Michal Neuvirth is out, and Thomas Greiss is in.
That’s the move Isles GM Garth Snow pulled off to open free agency on Wednesday, signing former Pittsburgh goalie Thomas Greiss to a two-year, $3 million deal (per Newsday).
Griess had a somewhat forgettable stint with the Penguins last season, largely due to Marc-Andre Fleury carrying such a heavy workload. The 29-year-old started just 18 times (9-6-3, 2.59 GAA, .908 save percentage), got the mumps and played just a handful of times down the stretch.
That said, player agent Rey Petkau said Greiss was interested in returning to Pittsburgh.
“We’ve spoken and neither side has closed the door,” he explained in late May. “But we’re not actively negotiating at this time either.”
At $1.5 million per season, Greiss is an affordable and seasoned backup to Jaroslav Halak. He has 89 games of NHL experience under his belt and will look to replicate the success he had as Mike Smith’s backup in Arizona two years ago, when he went 10-8-5 with a .920 save percentage.
In another move today, the Isles also confirmed what we posted yesterday — a new three-year deal for Thomas Hickey. It’s a $6.6 million pact, with an average annual cap hit of $2.2M.
Devan Dubnyk has won the 2015 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for bouncing back after going through the most difficult period of his career. The 2013-14 campaign was a disaster for him as he posted a 3.36 GAA and .894 save percentage in 32 contests with Edmonton before being shipped to Nashville and then Montreal where he played for AHL Hamilton.
Arizona gave him a chance at redemption as its backup goaltender and he did well in that role, challenging Mike Smith’s status as the team’s starter in the process. However, it wasn’t until the Minnesota Wild acquired him that Dubnyk’s season really took off. He carried the team to the playoffs with a 1.78 GAA and .936 save percentage in 39 contests during his time with the Wild.
His superb play was also recognized in the Vezina Trophy voting as he earned one first-place selection and finished third overall in the voting.
Here’s a list of the Masterton winners since 1990:
Year Winner Team
2015 Devan Dubnyk Min.
2014 Dominic Moore NYR
2013 Josh Harding Min.
2012 Max Pacioretty Mon.
2011 Ian Laperriere Phi.
2010 Jose Theodore Was.
2009 Steve Sullivan Nas.
2008 Jason Blake Tor.
2007 Phil Kessel Bos.
2006 Teemu Selanne Ana.
2004 Bryan Berard Chi.
2003 Steve Yzerman Det.
2002 Saku Koivu Mon.
2001 Adam Graves NYR
2000 Ken Daneyko N.J.
1999 John Cullen T.B.
1998 Jamie McLennan St.L.
1997 Tony Granato S.J.
1996 Gary Roberts Cgy.
1995 Pat LaFontaine Buf.
1994 Cam Neely Bos.
1993 Mario Lemieux Pit.
1992 Mark Fitzpatrick NYI
1991 Dave Taylor L.A.
1990 Gord Kluzak Bos.
For many NHL teams, the most relevant salary cap news for 2015-16 is that the ceiling will be $71.4 million. In the case of the Arizona Coyotes, it may be a strenuous race to the floor.
The floor is set at $52.8 million, which means the Coyotes will need to spend more than $18 million to get there.
(General Fanager has their cap spending at a slightly lower level, but let’s stick with “more than $18 million” to keep things simple.)
Whatever the exact amount may be, this development generated a slew of jokes from those hoping their teams would shed unwanted salaries. Just looking at the replies to that Five for Howling tweet, here are some “friendly suggestions.”
Anyway, you get the point, but there are a few things to consider.
For one thing, the Coyotes have a ton of players they can re-sign.
Granted, some of them might not be worth retaining, like maybe Martin Erat. Still, the likes of Mikkel Boedker should eat up space, and the Coyotes may want to pay extra for a backup in case embattled starter Mike Smith isn’t a pretty good goalie after all.
On the other hand, Oliver Ekman-Larsson ranks among those who are concerned that the Coyotes’ latest off-the-ice saga may hurt their standing in the eyes of many free agents. That, along with a surplus of available draft picks, could indeed mean that Arizona GM Don Maloney may prefer to call up teams suffering from cap crunches.
Long story short: it may be silly too dream too big here, but go ahead and make your Cam Ward/Mike Richards/etc. jokes as needed. A long summer is coming, after all.