Henrik Lundqvist is no longer a pending unrestricted free agent, and he won’t be until 2020-21. But there are many, many other goalies that still have the option to freely explore the market this summer.
Ryan Miller: By far the highest-profile UFA of the bunch. Miller, 33, hasn’t registered a save percentage below .915 since 2007-08, and general managers will pay for that sort of consistency and reliability. Rumor has it Miller wants to end up in California, but of the three teams in The Golden State, only Anaheim’s starting goaltending situation is up in the air for next season, and that’s due to too many options, not too few.
Jonas Hiller: The 31-year-old has been up and down for the Ducks this season, but it’s his .917 career save percentage in 276 starts that stands out. That number is right up there with the best in the business. On Tuesday, he stopped 49 shots in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Kings. “He was the reason we got a point tonight,” said Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau.
Other veteran UFAs include Jaroslav Halak (good goalie and only 28 years old, but comes with an injury history), Tim Thomas (turns 40 in April), and Martin Brodeur (turns 42 in May).
Ben Scrivens: The 27-year-old former Leaf has been brilliant for the Kings, registering a .943 save percentage in 15 appearances and making the injury to Jonathan Quick a non-factor for L.A.. Well, actually, that’s not true. Because Scrivens has actually played much better than Quick was playing before he got hurt. Not a negative factor, is what we should have said. The obvious caveat: Scrivens remains unproven, with just 40 NHL starts on his resume.
Anton Khudobin: Also 27, and also playing for a new team this season after coming to Carolina via Boston. In 24 NHL games, Khudobin has a career save percentage of .932. Pretty good, but like Scrivens, not a particularly big body of work from which to predict his future. We also mention Khudobin because the ‘Canes are reportedly fielding trade inquiries on both him and their other 27-year-old pending UFA goalie, Justin Peters.
Still more: Ilya Bryzgalov, Devan Dubnyk, Ray Emery, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Thomas Greiss, Curtis McElhinney, Chad Johnson, Jonas Gustavsson, and Brian Elliott. Are we forgetting anyone? Probably.
Anyway, lots of names to consider. As we touched on in the Chip ‘n’ Chase, the goalie market isn’t like the market for skaters. It should be interesting to see which GMs go for the reliability that a veteran can provide and which ones roll the dice on a less proven commodity.