NHL Free Agents: 10 Teams That Would Love to Land Jose Theodore
About Jose Theodore
47 games played
Goals Against Average: 2.81
Save Percentage: .911
Two games played
Goals Against Average: 3.70
Save Percentage: .885
What You’ll Get:
Theodore is capable of carrying the load as a backup. He can play roughly half the season in place of the team’s starting goaltender. As he has gained longevity in the NHL, he can work in a backup role to a team with a young and inexperienced goaltender.
However, Theodore’s downside is that he is unlikely to be the star of a playoff team.
Theodore did a solid job with the Capitals, but with Semyon Varlamov as the starter and Michael Neuvirth ready to join the NHL full time, he is forced to find a new team.
With 2007 Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere off to Toronto, Jonas Hiller has taken the reins in goal for the Ducks. He finished 2009-2010 with a record of 30-23-4-2 with a .918 save percentage and a 2.73 GAA.
However, Hiller has not yet been able to come up in big games. He played in the 2010 Olympics for Switzerland, but the Swiss team did not get far.
The Ducks also have Curtis McElhinney, but he is only under contract for one more season. McElhinney only played 10 games in 2009-2010 and is also not playoff experienced.
A Hiller-Theodore tandem would work because Theodore can be used more than 10 times per year. Theodore would also be able to mentor Hiller and play a role in getting the Ducks back to the playoffs.
Without strong goaltending prospects in the Ducks system, Theodore would have a secure spot, and it’s not likely he would have to battle a rookie in training camp.
The Flames recently acquired Swedish goaltender Henrik Karlsson. Karlsson had a 2.45 GAA and a .914 save percentage while playing with Farjestad in Sweden.
However, Karlsson does not have enough experience against stronger competition to stick in the NHL, and it is possible he may not join Calgary in 2010-2011, but rather play with their AHL team in Abbottsford.
Aside from Karlsson, the Flames still have franchise goalie Mikka Kiprusoff.
Kiprusoff has done a respectable job for the Flames, but he usually fizzles out come playoff time. This could be due to the fact that he has played an average of 75 games every year for the last five years.
If Theodore came to the Flames, Karlsson would not only have time to develop in the AHL, but Kiprusoff could be stronger come playoffs.
One of Theodore’s options is to seek out a contract with one his former clubs.
Montreal shocked the NHL world when they traded away Jarsolav Halak, who played hero during the Canadiens’ 2010 playoff run.
They replaced him by signing Alex Auld, who has mostly been a career backup. Auld has played a limited role over the years on different teams and may not be fresh enough to play consistently well. He is usually second fiddle to a franchise goaltender such as Marty Turco or Henrik Lundqvist.
The Canadiens still have Carey Price, a young goaltender who they remain high on despite his struggles in the NHL. Price was spectacular in the AHL, but has not been able to find his form since joining the Canadiens.
Theodore will be able to stay fresh, and he put up respectable numbers with the Habs, so there should still be some interest there.
In five seasons with Montreal, Theodore averaged a 2.66 GAA and a .911 save percentage.
The Minnesota Wild have not made the playoffs since the 2007-2008 season.
They have promising goaltenders in Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding. However, both regressed last season.
Backstrom posted a 2.72 GAA and a .903 save percentage, while Harding had a 3.05 GAA and a .905 save percentage.
With a solid coach in Todd Richards and an offense-first system in place, the Wild will continue to come back in 2010-2011, and Theodore would be a good goalie to sign.
Theodore knows what it is like to be on a rebuilding team. Not that long ago, the Capitals were in the same position and began to break out as a legitimate threat with Theodore as part of their goaltending tandem.
The Predators do not yet have a backup for starting goaltender Pekka Rinne.
Rinne averaged 55 games played in his first two seasons with the Predators. This past season, he was third among NHL goaltenders with seven shutouts and put up a respectable 32-16-5 record.
With no backup plan in place for the Predators, Theodore could easily come in and play at least 25-30 games.
New York Islanders
Why not throw another one of Theodore’s former teams into the running?
Craig Anderson has been steady for Colorado. He tied for third in the NHL with seven shutouts, including one in the playoffs.
Despite the Avs’ first-round elimination, Anderson still posted a .933 save percentage in six games of action.
Peter Budaj has been mostly mediocre in five seasons with Colorado, and it seems like he will not be a goaltender of the future with the Avs.
Theodore, despite his own limited postseason success, is a safer bet than Budaj.
San Jose Sharks
After franchise goaltender Evgeni Nabokov bolted for the KHL, the Sharks went out and signed Antero Nittymaki.
Nittymaki had a strong second half with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He led the Lightning to their first four-game winning streak since the 2007-2008 season and was the winning goalie for Tampa Bay’s 500th franchise victory on March 25.
Sharks backup goaltender Thomas Greiss had a solid record last year, going 7-4-1 in 16 games, but if Nittymaki continues his strong play, Greiss may have an even harder battle to get playing time.
Nittymaki is likely to be the Sharks starter this season, and if San Jose grabbed Theodore, he would be more capable of challenging Nittymaki for a starting job than Greiss.