Now that Tomas Vokoun has signed with the Penguins, the Toronto Maple Leafs have one fewer goaltender to target this offseason.
So, what are the remaining options?
Pending unrestricted free agents include Scott Clemmensen, Josh Harding, and Martin Biron. All three could feasibly get the job done, but if you’re Leafs GM Brian Burke and you know you have to make the playoffs, would your stake your job on either of those three?
Which brings us to Roberto Luongo, if he indeed wants to leave Vancouver. Say what you will about the 33-year-old with the contract that lasts forever, but he’s started at least 54 games per season since 2000-01. As a regular starter in the NHL, his worst year statistically was 2009-10 when he won 40 games with a .913 save percentage and had four shutouts.
If you’re Burke, what do you do? Because we’re struggling to think of another practical option, unless you can convince the Canucks to trade Cory Schneider instead of Luongo. Of course, if the Canucks are willing to trade Schneider, the Leafs won’t be the only suitors. Columbus and Tampa Bay would be willing to pay, and pay big.
Any ideas for Burke? Share ‘em in the comments section.
Update: I’ll add another candidate — Tim Thomas? Obviously Burke would have to convince him to play, but if the Leafs are still committed to James Reimer in the long run, adding an elite goalie with one year left on his contract wouldn’t be such a bad option.
Oh, and if Thomas wants to play for Team USA in 2014, getting on Burke’s good side wouldn’t be a bad idea.
The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.
Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.
Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.
It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.
It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.
For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.
Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.
Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.
Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.
The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.
Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:
In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.
Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.
Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were without defenseman Olli Maatta for most of the first period of Game 2 after he was on the receiving end of a high, late hit from Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik.
The hit occurred early in the first period, well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck on a rush into the Washington zone.
Maatta, who nearly fell over as he tried to stand back up, was in obvious distress as he went to the dressing room. Orpik was given a minor penalty for interference on the play.