The Chicago Blackhawks’ goaltending duo leads the group of goaltenders who’re sit to hit the market subsequent summer season, however which different pending UFA netminders shall be wanted in the event that they hit the open market?Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford|Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI through Getty ImagesSo, there was a way to Chicago Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman’s insanity in any case.
On July 1, Bowman made a giant splash by signing reigning Vezina Trophy finalist Robin Lehner to a one-year, $5-million deal. Given Corey Crawford’s well being issues, Lehner was an apparent improve after the catastrophe that was the Blackhawks backup duo of Collin Delia and Cam Ward final season. However going out and grabbing the perfect out there goalie available on the market? Did Bowman know one thing the remainder of us didn’t? Was Crawford’s time up as an NHLer?
Seems not so. Crawford has been regular in his 11 appearances this season, handing over a .914 save proportion, .935 SP at 5-on-5 and a stable 5.52 goals-saved above common at five-a-side. However that hasn’t negated the worth of bringing Lehner aboard. Add in his excellent efficiency to this point – he boasts .934 SP in any respect strengths and .940 SP and seven.47 GSAA at 5-on-5 – and immediately the Blackhawks have one in every of, if not the perfect, goaltending duos within the league proper now.
The duo does current one drawback, nevertheless: each goaltenders are set to turn out to be UFAs at season’s finish. That Lehner isn’t locked right into a long-term deal is especially regarding, too, given he’s now within the second of what have been back-to-back standout seasons. If the Blackhawks retain the 28-year-old keeper, although, what does it imply for the 34-year-old Crawford? It’s unlikely he’ll discover himself commanding wherever close to the $6 million cap hit he carries on his present deal, however would he take sufficient of a pay lower to have the ability to stay within the Windy Metropolis? Or, together with his enjoying time halved on account of Lehner’s presence, will Crawford look elsewhere for alternatives?
No matter whether or not one or each keep in Chicago, because it stands, there are two of the highest pending UFA goaltenders, sitting atop a bunch that has a pair large names. On the quarter-season mark, let’s have a look at 5 others who might make a splash by touchdown in a brand new crease when July 1 rolls round:
Braden Holtby, 30 (Washington – $5 million AAV)When you have a look at his season file – 11-2-Three in 17 video games heading into the weekend – Holtby’s having a Vezina Trophy-caliber season. However once you dig a bit of deeper, his stats say the exact opposite. Holtby’s .913 SP at 5-on-5 was 26th amongst goalies with at the very least 10 begins and his minus-1.48 GSAA ranked 27th. Holtby’s no stranger to weak stretches, however one would count on higher numbers. Nonetheless, he’s arguably going to be the highest goaltender available on the market heading into the summer season, and with Ilya Samsonov itching for alternative, Holtby’s subsequent contract might take him elsewhere.
Jakob Markstrom, 30 (Vancouver – $four million AAV)The Canucks sit third within the Pacific Division, however that has been regardless of Markstrom’s current play. Earlier than recording a victory towards Nashville Thursday, Markstrom was on a private six-game slide following a four-win run in early October. Getting into the weekend, his .915 SP at 5-on-5 was good for 22nd, however he was a prime 10 goalie earlier than issues started going south. His understudy, rookie Thatcher Demko, has a .924 SP at five-a-side with a 5-2-1 file. Regardless of his current struggles, Markstrom was one in every of Vancouver’s most dear gamers final season and confirmed he can deal with a full-season load. Demko needs to be Vancouver’s starter subsequent season, so Markstrom is perhaps a beneficial possibility for groups searching for a veteran netminder who can deal with within the vary of 50 begins.
Thomas Greiss, 34 (NY Islanders – $Three.75 million AAV)Greiss made his profession as a dependable backup goaltender, however his 9-1-Zero file heading into the weekend is among the many league leaders. As well as, Greiss’ .945 SP at 5-on-5 getting into the weekend ranked first amongst netminders with at the very least 10 begins and his 7.67 GSAA sat second behind the Winnipeg Jets’ Connor Hellebuyck. Greiss has allowed simply 15 targets at full energy, and with an eight-game win streak, he’s been instrumental to the Islanders’ success. In reality, he has outplayed Semyon Varlamov regardless of getting into the season because the projected backup. Greiss is unlikely to safe a beginning position elsewhere on account of his age, however he’ll be among the many most wanted choices if the Islanders don’t – or can’t – maintain him round.
Brian Elliott, 35 (Philadelphia – $2 million AAV)When Carter Hart began the season on the incorrect facet of league common, Elliott took over, and he hasn’t disenchanted. He’s 5-2-Zero whereas filling in for his creasemate and has stored the Flyers within the hunt within the Japanese Convention even when his stats aren’t lovely. Getting into the weekend, his .914 SP at 5-on-5 was 25th amongst goaltenders with 10 begins and his minus-Zero.82 GSAA noticed him in 24th spot. He’s doing what he must do as a backup, although: win. As an older goalie with a prolonged damage historical past, Elliott isn’t going to earn a lot on his subsequent contract. It’s a must to suppose the Flyers will wish to maintain him round for an additional yr to assist mentor Hart.
Anton Khudobin, 34 (Dallas – $2.5 million AAV)Talking of dependable backup goaltenders, Khudobin is aware of a factor or two about maintaining his workforce in video games. Khudobin’s 5-Three-1 file getting into the weekend could seem common, however he has gained 5 of his previous six begins and the lone loss got here in additional time. He additionally allowed solely a single aim towards in 4 of these victories. Getting into motion Saturday, Khudobin sat third with a .943 SP at 5-on-5 and his GSSAA of four.56 is second amongst goaltenders with fewer than 10 video games performed. Like the opposite backup choices, Khudobin doubtless gained’t get a sizeable increase. Which may make it doubtless that he stays in Texas because the Stars try to chase a Stanley Cup.
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Tags: free company, chicago blackhawks, nhlConnect: In regards to the AuthorSteven EllisSteven Ellis is a Digital Content material Producer for The Hockey Information. He spends his free time listening to music you would not like and watches obnoxiously-long motor races.