Poll: How much is Jaroslav Halak worth?

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Thumbnail image for halak.jpgIt’s not exactly as if Jaroslav Halak was a face in the crowd before the playoffs started. The impressive Slovak goalie sported an outstanding 92.4 save percentage and wrestled the Canadiens’ starting job from should-be savior Carey Price this season. Still, on a league-wide scale, there’s little doubt that this post-season run put him on the map … and probably will make him a rich man.

The question is: how much is he worth? Or perhaps more appropriately, how much will he garner at the negotiating table?

The first factor to consider is Jaroslav Halak is a restricted free agent. That means that there’s one impediment to Halak being the savior goalie for any number of desperate teams: the Canadiens can match any offer sheet sent his way. Still, my guess is that if any player can force a general manager to commit the Kevin Lowe faux paus of sending a big offer sheet, it would be Halak.

About a month or two ago, it occurred to me that “the going rate” is about $5 million for an “established” goalie. After the jump, I’ll share a list of goalies in the $4.5 to $6 million annual cap hit range and share a few names that might parallel Halak the most.

kipper.jpgHere’s a list in that $4.5 to $6 million range. There are a few close goalies such as Cam Ward (6.3) and Ryan Miller (6.25) that I left off since they’re a bit higher. It’s actually kind of surprising just how many goalies fall in that salary range, as you can see below. (Note: some contracts already expired)

Jonas Hiller: 4.5
Tim Thomas: 5
Miikka Kiprusoff: 5.83
Cristobal Huet: 5.625
Marty Turco: 5.7
Tomas Vokoun: 5.7
Nicklas Backstrom: 6
Martin Brodeur: 5.2
Rick Dipietro: 4.5
Ilya Bryzgalov: 4.25
Marc-Andre Fleury: 5
Evgeni Nabokov: 5.4
J.S. Giguere: 6
Roberto Luongo: 5.33
Jose Theodore: 4.5

There are two goalies who remind me the most of Halak’s situation.

Cristobal Huet: Another player who had some of his best moments in Montreal, Huet experienced an exhilarating contract year closing out win Washington. It didn’t hurt that he was an unrestricted free agent (or that Chicago was throwing out money like hot cakes), but there are some parallels between the two. Of course, Halak actually did something when it matters the most,  yet still …

Miikka Kiprusoff: Kipper never really had a chance to shine in San Jose’s crazy goalie factory. When he arrived in Calgary, a mediocre team nursed by Jarome Iginla was able to make a run for the playoffs and eventually the Stanley Cup Finals.

Those two goalies are making just less than $6 million, but Halak’s unrestricted free agency – along with a scant supply of No. 1jobs – makes the situation murky. My guess is that (barring a horrible collapse) Halak will make about $4.5 million per year. But what do you think? How much will his amazing playoff run fetch him? 


Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan

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Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?