NHL Trade Scenarios: Top 7 Goaltenders Teams Will Be Targeting This Summer
The only player who spends the an entire hockey game on the ice is the goaltender, hence why it's important to have one you can rely on While some people may say you don't need a great goaltender to win a Cup, there comes a time when your goalie is going to have to win some games for you.
Some teams are set for the next five to seven years or more between the pipes (Pittsburgh, Buffalo, etc.), but others are struggling to find the perfect fit for their team.
Let's take a look at a few non-free agent goaltenders who might be available to assist with their plight.
Sergei Bobrovsky: Philadelphia Flyers
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What about Bob?
Before the Flyers lost all confidence in the 22-year-old during the playoffs, Bobrovsky was a Calder trophy candidate during the regular season.
He posted 28 wins to go along with his 2.59 goals against average and a .915 save percentage, which was only slightly below peers like Jonathan Quick, Marc-Andre Fleury and Corey Crawford.
With the Flyers recently blowing up their team and signing Ilya Bryzgalov to a massive contract, Bobrovsky has instantly become expendable no matter what Paul Holmgren says.
I'd say a talented goaltender in his early 20s is something that many teams around the league would love to have.
Carey Price: Montreal Canadiens
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Now here's an interesting little scenario...
While it seems like Carey Price has been in the league forever, he's still only 23 years old and his best years as a goaltender are still ahead of him.
For whatever reason, Price has never been fully embraced in Montreal, having been benched in the past in favor of Jaroslav Halak and getting booed by the Montreal faithful.
To add a little fuel to the fire, Price is also entering the last year of a two year, $5.5 million deal after which he'll become a restricted free agent.
Certainly, the Canadiens will want to hold on to their talented, young goaltender, but what if a team like Edmonton comes along and makes an offer they can't refuse?
Pekka Rinne: Nashville Predators
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Now here's something I don't want to see because I actually liked seeing Nashville make the playoffs this year and give their fans something to cheer about.
The sad truth is that Nashville is a small market team with a big-time goaltender. Rinne would have won the Vezina trophy in any other year after posting a spectacular 2.12 GAA and a save percentage of .930. He, however, is also due to become an unrestricted free agent after this season, and Nashville might have some problems retaining his services.
The Predators are going to have to give captain Shea Weber a bump in pay this year, and next year, they face the expiring contracts of Rinne, Jordin Tootoo, Ryan Suter, Brett Lebda and many others. Why would they let Rinne walk for nothing when they could grab a prospect or a ton of picks?
Andrew Raycroft: Dallas Stars
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Raycroft was once deemed the next great goaltender after winning the Calder Trophy with the Bruins. However, the 2004 NHL lockout seemed to stall his progress, and Raycroft struggled after the work stoppage and earned a ticket to Hockey Purgatory a.k.a Toronto, Canada.
After bouncing around the league a bit more, Raycroft landed in Dallas as a backup to Kari Lehtonen and performed decent enough, posting a .910 save percentage.
Actually, the year before in Vancouver, Raycroft also was sharp and had a 2.42 goals against average in 21 games. Taking into account the last two years, Raycroft might be worth the risk for a team desperate for goaltending help.
The 31-year-old Raycroft still has a few good years ahead of him, and who knows, maybe a solid starting job could get him back to form.
Martin Biron: New York Rangers
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Biron, a former 30-game winner with the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers, has been a victim of bad luck more than bad play in the past few years.
Biron was traded from Buffalo to Philadelphia after phenom Ryan Miller won the starting job and the Flyers let him walk in exchange for Ray Emery and Brian Boucher.
With other teams having already fulfilled their goaltending issues, Biron signed a one-year deal with the Islanders as a backup and then did the same with the Rangers (albeit a two-year deal).
Unfortunately for Biron, he fractured his collarbone during practice and missed all of the 2010-2011 season.
Biron has a career GAA of 2.61 and a save percentage of .911, both good enough to be in the top tier of goaltenders in the NHL.
Since he is entering the final year of his contract with the Rangers, Biron would be an excellent candidate for a team looking to add a veteran presence between the pipes.
Roberto Luongo/Cory Schneider: Vancouver Canucks
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Oh boy, this one is going to ruffle some feathers.
The availability of Luongo is going to depend on if Canucks management bows to public pressure from fans who are calling for Luongo's head. Cory Schneider is waiting in the wings and performed well enough in relief to have fans believing he could be the next big thing in Vancouver.
However, Luongo does come with a hefty price tag ($6.7 million per year), so anyone who would make an offer would have to have considerable cap room or pull off a blockbuster.
On the other hand, would the Canucks be willing to part with their young goaltender if the price is right? Schneider was able to achieve a great .929 save percentage last year in relief of Luongo and showed signs he is ready for the spotlight.
While I'm not sure if Vancouver would be willing to move either netminder, I'm sure there would be a riot if it happened.
Nikolai Khabibulin: Edmonton Oilers
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The Oilers are getting younger and Nikolai Khabibulin just keeps getting older.
Khabibulin has been extremely limited due to injuries the past few seasons, but in his last full season, he won 25 games with the Chicago Blackhawks and had a 2.33 goals against average.
While Khabibulin is certainly no spring chicken, Dwayne Roloson has proven that "old" goaltenders can still be successful with a solid defense corps in front of them and a little luck.
Obviously, anyone who trades for Khabibulin would have to give up some young players in order to fit the Oilers rebuilding plan. That could be a sticking point, but for a team in desperate times, Khabibulin might be the best fit.