Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

What would adding a goaltender cost?

Barring one goaltender going absolutely bananas, the conventional wisdom in the National Hockey League is that contending teams need to have two reliable goalies to succeed. The Flames have one reliable goaltender in David Rittich, but what would it cost them to acquire some insurance via the trade market?

The price of goaltending insurance depends on the degree to which the Flames are aiming to shore up the position. Looking at trades involving goaltenders made since the beginning of the 2017-18 season, they tend to fall into two general categories.

Trades for more options

Over the past few seasons there have been a handful of swaps where teams just needed another decent body in their system to help carry the load. The acquisition costs generally weren’t overly expensive.

  • Vegas trades Calvin Pickard to Toronto for Tobias Lindberg and 2018 sixth round pick [Oct. 7, 2017]
  • Montreal trades Al Montoya to Edmonton for a conditional 2018 fifth round pick [Jan. 4, 2018]
  • Florida trades Michael Hutchinson to Toronto for 2020 fifth round pick [Dec. 29, 2018]

None of the acquisitions were seismic, nor were the price tags, but they gave their club additional options that they didn’t have prior.

Trades to upgrade the position

If your thought process is that Mike Smith isn’t the best backup option for the Flames, but you’re not sure if Jon Gillies can carry the mail either, the price tag to upgrade the backup (or third string) position is a bit higher than just adding a depth body.

  • Arizona trades Louis Domingue to Tampa Bay for Michael Leighton and Tye McGinn [Nov. 14, 2017]
  • Detroit trades Petr Mrazek to Philadelphia for conditional 2018 fourth round pick and conditional 2019 third round pick [Feb. 19, 2018]
  • Los Angeles trades Darcy Kuemper to Arizona for Scott Wedgewood and Tobias Rieder [Feb. 21, 2018]

Obviously all these situations were a little different from each other, but two of them featured clubs trying to upgrade their depth by swapping an existing body (with a depth piece) for a better option.

The Mrazek swap might be most interesting to the Flames, in that they added a goalie on an expiring contract for a pair of conditional draft picks. The Red Wings got a fourth round pick just for giving up Mrazek, but the pick converted to a third based on Philadelphia making the playoffs (and Mrazek playing a specific number of games) and would’ve been bumped up to a second had they gone further. The other conditional pick was tied to Mrazek potentially re-signing with the Flyers. This might be up the Flames’ alley given their lack of high-end prospects beyond the NHL level these days.

Sum it up

What a goaltending trade would cost would obviously depend on how drastically the Flames wished to shake up the position. But based on recent history, adding depth would likely cost a mid-to-late draft pick, upgrading existing depth would likely have a similar price, while adding something more substantial (akin to the Mrazek trade last year) could involve conditional picks.

As far as potential trade targets, Pat Steinberg will be digging into them later this week.

  • The GREAT WW

    Smith has been bad…..(equally bad as his twin brother Neal).

    But ask yourself this: would you trade Smith for Talbot?
    Both expiring contracts, what is there to lose? Well, Talbot may just be a lot worse than Smith.

    Ok, how about Smith for Koskanen then?


  • freethe flames

    If as the TDL gets closer the NYI are out of the picture how about Gilles and either our 4th(which was theirs) or a prospect like Lazar for Lehner and carry 3 goalies for the stretch run.

      • Off the wall

        It’s Smith’s final season, I’m pretty sure Treliving isn’t going put Smith on waivers. Lol

        We’re all playing GM, however Treliving cares about his players and unless Smith has agreed to be traded, it isn’t going to happen.

        So basically, we go with what we got. If the Flames falter, Treliving will take the lump of coal that comes with it…

        • BendingCorners

          I think you’re right OTW about how BT will treat Smith. But I do expect him to make some moves since he did suggest last year that the team’s poor performance made TDL maneuvers pointless. This year, some moves might help fill whatever holes he has identified.
          Chiarelli is desperate – maybe Nugent-Hopkins for Neal since Neal is a scorer that can play with McDavid (wink).
          Dorion must be desperate to stay out of the bottom five – surely we can come up with something?

        • FlamesFanFromMI

          Even though part of me agree “lump of coal” comment but he is on his 3rd and final coach, done almost anything he could I was personally hoping and there is still hope for Neal. May be in my mind one of the most talented GM we had in recent memories so I hate to see him go but that’s just me personally

  • freethe flames

    For me the two guys at the top of the list at this moment are Lehner but that only happens if the NYI struggle for the next few weeks and Keumper and that only happens if Raanta is healthy. So both are near the trade deadline.

    The Flames need to be 6/7 on their current run as it does not look like either SJ or Vegas are slowing down.