NHL Free Agency 2011: Presenting the Top Remaining Goalies
Tomas Vokoun shocked the hockey world when he signed a $1.5 million, one-year contract with the Washington Capitals. This is constantly toted as being one of the best steals of the 2011 NHL free agency.
Many teams are still looking for goaltenders (here's looking at you, Detroit Red Wings).
There are still good goalies out there in the free-agent market, some even for a bargain. Some are coming off a great season, while others are looking to rebound from an uncharacteristically bad season.
The following slideshow presents, according to NHL.com, the five top remaining free-agent goaltenders.
2010-2011 Team: Anaheim Ducks
2010-2011 Stats: 7 wins, 2 losses, 0 OT-losses, 2.28 GAA, 0.926 SV percentage
Career Stats: 94 wins, 53 losses, 15 OT-losses, 2.67 GAA, 0.908 SV percentage
Last Contract: One-year; two-way; $500,000
Notes: Avascular necrosis caused the ball in his right hip to almost be gone.
This injury resulted in his nomination for the Bill Masterton Memorial trophy.
After months of recovery, he played in 10 games for the Anaheim Ducks.
He is missing 13 centimeters of bone from his leg.
He spent a year playing in the Kontinental Hockey League (2008-2009).
He could be a cheap backup goaltender, looking at his last salary. Sadly, because of his condition, he will be limited in the number of games he could play. However, he is still a very solid goalie, especially for one of his condition.
2010-2011 Team: Ottawa Senators
2010-2011 Stats: 4 wins, 7 losses, 1 OT-loss, 2.83 GAA, 0.908 SV percentage
Career Stats: 61 wins, 76 losses, 15 OT-losses, 2.89 GAA, 0.904 SV percentage
Last Contract: 3 years, $11,400,000
Notes: Underwent hip surgery during last season. Leclaire is a very inconsistent goaltender, which is why the Senators' top-two goaltenders at the end of the 2010-2011 season were different than those at the beginning of the season.
Leclaire is also a very injury-prone player, having broken his cheekbone from a flying puck that flew onto the bench ('09-10 season), injured his ankle (required surgery) ('08-09 season) and a leg injury (2006).
His best season was in 2007-2008, when he posted nine shutouts, was second in the league in goals against average and was third in save percentage.
If he can stay healthy and find his niche, then he could be a very successful goalie. He is capable of posting top-in-the-league stats.
2010-2011 Team: Chicago Blackhawks
2010-2011 Stats: 11 wins, 11 losses, 3 OT losses, 3.02 GAA, 0.897 SV percentage
Career Stats: 273 wins, 165 losses, 40 OT losses, 2.35 GAA, 0.910 SV percentage
Last Contract: 1 year, $1,300,000
Notes: Turco had an uncharacteristically bad last season with the Chicago Blackhawks. I know that, personally, I was so excited when it was announced that the Hawks had signed Marty Turco, who was a star in Dallas.
Turco was initially the starting goaltender for Chicago, but after posting less than stellar stats, he was replaced by Corey Crawford.
He holds the league record for most shutouts in a playoff series (three).
He also holds Dallas' franchise record for most wins, most shutouts, most games played, most minutes played by a goaltender, most consecutive games played by a goaltender and most assists by a goalie.
Hopefully, Turco can rebound from last season, if he can find the right team.
2010-2011 Team: St. Louis Blues
2010-2011 Stats: 8 goals, 8 losses, 4 OT losses, 3.22 GAA, 0.881 SV percentage
Career Stats: 91 wins, 91 losses, 16 OT losses, 2.64 GAA, 0.908 SV percentage
Last Contract: 2 years, $2,600,00
Notes: Went undrafted and is a career backup goaltender.
Won a bronze medal in the 2004 IIHF World Championships (Team USA) and was selected as the tournament's best goaltender.
Was expected to be co-starting goaltender in the 2005-2006 NHL season for Edmonton, but injuries and inconsistent play caused Conklin to be put on waivers. A season-ending injury to the starting goaltender in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals led to Conklin being put in the net. A mistake he made resulted in his replacement; this was his last game as an Oiler.
Later, he spent his 2007-2008 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he was credited with mentoring a young Marc-Andre Fluery. He took over when Fleury was out with an ankle sprain, and is credited with making Fluery the great goaltender he is.
Conklin is arguably the best goaltender available, though it should not be for long. He could make a great mentor for a team with a young goaltender and would be a solid backup.
2010-2011 Team: Edmonton Oilers
2010-2011 Stats: 3 wins, 0 losses, 0 OT losses, 1.30 GAA, 0.958 SV percentage
Career Stats: 113 wins, 78 losses, 14 OT losses, 2.63 GAA, 0.911 SV percentage
Last Contract: 1 year, $500,000
Notes: Inconsistent play has led to Gerber being constantly removed and reappointed to various head-goaltender jobs.
He suffered a spinal contusion while playing in the Kontinental Hockey League, but was back playing in a few weeks.
Gerber has played for Team Sweden in eight IIHL World Championships and two Winter Olympics.
He would also make a good backup goaltender but will most likely find most of his minutes played in the AHL.
However, he signed with the Swedish Elite League for next season, so who ever signs him will have to wait.