Every day until June 30, we’ll write about a pending unrestricted free agent. Today’s UFA of the Day is…
The back-up goalie is an important, and often overlooked, part of the roster. For a bubble team — and that’s a lot of teams in the parity-driven NHL — it can be the difference between making and missing the playoffs.
For a general manager, the hard part is choosing the right guy.
Consider Enroth, who went 7-5-1 with a .922 save percentage last season for the Kings. That’s an excellent save percentage, but in a limited sample size. In fact, Enroth was pretty frustrated at how little he played behind Jonathan Quick. Apparently, he didn’t sign in Los Angeles to start just 13 games.
“I really thought they were going to play me more,” he told the L.A. Times. “If you sign a guy for $1.2 million, you’re not going to play him 13 games, in my opinion. You should play him 20 or 25. I thought I earned more games, obviously. I played pretty solid in the games I got, but I got a lot of breaks in between games too, so it’s tough to get a groove going.”
Enroth played a lot more in 2014-15, when he started 44 games total for the Sabres and Stars. But his save percentage was just .903 for Buffalo and .906 for Dallas. So in reality, the Kings took a bit of a chance when they picked him to replace Martin Jones. The gamble was that his numbers would improve on a better defensive team, and that’s exactly what his numbers did.
At least, that’s the theory. It’s hard to say for sure if his numbers improved for that reason, or if he just played better. Or, maybe it was because he didn’t have such a heavy workload. Again, this is the hard part for general managers. With goalies, there are always so many variables to consider.
Click here for all our 2016 UFA profiles.