Exploring the trade market for David Rittich
Photo credit:Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports
By Ryan Pike1 year ago
It’s been said that NHL teams with playoff aspirations need two good goaltenders. But with the Calgary Flames’ playoff hopes held together with hopes, dreams and duct tape, it’s probably worth considering trading pending unrestricted free agent David Rittich somewhere he can be of use to a playoff team – and potentially give “Big Save Dave” a chance at post-season glory.
Here’s a snapshot of a few teams that may be in the market to add a goaltender.
Rittich is 28 years old and a product of the Czech Republic! While he’s been a little streaky at times, often attributed to coaches over-playing him in the front half of seasons, he’s ultimately a pretty consistent goaltender. This season he has a .908 save percentage in 13 appearances and for his entire career he’s a .908 goalie across 128 appearances.
Simply put, he’s a goaltender that can provide rock-solid minutes and occasionally steal a game. He carries a $2.75 million cap hit, but the Flames could cover up to half of it, leaving the cap for teams to absorb potentially as little as $1.375 million.
If Rittich is dealt, presumably the Flames would bring up Artyom Zagidulin from Stockton and utilize same combination of him and Louis Domingue as Jacob Markstrom’s backup. The Stockton tandem would likely become Garret Sparks and the returning Tyler Parsons, currently on his way back from injury and serving his quarantine in Calgary.
Boston’s situation is interesting because both of their goalies are good, but also on the wrong side of 30. Jaroslav Halak is 35 and quite good (.919), but tandem-mate Tuukka Rask is 34 and has been frequently injured this season. Their third goalie is the relatively untested 23-year-old Daniel Vladar, and adding Rittich would give them the ability to strengthen their playoff positioning without unduly wearing down either of their veteran tenders.
Boston has enough cap space to add Rittich’s full cap hit at the deadline. They have a full compliment of 2021 and 2022 picks available.
The Avalanche are really good, but backup goalie Pavel Francouz is injured and their current backup is Jonas Johansson… who isn’t very good. Adding Rittich would give them a good backup and allow them to manage the load for starter Philipp Grubauer.
Colorado has enough cap space to add Rittich’s full cap hit at the deadline. They have a first, third, fifth and seventh in 2021, as well as every pick but a second rounder in 2022.
Juuso Saros is great, but is nursing a minor injury right now. Pekka Rinne is 38 and hasn’t been great this season (with an .899 save percentage). Their third goalie is Kasimir Kaskisuo, who is inexperienced at the NHL level. Rittich would give them a great insurance policy. (Nashville could also be a landing spot for Rittich as a UFA, and giving him time to audition would be nice to do.)
Nashville has enough cap space to add Rittich’s full cap hit at the deadline. They have all their 2021 picks except for their seventh, and all their 2022 picks except for their sixth.
Carter Hart was amazing last season, but he’s struggled with an .869 save percentage this season. Brian Elliott has been better and a model of consistency, but he’s 35 and the Flyers would probably prefer not to burn him out before the post-season. Rittich would be a nice fit for what they’re doing.
The Flyers have cap space to eat Rittich’s full cap hit. They have all their 2021 picks except for their fifth rounder, and they have all their 2022 picks.
A team with Stanley Cup aspirations, the Blues have Jordan Binnington as their top guy and a pretty iffy Ville Husso (.885) as their backup. Rittich would be an upgrade.
The Blues are using LTIR space right now, but adding Rittich wouldn’t put them over their allocation. They have no second or fourth in 2021, and all their 2022 picks aside from their seventh rounder.
This one would be perfect except for the fact that Toronto has no cap space. Like, almost literally no cap space. Freddie Andersen has been injured all season, which has contributed to his sub-.900 save percentage. Jack Campbell looks to be their guy, but he’s also nursing an injury. Rittich would be a big insurance policy for the Leafs, but it would be extremely difficult to make it work – and barring the Leafs sending a sweetener Calgary’s way, I’m not sure why the Flames would facilitate Toronto’s cap somersaults to make it work.
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