Scratch Ben Bishop off the Flames goalie wish list.
The towering puck stopper was dealt to the Dallas Stars at the start of the week and swiftly signed with his new team, to the tune of a six-year, $29.5M deal. The cap hit is friendlier than expected at $4.92M per year, but Bishop traded some dollars for term and stability. His deal also came with a full no-movement clause and a no-trade clause for the final three years of the contract.
Some may see the Bishop signing as an opportunity lost, but it looks like a bullet dodged to me. Bishop will turn 31 in November, is coming off a down season and groin troubles, and doesn’t have the sort of numbers that suggest he’ll be Henrik Lundqvist good into his mid-30s.
Calgary is entering their contention window next year and is in desperate need of a quality goaltender. That said, they also can’t afford to be hobbled by a bad, immovable contract in net. Brad Treliving has lots of net options this summer and the biggest potential mistake has now been taken off the market. That’s a good thing.
— Sam (@sam_corea) May 12, 2017
I think most of the suggestions thus far – from Marc-Andre Fleury to Antti Raanta – are decent targets. The expansion draft is going to put real pressure on teams to get something for guys before they are plucked for nothing. Not to mention the fact that goalie supply far outweighs demand.
The most “realistic” trade option will likely be Fleury (or Matt Murray, if the Pens decide to keep Fleury after this playoff run). It is a near certainty that Pittsburgh will lose Murray to Vegas if they keep both guys (Fleury has an NMC and can’t be exposed in the expansion draft unless he waives it). As such, they will be the most desperate to deal before the day arrives.
I also think the Rangers will need to move Raanta given how good he has been the last couple of years and his super cheap contract ($1M). They aren’t going to expose King Henrik and Raanta will likely be Vegas’ number two choice behind the Pens’ Murray. Heck, even if Vegas picks up another starter elsewhere, Raanta would be a great backup option for them as well.
— Jason Zelmer (@zelmerj) May 12, 2017
Given the pressures of the marketplace, I don’t think the Flames will be forced to deal a first round pick for any of the goalies that are currently available. That could change if another club creates some sort of auction, but there aren’t a lot of those teams around. With Scott Darling going to Carolina and Bishop signing in Dallas, the list of NHL clubs looking for starters is rather short:
- Calgary (no goalies)
- Philly (Michal Neuvirth)
- Vancouver (Jakob Markstrom)
- Buffalo (Robin Lehner – RFA)
As far as I can tell, this is the list of clubs that could be looking for netminding this summer. Markstrom and Lehner might be tabbed for starter’s duty in their respective cities, while Neuvirth is good enough to operate as a 1B option.
In contrast, here are all the UFA and likely trade market goalies:
- Brian Elliot (UFA)
- Chad Johnson (UFA)
- Ryan Miller (UFA)
- Jonathan Bernier (UFA)
- Steve Mason (UFA)
- Darcy Kuemper (UFA)
- Anders Nilsson (UFA)
- Mike Condon (UFA)
- Marc-Andre Fleury or Matt Murray (trade)
- Antti Raanta (trade)
- Calvin Pickard (trade)
- Malcolm Subban (trade)
- Philipp Grubauer (trade)
- Joonas Korpisalo (trade)
- James Reimer (trade)
- Mike Smith (trade)
That’s (maybe) four teams searching for goalies and at least 16 starter or backup quality puck stoppers. Treliving should be able to play hardball.
— Austin Lowry (@AustinCLowry) May 12, 2017
We can’t really say if the price paid will be worth the investment until we see the actual transaction. As set out above, though, the Flames are positioned to take advantage of a supply glut. If Treliving can leverage the expansion draft and low demand for goaltenders, Calgary could potentially pay dimes on the dollar for their next netminder.
Given the names listed above, here’s my shortlist for Flames goaltender targets: Murray (if available), Raanta, Grubauer, and Fleury (if available). Otherwise consider Pickard, Elliott, Mason, Reimer or Bernier.
— Andrew Loudoun (@aloudoun) May 12, 2017
I’m very much on board with considering Williams on a short-term, stopgap contract. The former King brings all the intangibles GMs and coaches love (leadership! Experience! Cup rings!), but he’s also still really effective:
Granted, Williams will turn 36 in October, meaning we can reasonably expect his performance to erode, but as you can see he has some room before he drops into “liability” territory. If Calgary can get him on a short, reasonable deal, it’s worth the gamble.
— Kyle Lentz (@kyleslentz) May 12, 2017
I don’t think there’s any chance the Ducks leave Jakob Silfverberg unprotected (or trade him) after the season and playoff run he’s had. He’s 26, coming off a career best 49-point year and scoring at a PPG pace in the postseason. Anaheim will move someone else if they have to, but they’ll keep Silfverberg.
— Corsi Jones (@vowswithinhb) May 13, 2017
I’d like to buy low on Jordan Eberle, but aside from the fact it’s unlikely Edmonton will deal him to Calgary, his $6M cap hit could be a problem.
This summer the Flames will be spending their money on goaltending and another top four defender, as well as raises for Sam Bennett and Micheal Ferland. They may have a lot of space left over after those moves, or they could be completely capped out, depending on how they go.
— kingcambie (@kingcambie) May 12, 2017
For the entry draft, the Knights will pick in conventional order starting with 6th overall. From Draftsite.com:
For the expansion draft, as far as I can tell there is no assigned “order” for them to pick players from other teams.
— Abdu Hage (@abduhage03) May 12, 2017
No. Unfortunately, Nail Yakupov just isn’t very good. His underlying numbers resemble Troy Brouwer’s, but he doesn’t get the intangibles bump in the mind of NHL decision makers.
My guess is he ends up in Vegas. Or the KHL.
— Atlas ¯_(ツ)_/¯ed (@Hanoten) May 12, 2017
It depends on who is available via trade and what player(s) fall to 16th overall.
I don’t know if the Colorado Avalanche are going to resume their auction for Gabriel Landeskog or Matt Duchene, but that might be a consideration. A team like Tampa Bay facing expansion draft pressures might also put Tyler Johnson or Jonathan Drouin on the trade block as well. Of course, the cap pressures I mentioned in the Eberle note above obviously applies to any of the potential trade targets listed here as well.
As for the draft, there’s a chance some high-quality guys will be available by 16, but talent could dwindle rapidly as well, depending on what happens in the top 15. If there’s little apparent difference between guys by the time the draft gets around to the Flames, Treliving would be well advised to trade down and acquire a few more lottery tickets, particularly since the Flames don’t have a second or third round pick this year.
— бязтт (@bKrauss61) May 12, 2017
When I noted there could be some good players available at 16 above, Nick Suzuki was the guy I was thinking of.
Suzuki’s numbers are sparkling and some of the best in the entire draft. He’s also one of the youngest guys available, having been born in August, which makes his output (45 goals, 96 points in 65 games or an NHLe of 36) all the more impressive. For context, Sam Bennett managed 36 goals and 91 points in 57 games (NHLe of 39) during his draft year.
Standing just 5’11” and weighing around 180 pounds, Suzuki isn’t the biggest RWer, which may be why he typically ranks in the middle of the first round according to most draft outfits. NHL Central Scouting has Suzuki as the 10th best NA skater, which puts him in 15-20 territory when considering European skaters, whereas ISS puts him 11th overall.
As a result, you’ll see Suzuki as high as a top six pick in some mock drafts to going in the late teens in others.