NHL Free Agents 2011: Power Ranking the Top 11 Goalies Likely To Change Uniforms
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NHL free agency 2011 is not that far off. There is quite the crop of high-profile free agents out there, including goaltenders.
Florida goaltender Tomas Vokoun is a free agent and rumors have been circulating all year that he won't be returning to the Panthers. Phoenix goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov will be a free agent as well.
Other teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning could use better backup goaltending. Luckily for them, there will be plenty of other free-agent goaltenders available this offseason.
Here are the top 11 goaltenders who are most likely to change uniforms.
11. Johan Hedberg
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Johan Hedberg may seem poised to remain with the New Jersey Devils after this season. However, nothing has been released saying that Hedberg and the Devils are in negotiations.
In fact, Hedberg has even said that no one has contacted him regarding a re-signing, because they're probably waiting for the season to end.
Or, they're waiting for free agency so they can weigh their options. After all, following the Devils' less-than-desirable season, Lou Lamoriello has his work cut out for him to rebuild the team.
Hedberg should weigh his options as well. He could be a desirable goaltender for teams who will have goaltender vacancies.
10. Ty Conklin
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Ty Conklin was placed on waivers by the St. Louis Blues and cleared them in February.
Conklin could still be a valuable asset, playing backup to a young goaltender. His veteran presence and experience in the Stanley Cup Finals could be very beneficial to a young goaltender.
Detroit or Chicago could be good options if they part ways with their current goaltenders.
9. Jean-Sebastien Giguere
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Jean-Sebastien Giguere has had an injury-plagued 2010-11 season.
First, he suffered a groin injury. Then, upon his return, he re-injured his groin. It's always tough to prove yourself in the final year of your contract and even more difficult if you spend the majority of that season injured.
For that reason, along with Toronto's rebuilding, Giguere may wear a different uniform next season.
8. Semyon Varlamov
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Not only may Semyon Varlamov be in a different uniform next season, he may be in an entirely different league.
Varlamov will be a restricted free agent after this season and sources are saying that he is considering offers from KHL clubs.
If he can’t win a Cup with the Caps, there’s a good chance they won’t offer him as much as a KHL club would. Even if they win, the Caps may not offer him as much as a KHL club would.
Plus, the Caps have another option in goaltender Michal Neuvirth, who is rumored to be the favorite for starting in the playoffs.
They also have AHL affiliate Hershey Bears goaltender Braden Holtby, who was fantastic when called up to the Capitals.
7. Jose Theodore
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Jose Theodore signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Wild prior to the beginning of this season.
He is a pretty good deal, as his $1.1 million salary isn't too bad.
However, with Niklas Backstrom as their starter and Josh Harding likely to return from the injury that sidelined him this entire season, Theodore may be unnecessary for the Wild.
6. Pascal Leclaire
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Pascal Leclaire is recovering from a hip surgery, which puts his future in the NHL in doubt. However, if Ray Emery can recover, Leclaire has a chance to as well.
He may not be with the Ottawa Senators anymore though.
After all, the Senators signed Craig Anderson to a multi-year deal and claimed Curtis McElhinney. It seems like they're preparing to part ways with Leclaire.
5. Dan Ellis
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Once Jonas Hiller is fully recovered, the Anaheim Ducks won't need both Ray Emery and Dan Ellis. They will likely not re-sign one of them.
Emery seems like the more favorable choice to keep, considering Ellis' history of inconsistency.
Ellis could still find a spot to back up another NHL club though.
4. Marty Turco
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Marty Turco signed a one-year deal before this season to be the Chicago Blackhawks starting goaltender.
Then, rookie goaltender Corey Crawford deservedly won the starting job. Even though Turco has handled being the backup with class, it's surely a slap in the face to a veteran like Turco.
Crawford is in the position of being the Blackhawks starter for a long time.
As a free agent this summer, Turco may decide to sign with a club that needs a starting goaltender. A team, like Florida, perhaps.
3. Chris Osgood
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Jimmy Howard had a fantastic rookie campaign last season. He's struggled at times in his sophomore campaign, but he can probably bounce back, since the team has experienced a lot of injuries.
Osgood has been plagued by injury this season and some question whether the Wings need to re-sign him.
Some believe that Osgood will retire after this season, but I'm not sure he's ready to hang up his skates just yet.
However, I think there is a good chance that Osgood won't be a Red Wing next season because he should be a starter.
2. Ilya Bryzgalov
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Ilya Bryzgalov has not had as successful a season this year as he did last year. That's not to say he hasn't had a good season...it's just a statistical fact.
Rumors have been circulating that Bryzgalov will not be in Phoenix next season.
Teams that have been mentioned as possibilities to sign Bryz this summer include the Toronto Maple Leafs and his former squad, the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks seem unlikely since they already have three goaltender options (as of right now). The Leafs could be a possibility though.
Other possibilities could be Florida or Tampa Bay, depending on what happens with Tampa and Roloson.
1. Tomas Vokoun
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All year, Tomas Vokoun has been the center of trade rumors. Since he didn't get traded by the deadline, now rumors have Vokoun leaving Florida.
Vokoun is very likely headed out of Florida.
Possible destinations for Vokoun could be Toronto, Colorado or even Tampa Bay.