Goalies For Rent: Pending UFA Goaltenders Who Could Be Deadline Targets

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

After all the trade rumours the other day linking the Wild with Ryan Miller, I've decided to look at other goalies who will be UFAs this offseason and could be available via trade at the deadline.

One of the Wild's biggest needs right now could be for a starting goalie that they can rely on down the stretch. Niklas Backstrom has been very poor for the last 2 seasons and has injury issues. Josh Harding has been excellent but his MS issues mean that his long term health is surrounded by question marks and he could miss the rest of the season. Darcy Kuemper has played brilliantly lately, but he is still young and it's hard to say at this point if the Wild can really trust him to carry a heavy load if they want to have any kind of playoff success this season.

I don't necessarily think that trading for a rental goalie is the best way forward for the Wild, but I'm going to investigate who the best options are if they do decide to go that route. If Harding really is out long term, they could roll with Backstrom and Kuemper, but let's look at what they could do if that wasn't an option either through poor play/injury from Backstrom or Kuemper reverting back to his shaky play from the start of the season.

The Wild currently have $2,615,164 in cap room. If they are looking to make a trade, a possible way to clear some cap room (not to mention get what is looking like a bad contract off the books) would be to send Backstrom back the other way. Other players who could be moved to create room without hurting the team are Dany Heatley, Keith Ballard, Nate Prosser and Mike Rupp.

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I've chosen some goalies from the list of 2014 UFAs. I left out career back-ups like Jason Labarbera and Chad Johnson, along with the likes of Tomas Vokoun and Nikolai Khabibulin who will more than likely retire during the offseason.

The following list shows each goalie's current age, cap hit, 5v5 Save Percentage and minutes played this season along with their 5v5 Save Percentage between 2007 and 2013 and minutes played in that time period.


-The list is organised by 2007-13 5v5 Sv%:

Name

Age

Cap Hit

2013-14 5v5 Sv%

Mins Played

2007-13 5v5 Sv%

Mins Played

Tim Thomas

39

$2,500,000

92.34%

1327:35

93.50%

12199:33

Anton Khudobin

27

$800,000

94.12%

548:44

93.14%

872:26

Jonas Hiller

31

$4,500,000

92.71%

1535:41

92.79%

11857:44

Jaroslav Halak

28

$3,750,000

92.31%

1378:38

92.75%

9028:57

Ryan Miller

33

$6,250,000

92.37%

1600:55

92.54%

16393:23

Ilya Bryzgalov

33

$2,266,234

91.90%

652:03

92.44%

15923:43

Jean-Sebastian Giguere

36

$1,500,000

91.58%

571:38

92.21%

8998:03

Thomas Greiss

27

$750,000

93.51%

459:51

92.17%

1750:54

Evgeni Nabokov

38

$3,250,000

91.70%

1093:00

92.15%

13145:19

Devan Dubnyk

27

$3,500,000

89.96%

1344:53

92.14%

6135:14

Martin Brodeur

41

$4,500,000

90.52%

1288:04

92.12%

14812:41

Scott Clemmensen

36

$1,200,000

91.97%

534:44

91.76%

6156:22

Ray Emery

31

$1,650,000

92.55%

668:54

91.66%

5211:08

Ben Scrivens

27

$612,500

93.33%

833:01

91.56%

1350:36

Brian Elliott

28

$1,800,000

92.13%

930:56

91.46%

8691:49

Jonas Gustavsson

29

$1,500,000

92.08%

802:55

90.79%

4948:25

Reto Berra

27

$1,381,250

90.65%

1006:48

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Tim Thomas


Tim Thomas

#34 / Goalie / Florida Panthers

5-11

201

Apr 15, 1974

  • It took Timmy a while to adjust to the NHL again after his year off, but he has gradually recovered some form and is playing quite well.
  • He's been the best goalie in the league over the last 6-7 years which should stand to him.
  • While he wouldn't be a smart long term commitment, if the Wild wanted someone for a playoff run, he might be a good fit given that he won the Conn Smythe in 2011.
  • The downside is that his cap hit would handcuff the Wild, and also there is a danger that, at age 39, he could succumb to injuries or a drop off in play. I would be worried about giving up assets for him.

Anton Khudobin


Anton Khudobin

#31 / Goalie / Carolina Hurricanes

5-11

203

May 07, 1986


  • Ex-Wild goalie, Khudobin, has missed a lot of the season through injury, but he has played very well. It's hard to say if it's sustainable or not, but his career numbers are pretty good, albeit in a small sample.
  • With Khudobin and Justin Peters both heading for free agency, it will be interesting to see if Carolina deals one of them at the deadline. If it's Khudobin, then he might be a smart pick-up due to his low cap hit.
  • If the Wild were to trade for him, the danger would be that he doesn't have any experience as a starter.


Jonas Hiller


Jonas Hiller

#1 / Goalie / Anaheim Ducks

6-2

192

Feb 12, 1982

  • Hiller has been an excellent NHL goalie throughout his career. His numbers fell off in the last couple of years as he struggled with vertigo, but he is having a pretty strong season in 2013/14.
  • He will be the goalie everyone wants at the deadline, but any team looking to acquire him will have to deal with his large cap hit. Unfortunately, it's unlikely the Wild will be able to clear enough space.
  • There's also a chance he gets re-signed by the Ducks or isn't available for trade.


Jaroslav Halak


Jaroslav Halak

#41 / Goalie / St. Louis Blues

5-10

186

May 13, 1985

  • Halak is an excellent goalie, and isn't as old as you might think at age 28. His career numbers are solid and he is having a good season.
  • St.Louis could be making a move for Ryan Miller and they have young goalie Jake Allen in the AHL who will be looking to get back into the NHL. This could make Halak and, his counterpart, Brian Elliott expendable.
  • Unfortunately, Halak's had a lot of injuries, particularly to his groin. This makes him a big risk if a team is investing assets in him.
  • His cap hit is probably too high for the Wild to be in contention.


Ryan Miller


Ryan Miller

#30 / Goalie / Buffalo Sabres

6-2

175

Jul 17, 1980

  • Aside from Hiller, the other goalie everyone wants in Miller. He's the projected starting goalie for Team USA at Sochi and is a long established NHL starter.
  • His cap hit is way too high for the Wild to be in the running unless they can somehow get rid of Dany Heatley's contract.
  • His age is worrying for a guy who will probably cost picks and blue chip prospects to acquire from the rebuilding Sabres. The chances are his numbers will decline over the next couple of years, so if the Wild were trading for him and looking to sign him to a long term contract, that could be a poor investment.


Ilya Bryzgalov


Ilya Bryzgalov

#80 / Goalie / Edmonton Oilers

6-3

213

Jun 22, 1980

  • Bryz has a solid career behind him, and seems to be finding his feet again with the Oilers. He's having a reasonable season.
  • His cap hit is affordable for the Wild, but I don't think his numbers are good enough for him to be trusted with heavy minutes down the stretch.
  • One advantage is that the Oilers are probably looking for NHLers, as opposed to prospects and picks, which makes them suitable trade partners for the Wild.


Jean-Sebastian Giguere


Jean-Sebastien Giguere

#35 / Goalie / Colorado Avalanche

6-1

202

May 16, 1977

  • While he has been a great goalie in his career, Giguere is no more than a back-up these days. He's having a mediocre season and is 36, so I wouldn't expect that to change any time soon.
  • While his cap hit is pretty low, I don't think he's worth giving up assets for. Also, the Avs will probably look to keep him for their own playoff run.


Thomas Greiss


Thomas Greiss

#1 / Goalie / Phoenix Coyotes

6-1

215

Jan 29, 1986

  • Greiss is a strange one. His numbers are solid and he is reasonably young yet no one talks about him.
  • If you compare him to Ben Scrivens, Greiss is the same age and has better numbers over the last few years and this year in similar enough sample sizes.
  • If Harding was healthy, Backstrom got dealt and Kuemper looked shaky, I would see Greiss as an excellent back-up option who would give the Wild more cap room to improve the rest of the team. Unfortunately, the Wild need someone who can carry the load and Greiss is not that guy.


Evgeni Nabokov


Evgeni Nabokov

#20 / Goalie / New York Islanders

6-0

202

Jul 25, 1975

  • Nabokov has had a long and solid career in the NHL, but at age 38 he just isn't cut out for it anymore.
  • His cap hit is high and there is no way the Wild should consider giving up assets to get him.


Devan Dubnyk


Devan Dubnyk

#40 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-5

210

May 04, 1986

  • Dubnyk takes a lot of flak, but he's actually been a very good goalie throughout his career.
  • This year has been a disaster for him. He finally got dealt by the Oilers to the Predators and is trying to establish himself there.
  • Last year I would've loved to see the Wild trade for him, but this season has killed his value and it would be a risky investment.


Martin Brodeur


Martin Brodeur

#30 / Goalie / New Jersey Devils

6-2

220

May 06, 1972

  • To put it simply, Marty is having a terrible season. He hasn't been league average since 2010, but this year he has actually fallen even further.
  • He will probably retire at the end of the season, but there have been rumblings about him being available at the deadline.
  • Simply put, the Wild should not trade for Brodeur. He's a legendary goalie, one of the best ever, but right now he is an awful NHL netminder.


Scott Clemmensen


Scott Clemmensen

#30 / Goalie / Florida Panthers

6-2

201

Jul 23, 1977

  • Clemmensen is reasonably affordable, and the Panthers are probably looking to trade everything they have for picks and prospects.
  • Unfortunately, he isn't good enough to fill the role the Wild need. He isn't terrible, but giving up assets for him would be risky.


Ray Emery


Ray Emery

#29 / Goalie / Philadelphia Flyers

6-2

196

Sep 28, 1982

  • Emery is having a really strong season and is only 31. The worry is that this performance isn't sustainable. His recent career numbers have been pretty poor.
  • While he wouldn't be a terrible pick-up, I don't think he is right for what the Wild need. Also, he probably won't be available as the Flyers will need someone to hold down the fort behind "Sieve" Mason.


Ben Scrivens


Ben Scrivens

#30 / Goalie / Edmonton Oilers

6-2

192

Sep 11, 1986

  • Like Griess, Scrivens just doesn't have the experience to fit what the Wild need. He might turn into a good NHL starter, but right now it isn't a bet the WIld should be making.


Brian Elliott


Brian Elliott

#1 / Goalie / St. Louis Blues

6-2

209

Apr 09, 1985

  • Elliott is having a decent season and could be expendable in St.Louis. His cap hit is fairly reasonable and within the Wild's price range.
  • The worry is that his recent career numbers are terrible, and they include his amazing 2012 season. I don't think the Wild can afford to trust someone who has mostly been a bad goalie in his career.


Jonas Gustavsson


Jonas Gustavsson

#50 / Goalie / Detroit Red Wings

6-3

192

Oct 24, 1984

  • After a great start this year, "Monster" is plummeting back to Earth. He's an awful NHL goalie. Nothing else needs to be said.


Reto Berra


Reto Berra

#29 / Goalie / Calgary Flames

6-4

194

Jan 03, 1987

  • Berra's new to the NHL and is having a bad year in Calgary. No thanks.



As you can see, there aren't a lot of options out there for the Wild in terms of goalies who could take the starting mantle and do a reasonable job. The ones who are safe bets have large cap hits and the Wild would need to ditch a contract or two to be in the running for the.



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