What will a starting goalie cost Brad Treliving?

There’s nothing in the National Hockey League’s expansion draft rules that say that every team has to protect a goaltender. The two protection scenarios allowed by the NHL are limits, not requirements after all. That said, the general presumption is that the Calgary Flames will be acquiring a goaltender before the pre-expansion trade freeze (on Jun. 17 at 1 p.m. MT) because they can offer teams that are worried about losing a goaltender for nothing something in exchange.

So what will a goaltender cost the Flames in the trade market?

Let’s talk incentives

The key thing to bear in mind in the marketplace this summer is there are two sets of incentive structures for general managers: pre- and post-expansion.

Pre-expansion, the choice for general managers is this: you can lose a player to Vegas for nothing, work out a trade with Vegas to avoid losing that player to them, or work out a trade with another club so that you get an asset for that player rather than losing them for nothing. Post-expansion, it’s all about maximizing assets whether you hold onto them or not. This plays a big part in Vegas’ post-expansion activities, as they really don’t want to claim a goalie in the expansion draft and then potentially lose them via the waiver wire for nothing before the season.

From a Flames perspective, that provides both a tremendous opportunity to help teams maximize the value of their assets pre-expansion as well as a very prominent ticking clock on that opportunity. Once the trade freeze kicks in on June 17, Treliving’s window to add a goaltender on the cheap slams shut and prices get a lot higher.

Buyers and sellers

Based on acquisitions, cap hits and expansion considerations, there are several teams that might be looking to divest themselves of veteran goaltenders with hefty cap hits. The sellers likely include Arizona (Mike Smith), Carolina (Cam Ward and Eddie Lack), Dallas (Antti Nimei and Kari Lehtonen), Detroit (Jimmy Howard) and the NY Islanders (Jaroslav Halak). There are also several teams that are likely nervous about losing an important young asset for nothing. Those teams likely include Colorado (Calvin Pickard), Columbus (Joonas Korpisalo and Anton Forsberg), the NY Rangers (Antti Raanta) and Washington (Philipp Grubauer). Pittsburgh is sort of a little of both, in that they want to get rid of Marc-Andre Fleury’s cap hit and no-move contract and are worried about losing Matt Murray for nothing in expansion.

In that landscape, there are really only four teams that really need goaltending help: Buffalo, Calgary, Vegas and Winnipeg. Vegas has to take three goaltenders in the expansion draft, but could end up taking more than that (they can take as many as seven) and make moves afterwards with the teams that are still seeking netminders.

In addition to all the buying and selling, there are already rumours bubbling around regarding netminders:

  • Nick Kypreos has spent the playoffs discussing the possibility (or even likelihood) of Vegas making a deal with Pittsburgh for Marc-Andre Fleury. At the same time, Pierre LeBrun indicated on a recent edition of TSN’s Insider Trading that the Flames are targeting Fleury.
  • There’s been a lot of chatter about Mike Smith in Arizona, with Elliotte Friedman noting that the Coyotes want a lot for him and LeBrun indicating that the Flames see Smith as an option if Fleury doesn’t work out.
  • Friedman has also indicated on a recent Sportsnet 960 The Fan radio spot that there may be a side deal in the works between Vegas and Columbus so that young netminder Joonas Korpisalo isn’t selected by the Golden Knights.

The marketplace

The relevant trade market for the Flames and goaltenders is more or less reflected by a handful of recent trades involving goaltenders.

  • The Kings traded Ben Bishop’s rights to Dallas for a fourth round pick
  • The Blackhawks traded Scott Darling’s rights to Carolina for a third round pick
  • The Lightning traded Ben Bishop and a fifth round pick to Los Angeles for Peter Budaj, Erik Cernak, a seventh round pick and a conditional pick
  • The Maple Leafs traded Jhonas Enroth to Anaheim for a seventh round pick
  • The Penguins traded Mike Condon to Montreal for a fifth round pick
  • The Maple Leafs traded Jonathan Bernier to Anaheim for a conditional pick
  • The Oilers traded Anders Nilsson to Buffalo for a fifth round pick
  • The Blues traded Brian Elliott to Calgary for a second round pick and a conditional third round pick
  • The Ducks traded Freddie Andersen to Toronto for a first round pick and a conditional second round pick

Absent the expansion draft, it seems that an adequate backup will cost a fifth round pick, an established, veteran starter costs a second round pick and a younger starter (with potential) costs a first round pick and maybe more.

The price

If the Flames are gunning for somebody like Mike Smith or Marc-Andre Fleury, the fact that they’re taking on a veteran (older than 30 years old) asset with a hefty cap hit probably keeps the cost down. Some combination of a third or fourth round pick and maybe a secondary roster player or prospect gets the job done.

But let’s say Flames go after Grubauer or Raanta. Neither is a player the Capitals or Rangers want to lose, but if the choice is between giving them to Vegas for nothing or getting something back for them, they’ll go for smart asset management. Both players are stuck behind established, elite starters and on some level management in each organization may want to give them a chance to start somewhere. But it’s also patently obvious that the Flames would be trying to find a starter with a prospective trade, which would probably get the price up. Plus, instead of losing their backup goalie to Vegas, Washington or the Rangers would be losing a different asset.

Because of the complexities involved and the fact that they’re trading for a starter, and everyone knows it, it’s hard to imagine the Flames landing Grubauer or Raanta for anything less than a second round pick (and probably more).

  • Parallex

    I disagree with the conclusion of the article. Grubauer and Raanta are not Starters in the sense that they have never been starters… you can call them back-ups with upside if you want but just because the Flames are likely to use them as their principle goalie shouldn’t magically inflate their standing or value.

    … put it this way, the Flames could sign me to be their starter, they could call me their starter in every press release/interview/communique but I guarantee you they couldn’t then trade me for the value of a starter. Grubauer and Raanta will get a return befitting Grubauer and Raanta not return befitting “generic hockey description X”.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Not exactly true. Teams acquire players for their “potential.” Potential meaning how much of a positive impact he will make on the team that acquires him. Why does a kid in junior go 1st round and his linemate go 5th round? It is the potential the acquiring teams sees in each. Tre gave Brouwer $4M+ a year last July even though Troy had never done a damn thing for the Flames–some say Troy still hasn’t. Why? Tre valued Brouwer’s potential as a Flame as being worth that kind of dough.

      Can’t forget about competition either. Teams don’t operate in vacuums. If two clubs value a player’s potential equally and both are determined to get the player, the price for the player inflates due to competition.

      The seller or dealer cannot be completely forgotten about either because he too can influences the price. If I am the Rangers and know the Flames are looking for a #1 goalies, then, of course, I will place Raanta on the shelf that is at eye level, remind Tre about the greatness and scarcity of the stock and that I have other interested buyers eying the merchandise.

      In effect, the player’s value is determined what the seller can get for him and what the buyer is willing to pay for him.

      That means whenever a seller claims a price is “firm” tell him to blow it out his ear and start the dickering.

    • cjc

      Saros is only 22, exempt from the draft, Rinne is only signed for 2 more years and Saros has a better record than any Flames goalie that would likely be offered in return. Saros is not getting traded.

  • DJ_44

    “But let’s say Flames go after Grubauer or Raanta. Neither is a player the Capitals or Rangers want to lose, but if the choice is between giving them to Vegas for nothing or getting something back for them, they’ll go for smart asset management.”

    Smart asset management? This statement is at best characterized as incomplete, and more accurately flawed.

    Each team will lose an asset to Vegas. In the Rangers example, the question is not isolated to Raanta; it is Raanta vs. other exposed players: Grabner, Pirri, Zibanejad, Fast. Moving Raanta will ensure one of these will be lost. So, the Rangers, if they choose to move Raanta, would be Raanta plus [ insert name ] for a … second round pick? As opposed to [ insert name here] for nothing.

    • cjc

      I think you can take Zibanejad’s name off that list. No way he is getting exposed. Fast or Grabner might sting, but Grabner had a pretty flukey season and his possession numbers were terrible. Fast is a good defensive 3rd liner and it would hurt to lose him for nothing, but as much as Raanta? Pirri played mostly on the fourth line, he isn’t bad, but he is mostly replaceable. Fast seems like the most likely target if New York trades Raanta.

  • Trevy

    I think the best bet is to go the free agency route and sign Mason. If they go the trade route, I would target Smith or Howard only because they have a couple years left but with the condition that they take Brouwer. They may have to add another prospect (Macdonald would be ideal). This will in turn alleviate the goalie cost and provide a perfect 2yr stop gap, get rid of Brouwer and open a roster spot for one of our prospects

    • cjc

      Leaving the Mason signing aside, it’s not an insane plan. The Flames could reasonably extract some value out of a goalie like Fleury/Smith/Howard, and they are at least less toxic contracts than Brouwer’s.

  • Rusty

    Whats not being discussed is what Quebec City fans want to see as their goaltender, apparently they could move their whenever they want. I bet Fleury would like to play in his home province as a Nordique or a Flammes.

  • Southboy

    How is Rusty’s Opinion not an intelligent one, you are saying our President of Hockey Operations ( Burke ) is not smart than, because he has the exact same opinion of our organization without a new rink.

    • Kevin R

      It gets to be gibberish & whats the point? It’s all the politics about it, keep in mind we have a civic election coming up. In reality, look what Bettman did for Arizona to a building that is lucky to get 10000 fans in their arena & those fans are Canadian snowbirds versus a Canadian market with a population over a million. Reality is you know how hard it would be for Flames ownership to just pick up & leave without saying anything. That was the most ridiculous comment a Management executive could make. Bettman would force Edwards to sell to local potential ownership before moving a history established Franchise like the Flames. Lots of money in this town,& getting a buyer would happen pretty darn quick. So Supra Steve is bang on.

    • Cfan in Van

      I would definitely say that our President of Hockey Operations is way less than brilliant, loves to open his big mouth, and wants to influence every aspect of the hockey club despite what his job description is and what the best interests of the team may be… So yeah, pretty much gibberish.

      • Derian Hatcher

        Totally agree…big mouth Burke acts like a bull in a China shop and in all his years in hockey, has not yet learned how to present ideas in a thoughtful and constructive fashion. Instead he comes across as a babbling baffoon, like he has for years.

  • Kevin R

    Hey Ryan! There are so many variables trying to do something pre-expansion draft. We can target potential goalies teams may lose & immediately think they are a trading partner but then they may not be because if they trade to us who are they going to consequently lose. That is worth mentioning & researching. In cases where there won’t be much to pick off for Vegas, then maybe we can do that deal with Vegas instead as long as Vegas gets a better return than what they would have available if Grubauer or Raanta weren’t available. There would be perfectly logical reason for the Flames doing nothing prior to the expansion draft. Also I would put a 5th team in the market for a starter in Philly. They only have Neuvirth who I would put in the backup/1b category. I still think Mcphee is targeting MAF to be their face of LVK. Former 1st overall who has had a decent run in getting his team to the Stanley Cup final, yup, definitely a marketable move by McPhee. So the question is, who do they want to back up Fleury? Raanta or Grubauer? They will need a decent young goalie in the AHL in case of injury, so maybe we can move either Rittch or Gilles to LVK for their choice of whoever they don’t want backing up Fleury. We get Grubauer or Raanta & sign Johnson on another 1-2 year cheap deal to back up & Riitch or Gilles & Parsons manning the pipes down in Stockton. Bob’s your uncle. Now would Wash or Rangers take one of our young goalies in exchange for one of these two? I don’t know what they have down in their pipe lines. Food for thought.

  • Southboy

    considering it wasnt ‘his’ original opinion ( it was Burke’s ) than it is just a funny take on said Burke’s unintelligent opinion. Also when you consider he is part of the inner group of the Flames ownership, is it ‘possible’ he spoke for them all, even tho he spoke out of turn? So ‘bashing’ the comment for its ‘intelligence’ is actually very reactionary, and unintelligent in itself. But hey i just think its all hilarious

    • piscera.infada

      So, Burke opens his yap, spouts trash–despite the fact that the Flames can’t just “pick up and move” the franchise at the drop of a hat–and the Ken King comes out with a statement mere hours after the fact back-peddling on that, and espousing (feigning?) optimistim an arena deal will be done. It’s actually a hilarious turn of events.

      There are two possible scenarios here: 1) either someone spoke when they weren’t supposed to, on a subject they weren’t authorised to speak on (Burke most likely, considering the Flames have [rightly or wrongly] clearly placed King in charge of all arena-centric responsibilities), or 2) this is some sort of good-cop, bad-cop routine, that is so thinly veiled that even a grade-schooler (and not a particularly bright one) can see through it.

      • Stu Cazz

        I would say it was all staged. It’s part of negotiations and the Murray Edwards team (as I will call them) are very good at it as they should be. You say Burke was “spouting trash”, I say he was giving our very incompetent Mayor and City council a bit of a wake up call. Remember this is a major city lead by a Mayor and council that do not have the core skill set to run an effective council meeting let alone make a decision on major projects within our City.

    • supra steve

      It is gibberish because of poor sentence structure, spelling, and a general inability to make clear what the heck was intended to be conveyed. It made no sense, thus it was gibberish. That is all I’ve got to say about that.

  • Waittillnextyear

    If you want to keep pace with the team up north you need to put up a first to get a goalie as good as Talbot even then it’s a crapshoot with your defense. Fix the defense before blaming another goalie.

    • Derian Hatcher

      And this is the frustration for the team as I see it, because I am guessing that Elliott was thought to be a viable solution to the netminding challenge the Flames had. Unfortunately, that plan did not work out, so they keep searcing. Fortunately for the Oilers, Talbot has done well, so the goaltending box can be checked off. It will be interesting to see who ends up in the Flames net.

  • Jessemadnote

    I would like to see Flamesnation.ca do a breakdown of Steve Mason as a target. He has the sixth highest even strength save percentage since the beginning of the 2014-15 season. That’s higher than any Quick, Lundqvist and Schneider. Plus no assets required to pick him up and likely he’ll sign a reasonable deal.

  • Southboy

    Prior to signing last year didnt Elliot have the 3rd or 4th best even strength sv%?? And we know how that worked out with our defense👍🏾

    Weird how supra steve was unable to decode the ‘gibberish’ but myself and the ither people who have commented on it have. 🤔🤔🤔🤔

  • Digit19

    I’d like to see Elliott resigned and Halak brought in.
    Elliott had zero support to start the year and then rebounded beautifully. Obviously had his struggles in Playoffs, but I would absolutely roll the dice and bring him back, his GA and Save % over the course of the last several years can’t be wrong can they??
    Halak could be a good tandem. They worked together before and he wouldn’t be expensive. Save dough for a 4th D and potential RW

  • Digit19

    I’d like to see Halak brought in.
    Elliott had zero support to start the year and then rebounded beautifully. Obviously had his struggles in Playoffs, but I would absolutely roll the dice and bring him back, his GA and Save % over the course of the last several years can’t be wrong can they??
    Halak could be a good tandem. They worked together before and he wouldn’t be expensive. Save dough for a 4th D and potential RW

  • Southboy

    I second that digit. For the 2nd rounder you have to give up to resign him for 1/2 years i believe outweighs the 2nd rounder plus that a rannta eill cost, and he is unknown. We know what we have in elliot

  • Digit19

    I’d like to see Halak brought in.

    Elliott had his struggles in Playoffs, but I would absolutely roll the dice and bring him back, his GA and Save % over the course of the last several years can’t be wrong can they??
    Halak could be a good tandem. They worked together before and he wouldn’t be expensive. Save dough for a 4th D and potential RW

  • everton fc

    Whatever we do, please don’t add a massive contract between the pipes when we have Rittich, Gilles and Parsons waiting in the wings…

    I think Rittich should be the #2. Elliott wouldn’t be a bad #1. Or can we work with Johnson/Rittich for one year?

    We have to keep an eye on on our cap situation. Once Bouma and Stajan (and Bartkowski) fall off the books… That cap should go to Backlund, others…

    Stay the course. Build through the draft and smart moves for younger players (like the Hamilton deal). And I think moving our 2nd for Lazar might make more sense, as I read the draft posts here.

    • freethe flames

      If the Flames are able to acquire one of Raanta(signed for $1m), Grubauer(RFA who made $750K) or even Condon(RFA who made even less) they will not have a big contract to eat; heck it is even less that Chad Johnsons contract was last year. The thing is not to overpay to acquire either Raanta or Grubauer and that might best be done by having Vegas broker the deal. Building from within would be great but we do not have any candidates for the Top 9 RW position and the only way to get one is via FA or a trade and if you want a good young one under 25 then you will need to trade assets.

  • Just a Fan

    Looking at this from the other side, you have a backup goalie that is pretty good but you have an established starter that you are happy with. If you trade the backup you are going to lose another roster player. Maybe even a good roster player. There are a lot of acquit free agent goalies that I can sign to replace my backup goalie. Why would I trade him to Calgary and force Vegas to pick someone else?

    No chance a backup goalie gets moved before the expansion draft and they are likely going to need to overpay after the expansion draft.