Following reports that Henrik Lundqvist will be out “at least” a month with a neck injury, it seems likely that Rangers GM Glen Sather will bring in a veteran netminder to his goaltending group, which currently consists of Cam Talbot (33 career games) and MacKenzie Skapski (zero).
So, here are some options:
Jonas Gustavsson, Detroit
Contract: In last of one-year, $1.85M deal
The emergence of 22-year-old Petr Mrazek — 12-4-1 this year, .912 save percentage, 2.50 GAA — has resulted in a crowded Red Wings crease; right now it’s Mrazek and Gustavsson in Detroit with No. 1 Jimmy Howard targeting a Feb. 11 return.
(Don’t forget former first-round pick Thomas McCollum, who’s been solid this year in both Detroit and Grand Rapids.)
Assuming Mrazek is Howard’s heir apparent, Gustavsson seems like the odd man out moving forward and, as far as stopgap replacements go, he’d be good one. “The Monster” has only made three big-league appearances this year but, last season, went an impressive 16-5-4 for the Wings and started two playoff games after Howard went down to injury.
(Of course, for this to happen Detroit would essentially be agreeing to help out a potential Eastern Conference playoff opponent… which could be a reach.)
Jason LaBarbera, Anaheim
Contract: In last of one-year, $750,000 deal
A well-traveled veteran that played under Alain Vigneault in Vancouver, LaBarbera has made five appearances for Anaheim this season and performed reasonably well, going 2-0-1 with a .909 save percentage and 2.61 GAA.
Though he’s spent the majority of this season in AHL Norfolk, the 35-year-old has nearly 200 games of NHL experience and actually played for Sather — LaBarbera made four appearances for the Rangers in 2003-04, when Slats was the head coach.
Michael Leighton, Chicago
Contract: In last of one-year, $900,000 deal
Though he’s yet to play in the NHL this season, the 33-year-old journeyman has been one of the American League’s top netminders in ’14-15, going 12-7-4 with a 2.01 GAA and .931 save percentage.
Leighton, who backstopped Philadelphia en route to the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, doesn’t project to have much of a future with the Blackhawks; Corey Crawford’s locked in as the starter, the club is high on Antti Raanta as a potential No. 2 and Scott Darling showed this season he’s capable of playing at the NHL level.