This July 1 is probably not the beginning of the NHL’s free-agency frenzy, as is generally the case, however that doesn’t imply we are able to’t kick it off with one last take a look at the 2021 UFA goalie cohort.
In case you don’t know, that is the fifth and last in a sequence of blogs analyzing this low season’s UFA choices between the pipes. For extra context, and to learn the primary weblog on this sequence, click on here.
Right now’s weblog particulars most consequential UFA goalies who haven’t but been lined. Many are nearing the top of their NHL journeys, however deserve not less than a ship off, if nothing else.
Tuukka Rask – Boston Bruins
If Rask had even a shred of curiosity in exploring the open market, he’d be the 2021 UFA goalie class’s white whale. The 34-year-old Finn is the NHL’s lively chief in goals-against common (2.27) and save proportion (.921). In actual fact, solely three goalies in league historical past – Dominik Hasek, Johnny Bower and Ken Dryden – stopped photographs at a greater price. Rask’s greatest marketing campaign got here in 2013-14; he gained the Vezina Trophy and earned a first-team all-star nod whereas main the Bruins to the Presidents’ Trophy. And he isn’t far faraway from related radiance. Rask shone in 2019-20, with a .929 SP, 5 shutouts and a league-leading 2.12 GAA. He was Vezina runner-up and the NHL’s second-team all-star goalie.
Rask has by no means gained a Stanley Cup as a starter, however that’s actually the one plaudit he lacks. His particular person numbers even marginally enhance within the post-season. However Rask – who will miss the beginning of 2021-22 following low season hip surgical procedure – has said it’s Boston or bust for him. That’s a disgrace for goalie-needy GMs however a boon for the B’s. He ought to return down the stretch and may take over if younger Jeremy Swayman falters.
Jaroslav Halak – Boston Bruins
Rask’s battery mate in Boston the previous three years. The Slovak stopper has performed in 15 NHL seasons, calling 5 totally different cities dwelling – by no means staying in a single spot longer than 4 seasons.
Halak seemingly finds new stamping grounds this summer time, although Rask’s harm opens the potential for a Beantown return. However Halak must take a haircut on the $3.5 million he made this season. Halak has been reliable all through his profession – particularly as a part of a tandem; he has twice been part of a Jennings Trophy-winning duo. Halak, 36, is nearer the top than he’s the start, however nonetheless has some good hockey left in him. In his three seasons in Boston, Halak had 49 wins and a .918 SP in 83 begins.
Pekka Rinne – Nashville Predators
The massive Finn is among the elite goalies of his technology and a quintessential Predator, however his residency within the Music Metropolis might be completed. Juuse Saros emphatically cemented himself within the starter’s crease, and Rinne may select to maneuver elsewhere and even grasp up the pads after 15 years in The Present.
Rinne missed 51 video games after underdoing hip surgical procedure in October 2013, however the 38-year-old has been in any other case sturdy, even into his twilight NHL years. Rinne has missed simply 14 video games on account of harm since returning in March 2014 from his journey below the knife.
Like countryman Rask, Rinne has a Vezina and two all-star nods on his resume. His 60 profession shouts rank third amongst lively NHLers. If his time in Nashville has completed, it ended fittingly; Rinne posted a 30-save shutout in his 2020-21 curtain name.
He may all the time assist an offense-needy membership.
Henrik Lundqvist – Washington Capitals
You could possibly’ve forgiven ‘Hank’ for being a bit moody after the 12 months he had, however he’s handled the adversity laudably whereas seemingly sustaining good spirits. Possibly that shouldn’t be a shock coming from one of many NHL’s best-known good guys.
Lundqvist signed a one-year, $1.5-million pact with Washington forward of 2020-21 however missed your entire marketing campaign after present process coronary heart surgical procedure. We gained’t speculate an excessive amount of on what which means going ahead however as a substitute will take a second to understand his spectacular profession.
If his enjoying days are over, Lundqvist shall be remembered as an all-time nice goaltender. The 39-year-old is a five-time Vezina finalist – profitable the award as soon as – a two-time NHL all-star, and was Sweden’s beginning goalie for his or her run to Olympic gold in 2006. Past the Turin triumph, he’s additionally a World Championship gold medallist. Amongst lively NHLers, he’s second in each wins (459) and shutouts (64).
Lundqvist hasn’t formally closed the e book but, and if he can proceed enjoying, he’ll look to signal with a contender. A date with Lord Stanley is seemingly the one outing the suave Swede hasn’t managed to wangle.
James Reimer – Carolina Hurricanes
Reimer is one in every of three netminders who referred to as Carolina’s crease dwelling in 2020-21. He’s additionally one in every of three Carolina netminders whose contract now expires. Alex Nedeljkovic – the one RFA – shall be retained; that a lot we all know. Whether or not Reimer (or Petr Mrazek) returns to the Tar Heel State, nevertheless, is anybody’s guess.
Reimer is 33 years previous and has performed in 11 NHL campaigns. After five-and-a-half seasons in Toronto, the Leafs traded him to San Jose on the 2016 deadline. Since then, Reimer is 88-55-20 with a .912 SP and a couple of.72 GAA. He performed in 22 video games this season for the Canes.
Manitoba-born Reimer simply completed a five-year, $17-million contract he initially signed with the Florida Panthers in the summertime of 2016. He gained’t be making practically the $3.4 million AAV he did on his earlier pact however ought to catch on someplace as a backup.
Brian Elliott – Philadelphia Flyers
One-half of the catastrophe in Philadelphia’s web this season. The 36-year-old from Newmarket, Ont., has spent the previous 4 seasons with the Flyers on three separate short-term offers. They most likely herald a unique veteran to pair with a Carter Hart they’ll hope rebounds from a dreadful 2020-21.
Elliott led the NHL in SP in 2011-12 and 2015-16, however it’s not these years anymore. Might bounce again faraway from Philly’s goalie graveyard, although.
Craig Anderson – Washington Capitals
Colorado traded Anderson to Ottawa in change for Elliott in February 2011. Might one – or each – journey off into the sundown this summer time?
Anderson simply turned 40 and – thrilling two-game stint as playoff No. 1 apart – performed in simply 4 regular-season video games this 12 months. His last three years in Ottawa had been a battle after six-and-a-half nice seasons in Canada’s capital. The 2017 Masterton Trophy winner is the Sens’ all-time chief in video games performed (435), wins (202) and practically doubles runner-up Patrick Lalime in saves as a Sen.
Anderson is coming off a league-minimum cope with the Caps.
Cory Schneider – New York Islanders
New Jersey purchased out the 12-year NHL vet on Oct. 8, 2020. He then signed a one-year cope with the Islanders for the league minimal ($700,000) at some point after the 2020-21 season began. Schneider didn’t get into any NHL motion this 12 months and solely skated two video games within the AHL. Possibly he indicators a PTO?
Laurent Brossoit – Winnipeg Jets
He was drafted by Calgary, made his NHL debut with Edmonton and has spent the previous three seasons with Winnipeg. Might he journey to Vancouver to finish the Western Convention Canadian tour? Brossoit has oscillated between good and dangerous seasons since changing into a semi-regular in 2017-18. He solely began 11 video games in 2020-21 however posted a .918 SP and had a shutout.
Carter Hutton – Buffalo Sabres
Hutton had one win in 12 begins with Buffalo this season. It looks like a very long time since he led the league in SP and GAA in 2017-18 with the Blues. It will be attention-grabbing to see what his NHL future holds.