NHL Free Agents 2011: The 5 Best Goaltenders Still Available
As the new season quickly approaches, general managers and coaches will begin to scramble to try to fill their respective rosters. Quite a few teams are still looking to fill a goaltending role.
Fortunately, there are still quite a few left on the market. The players listed in this slideshow are desperate to find new employers for the upcoming year. For many pairings it could be a perfect match.
Here are the five best remaining goaltenders on the market, and some teams who may look to sign them.
5. Mike Brodeur
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Mike Brodeur has spent the last two seasons with the Binghamton Senators of the American Hockey League, filling in with spot duty when Pascal Leclaire has gone down with injury. The 28-year-old is 3-0-0 in his NHL career, including a 2-0 shutout against the New York Islanders. He didn't appear in any NHL games last season.
Brodeur will have an AHL team come training camp, but it is likely to be in a role where he plays backup for one of the organization's young goalies. He has shown in the past that he has the talent to be an NHL backup, but he signed in a log-jam of goalies in Ottawa and was unfortunately unable to break through.
Projected 2012-13 Team: Nashville Predators
4. David LeNeveu
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Like Brodeur, LeNeveu is a good goalie who has never been given a real chance with an NHL team. He spent last season with the Columbus Blue Jackets' AHL affiliate, the Springfield Falcons.
He made his NHL debut way back in 2005.
Unlike Brodeur, LeNeveu makes a better call-up. He can fit into a team with a need for a good AHL-level goalie and can be a solid player when brought up. He could shoot to Europe, but it is more likely that he will sign with an NHL team on a two-way contract.
Projected 2012-13 Team: Calgary Flames
3. Marty Turco
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Last year, Turco played in Chicago and was a mentor to youngster Corey Crawford. He finds himself without a team in August.
The Canadian might be in the twilight of his career, but he can still be an effective backup and fill a similar spot to last year, playing with a young talent and helping to develop him. He will likely find a team around training camp as general managers scramble for last-minute talent.
Projected 2012-13 Team: Columbus Blue Jackets
2. Pascal Leclaire
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When the Columbus Blue Jackets drafted Pascal Leclaire with the eighth-overall pick in 2001, they did so based on his potential—it is sky high.
Leclaire has all the talent and potential in the world, but he has been badly plagued by injuries throughout his career. When he is fully fit, he is easily among the best in the league.
If a team is looking for an elite backup goaltender to provide competition, they should look no further. He can step in and play 30 games and be a good back-stopper. He'll likely go to a contender.
Projected 2012-13 Team: Anaheim Ducks
1. Ray Emery
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Ray Emery was once a great NHL prospect, but a bad attitude led to his downfall. He spent one season as a starter for the Ottawa Senators and put up good numbers, including a .918 save percentage, but he missed some practices and the team grew frustrated with him.
He has since spent time with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Anaheim Ducks, as well as some time in the KHL. He has been invited to the Chicago Blackhawks' training camp. He will likely sign there. Don't be surprised to see the 'Hawks go with a three-goaltender system with Corey Crawford and Alexander Salak.
Projected 2012-13 Team: Chicago Blackhawks