Who could or should be the Penguins goaltender next year?
The Penguins have their separation day today instead of making it to the second round of the playoffs in large part thanks to the goalies. Tristan Jarry just finished the worst round of the playoffs for a goaltender with expected goals since 2014, by Money Puck.
And while last year was Jarry’s first time as a full-time starting goalie, he’s not quite as young as a player. He’s 26 and has 107 career regular season NHL games to his name with a 0.911% saving, just a little above the league average these days.
If the goalkeeper was a question mark heading into the season, he was answered unfavorably. Jarry can be a really good stretching player, but he’s also proven to be unreliable and downright bad too. He started the season as one of the worst goaltenders in the league, and he ended the season the same way.
The old core of the Penguins is aging, and Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang have one year on their contracts. This illustrious run of the past 15 seasons will soon come to an end – at least with the main players involved.
Whether it’s adding Jason Zucker, Kasperi Kapanen, Jeff Carter, or a number of players in the past, Pittsburgh has cleared the cabinets to send future assets to load for now. This needs to continue more than ever to give Sidney Crosby and his company the best chance for a deep playoff series.
Jarry has a $ 3.5 million contract for two more seasons, but the team owe it to their hearts to aggressively shop for a network upgrade.
Who could be involved? We will take a look
Here’s a look at CapFriendly in the impending free agent goalie market with more than five wins this season:
The biggest name of the group is Tuukka Rask. He also just won a cap of $ 7.0 million and only played in Boston. If he leads them on a deep playoff series, has he even hit the market, or would both sides want to re-engage? It’s probably still in the air.
Philipp Grubauer could be in the same boat as Rask, maybe his team find a way to hold him back, especially if he takes them to the Promised Land. Grubauer is interesting because in theory he would play a similar role in Pittsburgh, Colorado. The Penguins aren’t as dominant or as skilled as the Avalanche, but both teams control the game and don’t ask their goalkeepers to make a ton of saves, but need them.
Linus Ullmark is a player who also deserves attention. He saved .917% at Buffalo this season in 20 games, and a .915% savings in 34 games last season. The guy deserves some sort of medal for that. He’s a big age (28 this summer), tall (6’4, 215) and is technically proficient.
Other than that, I don’t see a ton of exciting stuff in the free agent market. Jaroslav Halak is getting a bit old in the tooth, and Mike Smith and Pekka Rinne are also behind in their usefulness. Do Antti Raanta or Frederick Andersen move the ton needle? Meh, I don’t think so.
Chris Dreidger and Petr Mrazek have had good seasons, but would they be able to replicate that? And in a bigger role next year with the brunt of a heavier workload and high expectations? I am skeptical.
At the end of the line: It’s not a great pool of free agents to find a starting goalie. The best option would be Rask, but the Penguins would need to clear a significant salary cap space to land a goalie of this caliber, if he even hits the market. In this day and age when good players weren’t asking for exemptions because of the flat cap, it will be much easier said than done to clear a lot of salary cap space.
Ullmark, however, I really think it would be worth checking out. He did an admirable job in an absolutely putrid team.
John gibson is the name everyone will dream of. Damn, I know I’m guilty of it. It doesn’t seem very realistic to bring the kid back from his hometown, although on the ice it would surely be a game. Anaheim has Gibson (who has six more years on his contract) and then not much else in the net. They’ve had Ryan Miller this season, but he’s already declared his retirement. They’ve got Anthony Stolarz, then some longer term prospects and nothing else. It wouldn’t make sense for them to part with Gibson. It is now the whole franchise. It’s fun to dream about, but outside of a PlayStation, probably not a viable match in real life.
Anton Khudobin would be an interesting name to consider. Dallas must protect Ben Bishop via his NMC in the expansion project (unless he agrees to give it up). Khudobin is now 35 and has had an average season this year (.905% savings in 32 games), but last year was a .930% regular season goalie and was 14- 10 in the playoffs last year 12 quality starts for only 2 bad starts. Khudobin didn’t have the “trademark” recognition to get much fanfare, but he was the quietly solid goalie the Penguins could use.
Thomas greiss is in Detroit with one more year at $ 3.6 million on his contract (with Detroit a team willing to keep and / or take back bad contracts in exchange for a little more). The former Penguin also performed admirably with a .912% save in 34 games with the red wings Last year. He will be 36 next season. A career goalkeeper of 0.914% save, Greiss is just a quietly consistent goalie. He’s older and has never really been a starter, but he’s proven himself.
Jonathan quick: There are plenty of reasons to stay away, like his age (35), contract status ($ 5.8million minted for two more years), and recent performance (.904% savings). or less in the past three seasons). But he played for a bad team, and if we know anything about Ron Hextall it’s that he enjoys the familiarity of acquiring players he knows. He knows Quick. One would have to assume that LA would also be willing to eat up a salary in this situation, to avoid the extra years of a buyout. But does Quick have something in the tank?
Braden Holtby: wow, wouldn’t that be something? Holtby is also likely expansion fodder (if Seattle even wants it) and has one more year left for a cap of $ 4.3 million. Holtby has also recorded just a 904% save over the past four seasons, falling short of 2011-17 when he was one of the best goalies in the league. He was only 32 in the fall.
Or … there is always Jarry since he is also under contract.
Still, so close to a disastrous end to the season, it’s more fun to imagine the team looking to take a step and improve the goalie position for next season to give them the best shot. Who would be your dream pick? And, to come back to reality, who is a keeper that the Pens might have? I think Ullmark is the best compromise of a quality goalkeeper that shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg. Ideally, it could be Rask or even Gibson, but that seems a bit too far-fetched to be optimistic.