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? 


Flames acquire Freddie Hamilton, brother of Dougie

Freddie Hamilton
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Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.

Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.

Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.

This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.

Fabbri primed to make Blues in significant role

Jason Demers, Robby Fabbri
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With the start of the regular season just around the corner, it looks like Robby Fabbri will not only make his NHL debut on Thursday, but also get meaningful minutes.

During Sunday’s practice the 19-year-old forward played alongside Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz. Nothing is set in stone, but that combination did gel.

“I think we want to look at what the combinations look like now rather than do it at the start of the season,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re looking at a hard match line and we’re also looking at taking advantage of speed and skill off the rush.

“I really liked what I saw today. I really liked Lehtera’s line, they looked very dynamic off the rush.”

The top line of Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, and Vladimir Tarasenko seems like a good bet to play together for the time being. Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz will stick together on the second line while Dmitrij Jaskin and David Backes can expect to be regular partners on the third unit. The X-factors will be Fabbri and Troy Brouwer as Hitchcock has left the door open to alternating between the two of them on the second and third line depending on the opponent.

Fabbri was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and is looking to make the leap after a brief stint in the AHL last season. At the OHL level, he’s been a dominate force with the Guelph Storm, scoring 25 goals and 51 points in 30 games in 2014-15.