With recent reports of a slow start to negotiations, the door to Devan Dubnyk's free agency is creeping open. By all early accounts, Dubnyk was happy playing in Minnesota and had hoped on returning. However, the money-pit of free agency is always a temptation for players and their agents. If Dubnyk did dip his toe in the free agency, how many teams would actually be interested? Would there be a bidding war that drove him out of Minnesota's price range?
Let's take a look at the goaltending situations around the league to establish the possibility of Dubnyk going to each team. Remember, it only takes one very interested team to drive up the asking price.
(All salary figures are courtesy of www.generalfanager.com)
Anaheim Ducks- The Ducks just made a conference final run largely on the back of Frederik Anderson who is locked up for another year. No.
Arizona Coyotes- Mike Smith is signed for four more years with a cap hit of $5.66 million. With top prospect Auston Matthews looming for the 2015-16 draft, this team has no intention of winning games in the short term. No.
Boston Bruins- Tuuka Rask. No.
Buffalo Sabres- The only goalie Buffalo has under contract entering next season is Chad Johnson, so it's clear they will be looking to bring in a goaltender. Chances are they re-sign Matt Hackett, but they will still be in need of a legitimate number one option. With the recent hiring of Dan Bylsma, and franchise center Jack Eichel coming to town, the Sabres rebuild could be accelerated by a couple of years.
On the flip side, would Dubnyk want to go to a team that is likely not ready to compete for another 2-3 years? Playing for a rebuilding team in Edmonton was a disaster for Dubnyk and Buffalo could be a very similar situation. Possible.
Calgary Flames- The Flames have Jonas Hiller signed for one more season with a cap hit of $4.5 million. They have the cap space to sign Dubynk to be their goalie of the future after next season, but I find it unlikely he wants to go to a team with an already established #1 goalie. Probably not.
Carolina Hurricanes- Cam Ward has one year left on his disastrous contract. Anton Khudobin also has one year left on his contract. The Hurricanes could theoretically bury Khudobin in the minors next year to clear space for Dubnyk, with Ward backing him up. The Hurricanes were a very solid possession team in the last half of the season, and could be a surprise team on the rise next year. Locking up a solid starter for their bright future would seem a wise move. Very possible.
Chicago Blackhawks- They've got Crawford, possibly another cup, and no cap space. No.
Colorado Avalanche- Varlamov. No.
Columbus Blue Jackets- Bobrovsky. No.
Dallas Stars- Kari Lehtonen is coming off a forgettable year and is likely on the decline. The Stars would undoubtedly like to solidify their goaltending position. Unfortunately for them Lehtonen has a limited no trade clause that kicks in this year and he is locked up for three more years. Their goaltending solutions will likely come in the form of a low cost lower upside backup. No.
Detroit Red Wings- Jimmy Howard is locked up for four more years and youngster Petr Mrazek will be challenging for the number one spot. No.
Edmonton Oilers- Before the draft lottery, the prospect of Dubnyk going back to Edmonton would have been laughable, and is likely still a long shot. However, the allure of generational talent Connor McDavid is not to be underestimated. Possible.
Florida Panthers- Luongo still has five years left on his contract and has shown little in the way of decline. No.
Los Angeles Kings- Jonathan Quick. No.
Montreal Canadiens- Carey Price. No.
Nashville Predators- Pekka Rinne. No.
New Jersey Devils- Cory Schneider. No.
New York Islanders- Jaroslav Halak had a solid first year for the Islanders and has three years left on his contract. No.
New York Rangers- Henrik Lundqvist. No.
Ottawa Senators- Craig Anderson, Robin Lehner, and Andrew Hammond are all under contract entering next season. The Senators will be looking to unload goaltenders, not acquire them. No.
Philadelphia Flyers- The Flyers have Steve Mason signed for two more seasons and he is coming off a respectable year. They finally have some semblance of stability in net, so no need to mess around here. Unlikely.
Pittsburgh Penguins- Marc-Andre Fleury. No.
San Jose Sharks- Antti Niemi seems poised to enter free agency, so that leaves backup Alex Stalock as the only goaltender under contract for the Sharks. New head coach Pete DeBoer demands responsible, positional hockey, not too dissimilar to what the Wild play. The window for the Sharks may only be open for another couple years, and so a solid goaltender is a must. They have ample cap space and would have no reason not to go after the best goalie available. All in.
St. Louis Blues- Brian Elliot has two years left on his contract, and they are likely to re-sign RFA Jake Allen. No room here. No.
Tampa Bay Lightning- Ben Bishop. No.
Toronto Maple Leafs- They have the cap space, but chances are they bring RFA Jonathan Bernier back and that leaves no room for Dubnyk. Even with Mike Babcock, this team likely doesn't plan on seriously competing for a few more years. No.
Vancouver Canucks- Ryan Miller has two more years left at 6 million. No.
Washington Capitals- Braden Holtby. No.
Winnipeg Jets- At first glance the Jets seem like a possibility, but they have a slew of players to sign over the next couple of years. More importantly, they are determined to go down with the Ondrej Pavel-ship. No.