By Steven McGoey
Halfway through the NHL season, it has become apparent that many playoff-hopeful teams including Edmonton, Florida, Washington, and Colorado may be looking for a new goalie, whether that be for insurance or to be the full-time starter.
With the trade deadline now just two months away, fans and media can begin to speculate some players that could be on the move. Salary cap struggles aside, this is one of the more robust goalie markets in years.
Everyone knows about Chicago’s Marc-Andre Fleury, and Lyle Richardson had a great piece on him on Friday. Here are five other goalies that teams will be calling about at the deadline:
Braden Holtby – Dallas Stars
Heading into the season the Dallas Stars had three goalies capable of starting NHL games and were also awaiting a fourth, two-time all-star Ben Bishop, to return from injury. Flash forward to January, Bishop has retired, and Anton Khudobin is currently not playing anywhere after clearing waivers.
The emergence of 2017 first-rounder Jake Oettinger and Dallas’ position outside the playoffs could lead to Holtby being expendable in two months’ time.
Despite a 7-8-1 record, Holtby has a solid 2.53 goals against average, .916 save percentage, and 2.1 goals saved above expected, he is also affordable, earning only two million dollars this season.
The 32-year-old Holtby won a Stanley Cup in 2018 and has a Vezina Trophy to his name, he would be a worthy addition to any playoff contender in need of a starter or a 1B.
Marc-Andre Fleury – Chicago Blackhawks
One of the biggest questions in the hockey world, will Fleury be open to another move after being sent to Chicago this summer? The three-time Stanley Cup champion has a modified no trade clause and is in the last year of his contract.
With the Blackhawks struggling to keep pace in the division the 37-year-old Fleury has been one of the few bright spots, and he should have some control over where he goes if he decides he wants to chase another Cup.
The reigning Vezina Trophy winner, Fleury had a slow start to the season but is up to a 13-11-3-3 record with a 2.69 GAA and .916 SV% but has saved -2.3 goals above expected.
A proven winner and great personality, Fleury would be a fantastic option for any playoff team if they can make his seven-million-dollar contract work.
Joonas Korpisalo – Columbus Blue Jackets
After a couple seasons of sharing the net, it appears that Elvis Merzlikins has taken the number one role in Columbus. Beginning next season Merzlikins is locked into a new five-year $27-million-dollar deal, while Korpisalo becomes a free agent on July 1st.
It has long been rumored that one of Columbus’ goalies were on the block, but the team’s position in the standings and the cost it would take to retain Korpisalo likely have him being shipped out in March.
If Columbus does decide to trade the 27-year-old they will be selling low, as he has had a tough start to the season, posting a 4-7 record with a 3.95 GAA and .882 SV% across 14 appearances.
A strong playoff showing in 2019-20 but never having started more than 35 games in a season, Korpisalo is a perfect insurance option for a contender.
Semyon Varlamov – New York Islanders
A phenomenal start from sophomore Ilya Sorokin seems to have landed Varlamov on the trade block as has recently emerged in trade rumors, being tied to the Oilers among others.
Varlamov is under contract for one more season after this with a five-million-dollar salary and a modified no trade clause.
The Islanders are currently sitting last in the Metropolitan Division and have played the least number of games in the league. With 50 games to play in under 100 days to end their season, their playoff odds seem increasingly unlikely.
The 33-year-old has had a quietly good career, with a win loss record just under .500 and a career .916 SV%.
The Samara, RUS native is 3-6-1 with a 2.61 GAA and .917 SV% this season and would be a valuable addition to a team who needs an upgrade or a 1B.
Alexandar Georgiev – New York Rangers
Despite denying prior to the season that he requested a trade, Georgiev remains a prime trade candidate for the Rangers, as they have likely Vezina Candidate Igor Shesterkin locked up through 2024-25.
The 25-year-old has 104 career starts across parts of five seasons with a solid .911 SV% and is considered to have starters potential.
Originally signed as an undrafted free agent, Georgiev has a 7-5-2 record with a 2.71 GAA and .908 SV% this season in New York.
A free agent this summer, Georgiev would be a good target for a team who sees him as part of their future and could extend him before July 1st.
Jonathan Quick – Los Angeles Kings
With the Kings currently in a playoff spot, Quick’s future could depend on where the team is at two months from now.
The 36-year-old has had a fantastic season so far, posting an 11-10-4 record with a .914 SV%, he is sixth among all goaltenders with 13.8 goals saved above expected.
Cal Petersen, the second half of the Kings’ tandem, has a three-year $15 million dollar deal that kicks in next year, while Quick is due $5.8 million through 2022-23. It would be a surprise for the rebuilding Kings to spend so much on two goalies, and a trade would give quick another chance to chase a Cup.
A Los Angeles favorite, the two-time Cup champ and one-time Conn Smythe winner, it also would not be a surprise for Quick to retire a King.
Goals Saved Above Expected stats courtesy of MoneyPuck.
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