Sounds like New York Islanders backup netminder Michal Neuvirth is ready to test the free agent goalie market.
“We haven’t heard from the Islanders,” Neuvirth’s agent, Patrik Stefan, told PHT via email. “And Michal is ready to be the number one goalie.”
Neuvirth, 27, was sent to the Islanders from Buffalo at the deadline and played in just a handful of games — five regular-season (1-3-1, 2.94 GAA, .881 save percentage) and one in the playoffs, an 11-minute relief appearance of Jaroslav Halak during an opening-round playoff loss to Washington.
In Buffalo, Neuvirth showed flashes of a guy that could be a No. 1, especially in the weeks leading up to his trade. The Czech netminder posted a .938 save percentage in February and, overall, had a .918 in 27 games — pretty good, considering the Sabres were the NHL’s worst team this year.
Assuming he goes to market, Neuvirth will have a few things going for him. One, he’s relatively young, having just turned 27 in March. Two, he has a fair bit of experience — over 160 regular-season contests, and 10 in the playoffs. Three, he could be affordable, having just wrapped a two-year, $5 million deal with a $2.5M average annual cap hit.
But there are a number of other potential goalies primed to hit the market. Calgary could move on from Karri Ramo, and Vancouver has hinted that Eddie Lack may be available for trade. Antti Niemi may not be re-signed by San Jose and there is the possibility that Minnesota can’t come to terms with Vezina finalist Devan Dubnyk, who goes unrestricted on July 1.