With Ilya Bryzgalov out of the fold, Mike Smith in place as the starter and Jason LaBarbera signed as the backup, the Phoenix Coyotes’ short-term goaltending future is clear. What’s not so clear is how effective that duo will be.
While this signing won’t ease those concerns, the Coyotes added a little depth to their netminding ranks by signing Justin Pogge to a one-year, two-way deal. The team didn’t disclose how much the deal is worth, but Cap Geek’s numbers indicate that it might be worth about $575K if he plays at the NHL level and $80K if he remains in his most likely place in the AHL.
Pogge earned seven games of NHL experience with the Toronto Maple Leafs (going 1-4-1 with an awful .844 save percentage and 4.35 GAA in 2008-09), but it’s likely that he’s pretty low on the Coyotes totem pole. Curtis McElhinney is almost certainly higher on the depth chart and Mark Visentin could be their goalie of the future. Pogge probably just wants to find a stable hockey home after being traded in August 2009 by the Maple Leafs and March 2010 by the Anaheim Ducks. He spent last season playing for the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers (the Carolina Hurricanes’ AHL affiliate).
In five AHL seasons with the Checkers, Toronto Marlies, San Antonio Rampage and Albany River Rats, the 25-year-old native of Fort McMurray, Alberta, played in 217 games, posting a 106-81-20 record with eight shutouts, a 2.69 GAA and a .909 SV%.