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.