The six best potential 2011 UFA goalies (with a complete list)

breezyufa.jpgWhen a sports team (or group of fans) spouts the “Wait ’til next year” line, they usually mean that the next season could bring better things. Yet after a few days of the free agent frenzy, that saying might also apply to July 2011.

It’s very early to look at future unrestricted free agents – especially since many of them will probably sign extensions at some point before then – but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun picturing different scenarios.

In the next few posts, I’ll go over some of the most promising unrestricted free agents by position.

I began with the forwards, then the defensive guys so let’s finish it off with goalies. All of the eligible goalies (listed by CapGeek.com) are included in the spreadsheet below.

goaliesufa2011.JPG

Here are top six goalies who could land a nice new contract in July 2011.

Ilya Bryzgalov
Current Age: 30
Previous Cap Hit: $4.25 million

Breezy put together a near-Vezina level year last season and was the clear MVP of the Phoenix Coyotes. He’s young enough to be a franchise goalie for five years, maybe more.

Tomas Vokoun
Current Age: 34
Previous Cap Hit: $5.7 million

He’s been doomed to obscurity playing for bad-to-middling Panthers and Predators teams, but Vokoun consistently puts up the kind of numbers that make stats bloggers’ hearts aflutter. He’s a little old, but Vokoun could get a lot of attention from teams needing a short term fix in net.

Craig Andersoncraigandersoninnet.jpg
Current Age: 29
Previous Cap Hit: $1.81 million

While it isn’t safe to say he’ll replicate his unexpectedly great regular season – or a playoff run in which he survived a barrage of San Jose Sharks shots and nearly lead his team to a first round upset – Anderson could earn himself a huge raise if he puts together another good year. His bank account has a lot riding on next season, even if he stays in Colorado once it’s all over.

Jimmy Howard
Current Age: 26
Previous Cap Hit: approx. $717K

After years of falling short of the pro level, Jimmy Howard might have saved the Detroit Red Wings’ 09-10 season. He won’t be a cheap option after next season, but at his age, he could really make a jump if he flourishes for another year.

J.S. Giguere
Current Age: 33
Previous Cap Hit: $6 million

Things haven’t been great for the Cup-winner and Conn Smythe winner the last few seasons, but he still has name recognition. He’s somewhat old, but a good season could earn him a clear No. 1 job and some security to boot.

Chris Osgood
Current Age: 37
Previous Cap Hit: $1.42 million

He’s getting a little old and really struggled last season, but he’s won Cups and developed a reputation for stepping his game up during the playoffs.

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    Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

    Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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    It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

    As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

    Actually …

    If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

    Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

    Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

    The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

    On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

    Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

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    Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

    The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

    You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

    At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

    Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

    (Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

    As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

    Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

    Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

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    Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

    Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

    Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

    That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

    Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

    Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

    Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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    For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

    Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

    Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

    Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

    Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

    The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.