Calgary Flames

Even after flurry of trades, goalie market is far from settled

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There were seven different trades over the course of Friday and Saturday that involved a goaltender, but even after that there are teams that still need to address their situation between the pipes. With the free agent period just around the corner and the trade market now in full swing, the pieces are likely to continue to fall into place rapidly. While we have a breather though, let’s take a look at where we stand.

Has Dallas addressed its goaltending needs?

Kari Lehtonen failed to live up to expectations last season so the Dallas Stars would naturally like to hedge their bets going forward. They’ve already taken a step towards that end by acquiring the rights to Antti Niemi from San Jose, but it remains to be seen if they can sign the netminder before he become an unrestricted free agent.

If they do sign Niemi, that might not settle their goaltending situation. He has spent the better part of his career serving as a starter and while his last two seasons haven’t been amazing, it’s likely that he’ll expect a significantly bigger salary than your typical backup. Which isn’t an issue by itself, but Dallas is still tied to Lehtonen for another three seasons at $5.9 million in cap space annually. That means Dallas will be dedicating a lot of its cap to goaltending and that’s something that may complicate matters for the squad unless it’s addressed.

What’s next for San Jose?

Meanwhile, San Jose still needs someone to work with Alex Stalock. The 27-year-old netminder had a 2.62 GAA and .902 save percentage in 22 games last season, so ideally the Sharks will want someone that can at least seriously challenge him for the starting job.

There are some noteworthy pending UFAs out there including Viktor Fasth, Karri Ramo, and Michal Neuvirth, but it’s also possible San Jose will make another trade.

“We’ve been exploring things for quite awhile, a lot of it in the trade market obviously,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson told CSN Bay Area. “As we’ve looked at it, we think there’s probably more goalies than there are teams. There’s more people that are available or could be available in discussions than you guys probably hear about.”

Who will be Steve Mason’s backup in Philadelphia?

With Ray Emery’s contract set to expire, the Flyers are in the market for a backup goaltender. They didn’t want to take part in the flurry of goaltending trades though.

“I didn’t want to give up an asset for a backup, quite honestly,” Flyers GM Ron Hextall told CSN Philly. “Did I talk to anybody? People called and I found out the prices.”

With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Philadelphia find its number two netminder on the free agent market.

Anaheim has created something of a logjam

When the Anaheim Ducks acquired Anton Khudobin from Carolina, it led some to naturally wonder if 21-year-old goaltender John Gibson was on the block. Ducks GM Bob Murray’s response was not family friendly, but the short version of his answer is: No.

So we can only assume that this issue won’t be addressed this summer, which makes it unique among the goaltending situations discussed here. Even still, it is awkward as this likely means that Gibson will be expected to spend the 2015-16 campaign in the minors after posting a decent 2.60 GAA and .914 save percentage in 23 games with Anaheim last season. This might just be a short-term setback for him though as Khudobin only has a year left on his contract before he can test the unrestricted free agent market.

Gibson trade rumors leave Ducks GM muttering profanities

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It only seemed natural to wonder if the Anaheim Ducks’ acquisition of Anton Khudobin would be the precursor to another goalie move, but apparently that’s not the case.

In fact, it sounds like Ducks GM Bob Murray was incensed by the rumors, as you can see from The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell’s account:

“John Gibson is not getting traded,” Murray said. “So put that (expletive) out there, OK. That’s enough.”

This was an amusing way to put it, too:

Murray may rank as the NHL executive most in need of a five-second delay … at least when it comes to rumors about his goalies. Back in January 2014, he needed to be censored when asked about a possible Jonas Hiller trade.

He might not like the rumors, yet they crop up for a reason (much like irksome ones involving Hiller and Bobby Ryan eventually hinted at exits that did happen). The Ducks have three goalies in Khudobin, Gibson and Frederik Andersen under contract for just one more season, so it’s only reasonable to wonder when the other shoe might drop.

You might need earmuffs if you ask Murray about it around kids, though.

Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks

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It’s official: the Calgary Flames have acquired defenseman Dougie Hamilton, sending the Boston Bruins these three draft picks (all in 2015):

  • 15th overall selection.
  • 45th pick.
  • 52nd pick.

The early reactions are that the Bruins didn’t get enough for Hamilton, even if their takeaway is a combination of draft choices and, essentially, cap relief.

As an RFA, Hamilton, 22, still needs a contract. That might not be much of an issue, though.

Even if the Flames trade a blueliner from their bloated mix – perhaps former Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman? – this is a stacked group. Calgary’s defense now includes Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Kris Russell, Wideman and now Hamilton. Few, if any, teams can approach that sort of depth.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie makes an interesting point: even if some are upset with the return, it might be more appropriate to compare it to what they’d have received in an offer-sheet situation.

This continues a run of Bruins trades that also included shipping Carl Soderberg to the Colorado Avalanche.

Report: Rangers have given five teams permission to speak with Cam Talbot

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The New York Rangers have taken the next step in an attempt to trade goaltender Cam Talbot.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Rangers have given the Calgary Flames, Dallas Stars, Edmonton Oilers, San Jose Sharks and Buffalo Sabres permission to speak with Talbot.

Friedman reports that teams are allowed to talk to the 27-year-old about how he would fit with the club and answer questions Talbot may have about the city, but are not permitted to discuss salary.

Talbot finished the 2014-15 season with a 21-9-4 record to go along with a 2.21 G.A.A. and a .926 save percentage in 36 appearances.

He is owed $1.45 million for next season before becoming an unrestricted free agent.

Related: Chiarelli thinks Oilers will probably add a goalie before draft

UFA of the Day: Antti Niemi

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Check PHT every day until June 30 for a new pending unrestricted free agent of the day. Today’s UFA of the Day is…

Antti Niemi

He won a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks, and he was a Vezina finalist with the Sharks. So his agent does have a good story to sell.

“I have to think he’s going to be one of the most sought-after goalies on the market,” Markus Lehto told ESPN.com.

But Niemi, 31, is also coming off a couple of so-so seasons in San Jose. His save percentage was .913 in 2013-14 and .914 in 2014-15, when the league average was .915.

While the Sharks have not ruled out bringing Niemi back, and Niemi has not “closed the door” on the Sharks, most expect him to move on.

Niemi’s future is likely to be determined in part by the trade market. Younger goalies like Cam Talbot, Robin Lehner, and Eddie Lack could all be dealt by July 1. Once the dust clears there, it’ll be easier to nail down his options.

Other UFA goalies include Devan Dubnyk, Karri Ramo, Michal Neuvirth, and Jhonas Enroth.

If Dubnyk somehow fails to reach a deal with the Wild, the market will become further convoluted.

Click here for more UFAs.