NHL Free Agency 2011: Top 15 Goalies and Where They Will Land

Scott SemmlerAnalyst IIJune 15, 2011

NHL Free Agency 2011: Top 15 Goalies and Where They Will Land

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    CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 23: Tomas Vokoun #29 of the Florida Panthers stops the puck with his skate against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on March 23, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    With only a handful of elite and reliable goalies in net in the NHL, now is as good a time as ever for a team to go out and acquire a fairly decent one.

    In the free agency class of 2011, there are several goalies that could do wonders for teams looking for a netminder.

    Already, we have seen the top goalie on the market acquired by the Philadelphia Flyers, who have wasted no time in claiming their future goaltender in Ilya Bryzgalov.

    Some teams are still desperate for a goalie, though.

    The New Jersey Devils, Phoenix Coyotes and Tampa Bay Lightning are a few teams that could benefit from a decent goaltender to help them make a run in the playoffs.

    Here are the top goalies available that could soon find a home with any of those teams.


Alex Auld

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    BOSTON, MA - MARCH 24:  Alex Auld #35 of the Montreal Canadiens stops a shot in the third period by the Boston Bruins on March 24, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.  The Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 7-0.  (Photo by Elsa/Gett
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Auld has played the backup role for the Montreal Canadiens this past season, posting a 6-2-2 record behind Carey Price.

    Since the Canadiens do not seem to be in any rush with Auld, I would expect him to remain the backup in Montreal.

    Team: Montreal Canadiens

Ray Emery

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    ANAHEIM - APRIL 22:  Goalie Ray Emery #29 of the Anaheim Ducks makes a save against the Nashville Predators in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on April 22, 2011 in Anaheim, Califor
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The Anaheim Ducks have too much talent in net.

    Someone can argue that point, but the fact is they have Jonas Hiller, Ray Emery and Dan Ellis.

    With Hiller the starter and Ellis under contract for next season, expect Emery to be open for business on July 1st.

    Emery showed he may be ready for another starting spot on a roster, so look for several teams to pursue him.

    New team: Florida Panthers

Peter Budaj

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    GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 01:  Goaltender Peter Budaj #31 of the Colorado Avalanche in action during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on April 1, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Avalanche defeated the Coyotes 4-3 in an overtime shoo
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Budaj posted a record of 15-21-4 in 45 games this past season, leaving the possibility of a starting role somewhere in the air.

    Also, the Colorado Avalanche have made it pretty clear they will not re-sign the 31-year-old.

    Look for a desperate team to take a risk at making him a starter, otherwise we will see him in the backup role in 2011-12.

    New team: Edmonton Oilers

Mathieu Garon

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    GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 24:  Goaltender Mathieu Garon #32 of the Columbus Blue Jackets during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on March 24, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Blue Jackets 3-0.  (Photo by Christia
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Garon went 10-14-6 for the Columbus Blue Jackets behind starter Steve Mason.

    Look for Garon to nab a backup role again, with a few teams in dire need of support in the pipes.

    The New Jersey Devils could be a nice fit.

    New team: New Jersey Devils

Brian Boucher

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 02:  Mark Recchi #28 of the Boston Bruins shoots the puck as goalie Brian Boucher #33 of the Philadelphia Flyers makes the save in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Wells Fargo
    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Boucher's inconsistent play in net has his team in need of a goalie and wondering if he can actually become a legitimate starter.

    Boucher went 18-10-4 for the Flyers in 2010-11, but since the team acquired Bryzgalov, they will have to part with either Michael Leighton, Bobrovsky or Boucher.

    I see the Flyers leaning towards re-signing Boucher as the Bryzgalov's back-up.

    Team: Philadelphia Flyers

Chris Osgood

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    DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 2:  Chris Osgood #30 of the Detroit Red Wings turns a shot away in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on January 2, 2011 at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Flyers defeated the Wings 3-2. (Photo by Claus Anderzen/Get
    Claus Andersen/Getty Images

    Osgood has expressed his desire to stay with the Detroit Red Wings, so now the ball is in the team's court as to whether they feel he can be an efficient backup behind Jimmy Howard.

    Osgood played in just 11 games for the Red Wings last season, and the debate is whether the Red Wings can find a better backup in free agency.

    At 39 years old, expect the Wings to re-sign Osgood and keep him until he retires.

    Team: Detroit Red Wings

Ty Conklin

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - FEBRUARY 4: Ty Conklin #29 of the St. Louis Blues looks to make a save against the Edmonton Oilers at the Scottrade Center on February 4, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Conklin's .881 save percentage and 3.22 GAA is not helping anybody, but there still is room on another team for him.

    Whether that spot is as a starter or backup has yet to be decided.

    A team like the Edmonton Oilers or Phoenix Coyotes could be possible locations.


    New team: Edmonton Oilers

Johan Hedberg

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    PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 05:  Johan Hedberg #1 of the New Jersey Devils makes a save on Arron Asham #45 of the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center on April 5, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Penguins defeated the Devils 4-2.  (Photo by Justin
    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Hedberg had a very nice season for the New Jersey Devils, posting a .912 save percentage in 34 games played last season.

    For that reason, expect the Devils, who are already in need of depth at goalie, to keep him.


    Team: New Jersey Devils

Josh Harding

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    BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 12: Goalie Josh Harding #37 of the Minnesota Wild guards the net during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena on March 12, 2010 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Hard to say what Harding's value in net is these days, after sitting out the entire 2010-11 season with a torn ACL.

    However, he is still young at 27 years old.

    The Minnesota Wild are likely to re-sign him.

    Team: Minnesota Wild

Marty Turco

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    DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 11:  Goaltender Marty Turco #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks in goal against the Dallas Stas at American Airlines Center on February 11, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Does Turco still have starting stuff in him after being beat out by rookie Corey Crawford for the starting spot in Chicago?

    We will find out, and I am sure another team would like to as well.

    A team like the Coyotes, who are in need of a starter after parting ways with Bryzgalov, could be a good fit.

    New team: Phoenix Coyotes

Mike Smith

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    BOSTON, MA - MAY 23:  A second period goal shot by Nathan Horton #18 of the Boston Bruins hits the back of the net past Mike Smith #41 of the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    With their top two goaltenders entering the free agent market, the Lightning need a netminder.

    Dwayne Roloson did all he could last season, and Smith stepped up, for the most part, when called upon.

    However, everyone knows the Lightning will be shopping this offseason, and a goalie is their biggest target. Roloson is 41 years old and Smith will not get this team to the playoffs.

    With all that said, Smith seems to be the odd man out here, as Roloson is expected to be the backup or starter if the price is not right for some of these goalies.


    New team: Colorado Avalanche

Dwayne Roloson

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    BOSTON, MA - MAY 27:  Dwayne Roloson #35 of the Tampa Bay Lightning stops a puck in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston Bruins during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 27, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Pho
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Just to reiterate, the Lightning will be keeping Roloson as either their backup, once they find a starter in free agency, or he may stay their starter if the price is not right.

    Either way, he is in Tampa Bay next season.

    Team: Tampa Bay Lightning

Pascal LeClaire

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    NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 5: Pascal Leclaire #33 of the Ottawa Senators deflects a shot on goal during the second period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on December 5, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images
    Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

    The Ottawa Senators have their two goalies in Craig Anderson and Curtis McElhinny. It would seem as though LeClaire is out of work in Ottawa.

    Still, he will be coveted by teams in dire need of a very good goalie when healthy.

    The problem is he played in only 14 games last season and is recovering from hip surgery.

    There is room for him somewhere in the league, right?

    Not with the hip injury and a total of 60 games played over the past three seasons.

    New team: Europe

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

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    BUFFALO, NY - FEBRUARY 16: Jean-Sebastien Giguere #35 of the Toronto Maple Leafs covers up on a shot by Tim Connolly #19 of the Buffalo Sabres  at HSBC Arena on February 16, 2011 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Giguere's injury-plagued 2010-11 season in the last year of his contract would seem to get him the boot in Toronto.

    He played in just 33 games last season, finishing with a 11-11-4 record.

    If he wants to test the free agent market, he should. Otherwise, he will be backing up Jason Reimer in Toronto.

    Team: Toronto Maple Leafs

Tomas Vokoun

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    UNIONDALE, NY - FEBRUARY 21:  Goalie Tomas Vokoun #29 of the Florida Panthers makes a save during an NHL hockey game against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Coliseum on February 21, 2011 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
    Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

    Vokoun wants out of Florida, and the mid-season trade rumors were not doing anyone any favors.

    The good thing for Vokoun is that the Lightning, who seemed just a goaltender away from the Stanley Cup, have an opening at his position.

    Roloson will be back, but Smith is on the move, leaving an opening in net. And the Lightning may have deep enough pockets.

    Vokoun immediately puts the Lightning at the head of that Eastern Conference, being that they just missed the Stanley Cup last season.

    New team: Tampa Bay Lightning