During the last two summers, free agent goalies have needed luck almost as much as skill to find the right job and a decent contract.
Ilya Bryzgalov is a good – maybe very good – goalie, but he’s also a lucky one when you compare his fortunes to the one-year, $1.5 million deal another good (maybe very good) goalie Tomas Vokoun pulled down. Meanwhile, two goalies seemingly got their deals based on name recognition; how else would you explain J.S. Giguere getting two years as a backup and Jose Theodore being named the Florida Panthers’ No. 1 guy? Mike Smith received a not-particularly-well-earned starting job with the Phoenix Coyotes largely on the strength of familiarity; Dave Tippett was his coach during his years with the Dallas Stars.
Of course, the fortune of familiarity didn’t smile upon the man Smith backed up: Marty Turco. For the second summer in a row, Turco isn’t getting his way in free agency. While last time he was arguably the one at fault for demanding too much money in a buyers’ market, this time around it might come down to him having little to sell.
That’s something that Sean Leahy also addressed at Puck Daddy today, wondering if Turco might be forced to play overseas or even hang up his skates and become an analyst after losing this game of goalie musical chairs.
Perhaps the GM consensus is that the 36-year-old goalie just doesn’t “have it” anymore. He hasn’t made a playoff start since 2007-08, the last time he had a record above .500. Aside from a respectable overall season in 09-10, Turco’s been putting up the kind of numbers that will make it tough to get any NHL job.
That being said, Turco has something that worked better for Giguere and Theodore: name recognition. Could that be enough for a training camp tryout or two-way contract? There are plenty of teams who might benefit from that setup. The Anaheim Ducks cannot be too comfortable about Jonas Hiller’s health. As Leahy points out, the Columbus Blue Jackets have some doubts in net. The Edmonton Oilers have a lot of options already, but are any of them all that promising?
While one could foresee an opportunity here and there for Turco, it wouldn’t be that shocking if he retired either. If it comes to that, he produced a nice career, even if it might end with a thud.