Today, in the wake of Josh Harding’s decision to stay in Minnesota, let’s look at the top goalies that could become unrestricted free agents on July 1.
Scott Clemmensen – With all due respect, you know it’s a limited field when a 34-year-old that’s never started more than 39 games in a regular season is first on the list. Clemmensen went 14-6-6 with a .913 save percentage with the Panthers in 2011-12. His cap hit shouldn’t exceed $2 million, unless he’s got a fantastic agent.
Martin Biron – It was reported June 8 that the Rangers wanted to re-sign the 34-year-old to return as Henrik Lundqvist’s back-up, but so far no deal has been reached. Biron’s numbers (12-6-2, .904 SV%) were far from fantastic in 2011-12, and he hasn’t been a regular starter since 2008-09 when he was in Philadelphia.
Jonas Gustavsson – “The Monster” is coming off a tough season in Toronto, but only three years ago Leafs GM Brian Burke was thrilled to sign the late bloomer out of Sweden. “Jonas is considered by many to be the best goaltender not playing in the NHL today,” said Burke. Since then, Gustavsson has gone 39-45-0 with a .900 save percentage.
Chris Mason – A 36-year-old that went 8-7-1 with a .898 SV% last season in Winnipeg. And yes, he’s fourth on our list.
Other UFAs include Dan Ellis, Johan Hedberg, and Al Montoya.
Of course, teams like Toronto and Columbus that are desperate for help in goal have other avenues to address their needs. There’s the trade route – Roberto Luongo is believed to be available, and maybe Niklas Backstrom can be had out of Minnesota now (Update: nope.). Alternatively, an aggressive offer sheet could be put in front of restricted free agents like Cory Schneider and Ondrej Pavelec. Or, they could be targeted by trade.
Oh, and almost forgot — Dominik Hasek.