be interesting to see how he embraces the starting role.

James Reimer

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    2012-13 Salary: $1,600,000

    James Reimer hasn't had the best of luck with the Toronto Maple Leafs up to this point, but when you consider that the team hired a new goalie coach, it is fair to give Reimer a break for the interim.

    At times, Reimer has looked hot and cold, but there is still enough time for the young netminder to prove why he is worth his current salary. Either way, this current deal is fair, and it works out great for "Optimus Reim" and the Leafs.

Cory Schneider

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    2012-13 Salary: $3,500,000

    It is fair to say that Cory Schneider has been the NHL's best backup goalie for the past few seasons. During his time in Vancouver, Schneider has been an excellent backup who has exceeded expectations.

    Now that he is the starter, you can expect him to keep up his solid play and prove why he earned his last contract.

Braden Holtby

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    2012-13 Salary: $600,000

    Braden Holtby went on an impressive run with the Washington Capitals during the 2011-12 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He was an enigma who appeared to be unbeatable at times, and that gave the Capitals a huge advantage.

    He showed poise, composure and maturity beyond his years. His play really shook up the goalie dynamic in Washington, and there is no reason why he shouldn't be the team's starter in 2012-13.

    His contract, although an entry-level deal, is a great steal for the Caps.

Ondrej Pavelec

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    2012-13 Salary: $3,250,000

    Ondrej Pavelec has a losing career record as a goaltender, but he still makes over $3 million a season. The Winnipeg Jets overpaid based on his potential when they recently extended his contract.

    Right now he isn't worth his deal, but he has enough time to prove why he deserved the contract he was awarded by team brass.

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