The 2021 NHL trade deadline is Monday, April. 12 at 3 p.m. ET. As we wait to see who will be dealt, we’ll be looking at the top names who could be on the move next week. Today, we finish up with goaltenders.
Chris Driedger, Panthers (26 years old / UFA this summer / $850K cap hit): The mix of Spencer Knight signing, Sergei Bobrovsky’s contract still having five years remaining, and Driedger able to be a UFA this summer puts him on the trade bait list. He’s emerged as a viable starter for the Panthers, posting a .945 5-on-5 save percentage and a 5.76 goals saved above average in 17 appearances, per Natural Stat Trick.
Driedger’s status as a rental and his cheap cap hit makes him an attractive option for playoffs teams looking to add to their goaltending depth. But should the Panthers be eager to flip him for futures or ride this out with him and Bob and be fine with letting him walk in free agency?
Antti Raanta, Coyotes (31 years old / UFA this summer / $4.25M cap hit): There is a catch when it comes to acquiring Raanta at this year’s NHL trade deadline. He’s been a solid goaltender, as shown by his .922 even strength save percentage in 103 appearances over the last five years. But injuries have hindered him from keeping hold of the No. 1 job in Arizona. If he can stay healthy when he returns, all is good. But when did you know of NHL GMs taking risks as opposed to being ultra-conservative?
Jonathan Bernier, Red Wings (32 years old / UFA this summer / $3M cap hit): Currently injured, Bernier has performed well behind a poor Red Wings team. He has a .935 5-on-5 save percentage in 17 games played and his 5.81 goals saved above average is just outside the top 20 among goaltenders with at least 700 minutes played.
Bernier could be good insurance for a playoff team, and the Red Wings will be looking to add to their slew of picks this offseason (six in the opening three rounds).
James Reimer, Hurricanes (33 years old / UFA this summer / $3.4M cap hit): Petr Mrazek is back, which means Carolina has three serviceable goaltenders available. One has to go, and the way Alex Nedeljkovic has emerged (plus his age, 25, and RFA status) he’ll be staying in Raleigh. Mrazek, 29, is a UFA this summer like Reimer, and comes with a slightly cheaper cap hit ($3.125M). GM Don Waddell said he may use one as a trade chip, which would be beneficial to strengthen the rest of the roster as the playoffs approach.
Elvis Merzlikins, Blue Jackets (26 years old / signed through 2021-22 / $4M cap hit)
Joonas Korpisalo, Blue Jackets (26 years old / signed through 2021-22 / $2.8M cap hit)
The playoffs are a small possibility, but if you’re Jarmo Kekalainen, this might be the year to sell rather than go all-in as he’s done in the past. Among his many options, what to do in goal is a question he faces right now. Teams are always looking for goalie depth, and he has two options for teams to consider with Daniil Tarasov waiting in the wings.
Korpisalo has handled most of the workload with 26 starts to Merzlikins’ 17, but Elvis has outperformed him. In 17 appearances Merzlikins has a .919 5-on-5 save percentage to Korpisalo’s .914. Both have a year left, but Merzlikins is the richer option between his cap hit and the $5M in salary he’s owed next season versus $3.4M for Korpisalo.
Devan Dubnyk, Sharks (34 years old / UFA this summer / $2.167M cap hit): Another one on an expiring contract, Dubnyk has had a rough go of it in San Jose. In 17 games he’s recorded a .900 5-on-5 save percentage and a -4.21 goals saved above average. The Sharks would love to unload him, but there are plenty of better options available for GMs at the NHL trade deadline.
Ryan Miller, Ducks (40 years old / UFA this summer / $1M cap hit): The veteran has settled into his role as John Gibson’s backup and played well during his time in Anaheim. Over the last three seasons he’s put out a .915 5-on-5 save percentage in nearly 2,500 minutes of ice time.
His NHL days are coming to a close, so would he welcome a chance to chase a Stanley Cup? Miller has not played beyond the First Round since he was with the Sabres in 2007.