If there is a position that is absolutely vital for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations, it is goalie. If you don't believe me, just ask a Philadelphia Flyers fan.
That's why it's of little surprise that a few goalies are being mentioned in the rumor mill in this shortened NHL season.
We start with the Calgary Flames, who may be looking for a stopgap if Miikka Kiprusoff misses significant time with a lower back injury. The team did sign Danny Taylor to a one-year contract, but a better option might be needed if Kiprusoff's injury is serious.
If a significant move needs to be made—and the Flames still have room for three more contracts—perhaps the most obvious trade partner is the Ottawa Senators, where big Ben Bishop is a distant third on the depth chart behind Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner.
Still, it's hard to believe the Flames have the appetite or depth to send a second-rounder to Ottawa, which is what the Sens are reportedly asking to replenish the pick they gave the St. Louis Blues to acquire Bishop last year.
No, inquiries will not be made on Roberto Luongo's availability, although that shouldn't stop someone in the media from starting silly rumours.
Interestingly enough, Kiprusoff may have been one of the biggest obstacles to Luongo being moved before the trade deadline, as Iain MacIntyre of the Vancouver Sun notes:
Bad for Luongo trade mission if Flames ever come to their senses and use Kiprusoff as rebuilding chip. His injury helps #Canucks.— Iain MacIntyre (@imacVanSun) February 6, 2013
It's no secret that Luongo remains a possibility to be moved. Even Cory Schneider's agent, Mike Liut, has openly said he hopes Luongo will be traded before the April 3 deadline.
"Vancouver has a decision to make with their goaltending, everybody knows that. We don't need to add more to it than that. Everyone wants it resolved and if it can get resolved that will be better for everybody."
Liut said as long as the Canucks are trying to trade Luongo, the team has to give him some games. He's just a little surprised at how many he's getting.
"What you have is two goalies and there's only one net and you are trying to trade one of them. So you have to play him. Now it's four games in a row, does that give you some concern at the same time? Sure, because with a player like Cory you want to see him play every night."
I think it's safe to say everyone in Vancouver wants a resolution to the situation. The entire ordeal has dragged on long enough at this point.
Meanwhile, with Jonathan Quick as the top option for the Los Angeles Kings, the talented Jonathan Bernier is an interesting trade chip for the defending NHL champions.
Not surprisingly, there is some interest around the league. From Mayors Manor:
Reliable source tells MayorsManor that 4 teams very interested in Jonathan Bernier, but Lombardi's price remains high -as expected. #LAKings— The Mayor John Hoven (@mayorNHL) February 7, 2013
Bernier is a very good young player and one that deserves a chance to start, which he won't get any time soon in Los Angeles. He should bring back a nice little haul for the Kings in a trade.
It would seem that, for teams in need of goalies, there are some intriguing options out there. Expect the rumor mill surrounding the netminders to start really buzzing in the next week or so.
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