The Pittsburgh Penguins made some cuts on Saturday, with the most interesting – if not surprising – move coming when they placed last year’s backup Jeff Zatkoff on waivers.
(Brian Dumoulin and Bobby Farnham were sent to the AHL.)
Again, it’s not exactly a stunning development for Pittsburgh, as Thomas Greiss could very well push Marc-Andre Fleury for starts in 2014-15.
Still, Zatkoff represents at least a somewhat intriguing consideration for a team in need of backup help and/or insurance.
While teams passed on picking up high-pedigree project Jacob Markstrom, one must assume part of that hesitation came from his $1.2 million cap hit. Zatkoff, 27, only counts $600K against the cap and his deal runs through 2015-16, so he could present an affordable option for a team that might be willing to carry three goalies for some time.
He didn’t set the NHL on fire last season, but he went 12-6-2 with a respectable .912 save percentage and one shutout. He also generated a .920 save percentage in AHL work in both 2011-12 and 2012-13, so he’s had some solid success beyond playing for a strong Penguins team.
In case you’re wondering, the Kings drafted him in the third round (74th overall) in 2006. The Hockey News’ scouting report pumps up his resiliency and solid frame while showing concern about his glove hand and stamina.