FanPost

The Nightmare in Net

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Season over. Once again, Leafs are watching from the sidelines as 16 other teams vie for the Cup, and once again, it is in no small part due to poor performance in net. Thinking of solutions for next year, you've likely already checked out upcoming UFA goaltenders on capgeek, as well as dreamed of trade scenarios for the prize RFA names - Cory Schneider, Jonathan Bernier or hell even Carey Price or Tuukka Rask.

Before you back a direction of the team you think Burke should take the Leafs in, let's take one big look at the entire goaltending landscape in the NHL - how the Leafs stand relative to other clubs, which goalies really deserve praise and which ones are overrated/overhyped.

For each NHL team, we see their current netminders, their age, whether they're the starter or backup, Veteran or Prospect, how that team originally acquired them, their cap hit and remaining years, career games played, a vague measure of how much it would cost to acquire them in the offseason (Free, Low, Medium or High), as well as the last 3 year's Even-strength SV% and a chart of that goalie's career SV% by moving average & season average.

Should start by pointing out the obvious - there are grey areas for the Starter/Backup, Veteran/Prospect distinctions, and obviously "cost to acquire" is a matter of opinion more than anything else. If you disagree with the selection, feel free to explain why in the comments.

The colour-coding for the ES SV% is performance relative to League average ES SV% in that given year (0.923, 0.924 and 0.924 respectively for 09/10,10/11 and 11/12):

  • Highlights in RED if ES SV% is more than 0.005 below league average
  • Highlights in GREEN if ES SV% is more than 0.005 above league average
  • Highlights in GREY (and N/A) if the goalie played less than 5 games in that season
  • No highlight if ES SV% was within +/- 0.005 of league average

The thing you'll notice right away about the Career SV% charts is that often the season average lines look above (or below) the entire moving average's sv% - this is because the moving average isn't weighted by number of shots. That is, a goalie might post a 1.000 sv% on a given night, but only because it is based on 4 shots (for example,in relief of the starter). The season average is the more complete average, but doesn't move around as much, and isn't as interesting in spotting trends (check out Tim Thomas, for example).

All data provided below available here.

Anaheim2_mediumAnaheim Ducks

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Jonas Hiller ANA 29 Starter Veteran UFA (Europe) $4.5M 2 250
High 0.93 0.931 0.917 Chart
Dan Ellis ANA 31 Backup Veteran Trade w TBL $1.5M UFA 165
Free 0.921 0.905 0.923 Chart

  • Anaheim's goaltending was a big reason they ended near the bottom of the standings this season, as it seems Hiller wasn't fully recovered from his battle with vertigo from last season. As the season went on, he rounded much more nicely into form and is looking like his old self again.
  • Jonas Hiller isn't going anywhere for the next 2 years, and I can't see a challenger for his starter role until heir apparent John Gibson is ready to take over. Dan Ellis isn't the answer for anyone and although he'll likely grab a backup job somewhere in the NHL, I sure hope it isn't with the Leafs.

Boston08_medium Boston Bruins

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Tim Thomas BOS 37 Starter Veteran UFA (Europe) $5.0M 1 378 High 0.913 0.947 0.927 Chart
Tuukka Rask BOS 24 Backup Prospect Trade w TOR $1.25M RFA 102 High 0.937 0.925 0.929 Chart

  • Boston has received what could be conservatively described as "above league average goaltending" for several years now. Tim Thomas is having a quite average season (relative to his previous seasons), but even when he does (rarely) stumble, Tuukka Rask has got his back and continues to post great numbers.
  • While a trade/offer sheet for Rask is theoretically possible, it seems extraordinarily unlikely - if he hangs in for another year he's likely to grab the starting reigns with Boston in 2013/2014 or earlier

Buffalo-10-pres_mediumBuffalo Sabres

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Ryan Miller BUF 31 Starter Veteran Draft (138th) $6.25M 2 460 High 0.928 0.924 0.922 Chart
Jhonas Enroth BUF 23 Backup Prospect Draft (46th) $0.675M 1 41 High N/A 0.919 0.926 Chart

  • Expectations were high for Buffalo at the start of the year, but a drive-by "Lucicing" seems to have derailed the first half of Ryan Miller's season. While he was solid in the 2nd half, it wasn't enough to get the injury-plagued Buffalo into the post-season.
  • Despite rumours early in the season, I don't think Miller is going anywhere, and Enroth is rounding into form as a good backup. Both goalies have provided decent goaltending since Miller's Vezina season, and unless Enroth really surprises to the upside and wants to be paid like a starter in 2013/2014, I can't see Buffalo parting with either netminder.

Carolina_medium Carolina Hurricanes

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Cam Ward CAR 27 Starter Veteran Draft (25th) $6.3M 4 414 High 0.924 0.927 0.919 Chart
Justin Peters CAR 25 Backup Prospect Draft (38th) $0.525M RFA 28 Medium 0.928 0.891 0.948 Chart
Brian Boucher CAR 35 Backup Veteran UFA $0.95M 1 324 Low 0.911 0.925 0.899 Chart

  • Cam Ward was another starter that didn't have a terribly great season, but as his ESSV% shows, he's been approximately league average for a few seasons now. Whatever the problem in Carolina is, it's not the goaltending, but i'd stop short of calling it spectacular.
  • Ward isn't going anywhere with that contract and putting up decent numbers, in my opinion Boucher needs to hang 'em up or head to Europe, and while Peters has put up a few good games - is he any improvement over the prospects in the Leafs system now?
  • An additional catch is that I believe Peters didn't play enough professional games and will become a Group 6 UFA this summer. As well, any team that signs him would have to risk waivers to store them in their AHL team, similar to the Ben Scrivens situation. A team like Carolina that has a starter who can play 60+ games a season can afford to have a developing backup on their roster - the Leafs can't.

Columbus08_mediumColumbus Blue Jackets

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Steve Mason CBJ 23 Starter? Prospect? Draft (69th) $2.9M 1 219 Low 0.911 0.911 0.911 Chart
Curtis Sanford CBJ 32 Backup? Veteran UFA $0.6M UFA 144 Free N/A N/A 0.923 Chart
Allen York CBJ 22 Backup Prospect Draft (158th) $0.95M 1 11 Medium N/A N/A 0.917 3SA

  • If there's one team that the Leafs can look down on in terms of goaltending, it's the Blue Jackets. Wow, Steve Mason is going on his 3rd straight season of being completely awful and yet as of now still lays claim to the role of "starter"
  • Sanford, a journeyman who has spent years as a NHL/AHL tweener, was the only netminder to put up anything close to respectable numbers on the sad sack 11/12 Columbus Blue Jackets. Leafs should want nothing to do with this franchise from a goaltender perspective and may the hockey Gods have mercy on the Blue Jackets' collective souls.

Calgary_mediumCalgary Flames

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Miikka Kiprusoff CGY 35 Starter Veteran Trade w SJS $5.83M 2 599 High 0.928 0.916 0.928 Chart
Henrik Karlsson CGY 28 Backup Veteran UFA (Europe) $0.863M 1 26 Low N/A 0.905 0.905 Chart
Leland Irving CGY 23 Backup Prospect Draft (26th) $0.6M RFA 7 Medium N/A N/A 0.911 3SA

  • For what feels like the millionth year in a row, Miikka Kiprusoff has given the Flames just good enough goaltending to trick management that the team is good enough to not need a rebuild, but not good enough to get into the playoffs. Yay mediocrity!
  • Calgary's an interesting case - if they ever embraced a rebuild, Kiprusoff would be a decent trade candidate. He's not in the upper echelon of netminders in the NHL, but he's provided relatively stable league average goaltending for a number of years. However, two more years at nearly $6M isn't great for a Veteran whose glory days may be behind him, and Calgary's asking price would likely be above the value he'd provide to whoever traded for him.

Chicago_mediumChicago Blackhawks

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Corey Crawford CHI 27 Starter Prospect Draft (52nd) $2.67M 2 123 Medium 0.931 0.924 0.915 Chart
Ray Emery CHI 29 Backup Veteran UFA $0.6M ($1.15M) 1 207 Low 0.93 0.935 0.899 Chart

  • Despite the fact that Crawford / Emery tried to derail the Blackhawks season with pretty awful goaltending, Chicago is headed back to the playoffs and it looks like they're backing Corey Crawford as their go-to starter for the foreseeable future.
  • Neither Crawford or Emery are awful, but they're not exactly spectacular or consistent. Crawford could easily rebound as he's posted better numbers in the two previous years, but it's a perfect example of the dangers of sample size at the NHL level. I don't see Chicago making him available, and Emery just signed a 1-year extension so I doubt he's going anywhere either.

Colorado_mediumColorado Avalanche

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Semyon Varlamov COL 23 Starter Prospect Trade w WSH $2.83M 2 112 High 0.929 0.93 0.923 Chart
Jean-Sebastien Giguere COL 34 Backup Veteran UFA $1.25M 1 557 Medium 0.915 0.91 0.924 Chart

  • They didn't make the playoffs, but not nearly as many people are laughing at the Semyon Varlamov for a 1st, 2nd trade between Colorado and Washington anymore. While his SV% wasn't his career best, he took over the starter role in Colorado and if it weren't for the equally stellar play of a rebounding J.S. Giguere, he'd probably have played 65 games or more this season.
  • It's clear that Colorado was willing to pay the price and have significantly invested in Varlamov as their goaltender of the future, so he's not going anywhere. Giguere, coming off 2 seasons of awful and injury-plagued play, decided to shut it down last summer, get his surgery, and played like the Giguere of old this season. Burke won't trade back for him, but this is a case of hindsight that I wish the Leafs could have made a different decision regarding Giguere & Gustavsson last summer.

Dallas_mediumDallas Stars

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Kari Lehtonen DAL 28 Starter Veteran Trade w ATL $3.55M 1 343 High 0.921 0.928 0.926 Chart
Andrew Raycroft DAL 31 Backup Veteran UFA $0.65M UFA 280 Free 0.913 0.911 0.897 Chart
Richard Bachman DAL 24 Backup Prospect Draft (120th) $0.55M RFA 19 Medium N/A N/A 0.929 3SA

  • Kari Lehtonen for the 3rd season in a row posted stellar numbers, as the Dallas Stars continuing to collect dividends from the trade that saw Ivan Vishnevskiy and a 4th rounder head to the Atlanta Thrashers who had grown tired of his injury-plagued career.
  • Lehtonen has been very good for Dallas, and with 1 more year left in his contract at $3.55M he'll be looking for a decent-size raise if he can keep it up for one more season. Dallas has a decent pipeline with Richard Bachman and eventually Jack Campbell in a few years. While I can't see an offer that would make Dallas consider moving Lehtonen, the 2013 offseason might be interesting if Dallas is still running on a tight internal budget as to whether or not they can afford to keep him long-term as a pending UFA.
  • As for the backups, Andrew Raycroft continues to be awful and this might be the last season in which his agent can trick an NHL team into signing him as a backup. Bachman has shown promise in his small sample size, but his AHL numbers are all over the place. Look for him to be the backup going into 2012/2013 unless Dallas management doesn't think he's ready for that responsibility.

Detroit_mediumDetroit Red Wings

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Jimmy Howard DET 27 Starter Veteran Draft (64th) $2.25M 1 192 High 0.925 0.916 0.929 Chart
Ty Conklin DET 35 Backup Veteran UFA $0.75M UFA 215 Free 0.918 0.891 0.908 Chart
Joey MacDonald DET 31 Backup Veteran UFA $0.55M 1 101 Low 0.924 0.929 0.927 Chart

  • Jimmy Howard really stepped up this year and likely secured his spot as Detroit's starter for the foreseeable future. Detroit's MO has always seemed to be aim for average-to-below-average netminding and make up the difference with spectacular defense, puck possession and star power in Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Lidstrom, yet Howard gave them an opportunity this season to get the best of both worlds. If he can keep it up, Detroit may well continue to be scary in the future despite an aging core.
  • Howard is obviously going nowhere and no one should consider touching Conklin with a ten foot pole. Joey MacDonald is an interesting case though - a journeyman AHL/NHL tweener, his EV SV% are surprisingly very decent and have gotten better as he's progressed his career in Detroit's system. I don't see him being any game-changer, but on the rare occasion that Vokoun or Harding decide to sign in Detroit next year for a shot at the Cup, MacDonald may end up getting a trade as a backup to another team. At 31, his NHL career may very well just be beginning, just my two cents.

Edmonton_mediumEdmonton Oilers

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Devan Dubnyk EDM 25 Starter Prospect Draft (14th) $0.8M RFA 101 Medium 0.902 0.921 0.927 Chart
Nikolai Khabibulin EDM 39 Backup Veteran UFA $3.75M 1 783 Low 0.924 0.905 0.913 Chart

  • While goaltending isn't the Oilers most pressing need, it isn't doing them any favours either. Khabibulin started out the year with a remarkable .961 early on and had Oilers fans dreaming of playoffs and that the rebuild was right on track. Dubnyk for the 2nd year in a row was very decent, and Oilers fans should have some optimism that he could carry the majority of starts respectably next year, which is good because Khabibulin has ventured back into "godawful" territory again.
  • Dubnyk was one goalie I was interested in comparing against Reimer this season due to similar age, games played, and decent SV%, but that was all derailed by Brian Gionta in game 5 of the season. Dubnyk went on to have the kind of season I had hoped Reimer would have. I don't see Oilers trading Dubnyk unless they can land one of the other prize RFAs, but in either case you'd have to think they'll do everything they can to trade Khabibulin or waive him. He's done.

Florida_mediumFlorida Panthers

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Jose Theodore FLA 35 Starter Veteran UFA $1.5M 1 636 Medium 0.924 0.915 0.928 Chart
Scott Clemmensen FLA 34 Backup Veteran UFA $1.2M UFA 152 Medium 0.912 0.918 0.918 Chart
Jacob Markstrom FLA 22 Backup Prospect Draft (31st) $1.3M 1 8 Low N/A N/A 0.916 3SA

  • Jose Theodore had a great year and is one of the biggest reasons Florida is headed to the playoffs for the first time since the lockout. With one more season on his contract, he's likely to be the starter again next season while mentoring uber-hyped goalie prospect and ridiculous diver Jacob Markstrom as his backup.
  • I know Florida tried hard to keep Tomas Vokoun last summer (for good reason), but Theodore did very well as his replacement. Unless they can woo Vokoun back to Florida to share time with Markstrom, Theodore is unlikely to be traded. Clemmensen is available as a UFA, but he is and always has been a very mediocre-to-bad goaltender and isn't likely to change now. Pass.

Los_20angeles_mediumL.A. Kings

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Jonathan Quick LAK 26 Starter Veteran Draft (73rd) $1.8M 1 249 High 0.919 0.921 0.933 Chart
Jonathan Bernier LAK 23 Backup Prospect Draft (11th) $1.25M 1 48 High N/A 0.92 0.901 Chart

  • Jonathan Quick blew away expectations this season and showed that he's nowhere close to handing over the reigns to Jon Bernier anytime in the near future. Where Bernier has the draft pedigree, Quick has the results - it would be hard to point to any other playoff-bound team that owes its berth to one player the way L.A. has needed Quick. If Evgeni Malkin doesn't win the Hart, Quick should be in contention. Oh and his $1.8M cap hit is a nice bonus too.
  • All season long we heard the rumours that Bernier was either being shopped or that teams were asking for him, and any trade to improve their club would need to have Bernier go back the other way. But Jeff Carter didn't send Bernier the other way (to Columbus) where if rumours are true, he wasn't even discussed as being wanted by the Blue Jackets. His SV% isn't that impressive and if it weren't for his pedigree I doubt he'd be considered valuable in the slightest.
  • Would I be upset if Leafs traded for Bernier? Probably not. But his value isn't what Kings' fans probably think it should be anymore. The Leafs lottery pick? Dream on. Whether or not he's an improvement on Reimer is debatable and probably dependent on whether or not Reimer fully recovers from his "concussion-like symptoms" ever again and becomes the Optimus Reim of old.

Minnesota_mediumMinnesota Wild

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Niklas Backstrom MIN 33 Starter Veteran UFA (Europe) $6M 1 327 High 0.912 0.928 0.931 Chart
Josh Harding MIN 27 Backup Prospect Draft (38th) $0.75M UFA 117 Free 0.921 N/A 0.923 Chart
Matt Hackett MIN 21 Backup Prospect Draft (77th) $0.9M 1 12 Medium N/A N/A 0.925 3SA

  • Not even a spectacular season from Niklas Backstrom could save the Wild from another Top 10 draft pick. Losing Mikko Koivu was a huge blow and the Wild felt a huge collapse from being 1st in the league after the first 1/3rd of the season. Harding as well seemed to play well, showing he's bounced back from his scary injury last season.
  • Just a hunch - on the verge of losing to UFA what could be a very good (and unlucky with injuries) goalie in Josh Harding, Minnesota may instead decide to lock up Harding and trade Backstrom for a good haul. At 33 he's still putting up great numbers, but his $6M is a big price tag they may be willing to part with. If they don't, it's possible Harding walks as a UFA and MIN is forced to roll with a 22 year-old Matt Hackett or sign a UFA backup in the offseason.
  • The main thing that scares off fans about Josh Harding is his injury history. Flashes of what happened with Rick Dipietro are enough to scare off any fan from wanting that on their team. But there are other examples of teams who gambled on previously injured netminders that paid off in spades - Lehtonen in DAL, Giguere in COL, and to a lesser extent Ray Emery in ANA.
  • I like Harding and I think he should near the top of Burke's wishlist for July 1, assuming he doesn't make a move for a netminder before then. Is he a risk? Yes, but no more so than trading assets for a more "proven" minder. His numbers are solid, he was at one time Minnesota's heir apparent before Backstrom swooped in and stole the show, and I think he could be again.

Montreal_mediumMontreal Canadiens

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Carey Price MTL 24 Starter Veteran Draft (5th) $2.75M RFA 271 High 0.921 0.931 0.918 Chart
Peter Budaj MTL 29 Backup Veteran UFA $1.15M 1 259 Low 0.935 0.911 0.923 Chart

  • Carey Price was decent this year relative to prior years, but not decent enough to keep the Habs out of the lottary. Not to say it was his fault - far from it - not even spectacular goaltending could have given the Habs a playoff berth.
  • Price's contract situation has made life interesting. Rumours suggest he could get in the ballpark of $5.5M - $6M per season on a long deal, and there has even been speculation he turned down a $7M x 7 offer (Pekka Rinne's latest contract extension). Who knows what's true. What I do know is that he's RFA and he's not going anywhere unless Montreal wants him to, and they don't. What's the alternative? Offer sheet? You'd have to go above the $8M threshold (4 1st round picks) to even get to the point where Habs management would have a conversation about it. This one is a pipe dream, kids. Move along, nothing to see here.

New_20jersey_mediumNew Jersey Devils

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Martin Brodeur NJD 39 Starter Veteran Draft (20th) $5.2M UFA 1191 Free 0.924 0.912 0.911 Chart
Johan Hedberg NJD 38 Backup Veteran UFA $1.25M UFA 354 Free 0.921 0.92 0.919 Chart

  • Time for Marty to hang 'em up. Oh he'll get one more kick at the bucket in the playoffs, and hell maybe even they'll let him play backup next year. But for the 2nd season in a row he's been very mediocre-to-poor and his age is really starting to show.
  • Biggest problem for NJ? Doesn't seem like they have a plan B, or if they do they haven't shown their cards yet. Are they going to chase Vokoun in the offseason? Will they make a move for a Cory Schneider / Jon Bernier? As of right now the next best prospect within the organization seems to be Jeff Frazee whom, to put it nicely, is no Martin Brodeur.
  • Johan "Moose" Hedberg has surprisingly good numbers of the last 3 seasons, and while being no saviour, isn't the worst kind of Vet to sign for free. I'm wary of the fact he plays behind a defensive system in New Jersey and his SV% may be inflated from his true skill level, but I think the Leafs could do a lot worse than Hedberg, despite his age.

Nashville_mediumNashville Predators

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Pekka Rinne NSH 29 Starter Veteran Draft (258th) $3.4M ($7M) 7 250 High 0.925 0.932 0.928 Chart
Anders Lindback NSH 23 Backup Prospect Draft (207th) $0.875M RFA 38 Medium N/A 0.93 0.914 Chart

  • Pekka Rinne did his best to silence haters that said he wasn't worth the $7M x 7 year contract extension with another solid season in net. While likely benefitting from some spectacular defense from Shea Weber and Ryan Suter and a defense-first mentality Nashville playing style, he's thriving and a big reason Nashville has home-ice advantage this year heading into the playoffs
  • Anders Lindback on the other hand, I could take or leave. His appeal is that he had a great season as a backup last year and is really really big, however his career numbers don't scream future #1 goalie. His name comes in trade talk because he's behind 2/3rds of a decade of Rinne, but frankly he's not really deserving of anything more than a backup role yet anyway. My gut said he'll just re-sign in NSH for 2 years and continue to benefit from being part of the Nashville's goaltender factory.

Ny_20islanders_mediumNew York Islanders

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Evgeni Nabokov NYI 36 Starter Veteran Waivers $0.57M ($2.75M) 1 605 Medium 0.928 N/A 0.917 Chart
Rick DiPietro NYI 30 Backup? Veteran Draft (1st) $4.5M 9 315 Low 0.91 0.888 0.893 Chart
Al Montoya NYI 26 Backup Prospect Trade w PHX $0.601M UFA 56 Free N/A 0.929 0.901 Chart
Kevin Poulin NYI 21 Backup Prospect Draft (126th) $0.892M 1 16 Medium N/A 0.921 0.905 3SA

  • Islanders' goaltending sucks, plain and simple. Nabokov talked his way into a $2.75M contract avoiding free agency, but his numbers would still not be considered league average. I think it speaks more to what the Isles' management thinks of what they currently have in the pipeline than anything else.
  • Montoya - who I thought at one point might have been worth considering in a backup role as a UFA signing, has really crapped the bed. What can you say about Dipietro except pity the guy? Can't stay healthy longer than a few games, but at least he has his bed of money to comfort him. Long story short, Isles' netminding sucks just as bad as the Leafs and we shouldn't be looking here for help.

Ny_20rangers_mediumNew York Rangers

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Henrik Lundqvist NYR 29 Starter Veteran Draft (205th) $6.875M 2 468 High 0.929 0.93 0.933 Chart
Martin Biron NYR 34 Backup Veteran UFA $0.875M UFA 500 Free 0.911 0.924 0.908 Chart

  • What else is there to say about Henrik Lundqvist? The guy deserves the title King. While not the ONLY reason the Rangers are at the tippy top of the league, he's a huge part of it and gives the team a chance to win every time he's between the pipes.
  • A few weeks ago I was on #TeamBiron as to the backup that the Leafs should chase this offseason, but the more I look at the numbers the more I realize why he's just a backup. He'll likely take another backup job this summer and have a pretty decent career as one, but not sure he could handle any sort of real workload anymore.

Ottawa08_mediumOttawa Senators

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Craig Anderson OTT 30 Starter Veteran Trade w COL $3.188M 3 294 High 0.926 0.917 0.920 Chart
Alex Auld OTT 31 Backup Veteran UFA $1M UFA 237 Free 0.902 0.913 0.897 Chart
Ben Bishop OTT 25 Backup Prospect Trade w STL $0.6M ($0.65M) 1 23 Medium N/A 0.9 0.916 3SA
Robin Lehner OTT 20 Backup Prospect Draft (46th) $0.87M 2 13 Medium N/A 0.89 0.948 3SA

  • Craig Anderson came up with a pretty decent season, rebounding from an awful final year in Colorado and putting Ottawa back into the playoffs. While he isn't and won't likely ever be in the upper echelon of netminders, he's solid enough to be a #1 on a team whose defense isn't all that great.
  • Auld shouldn't be an NHL goalie anymore, and it looks like Ben Bishop will be stepping in as Anderson's backup. I actually liked the Bishop trade for the Sens at first, but now I'm not 100% sure I'd have been happy to pay a 2nd round pick for his services. He has about as much NHL experience as Ben Scrivens and has worse numbers, I guess his one advantage is he's big. Lehner is waiting in the wings but will have to continue to wait in the minors and develop. At 20, he's not ready to take over in any significant way, but continues to look decent and is a significant part of the Sens' pipeline.

Philadelphia_mediumPhiladelphia Flyers

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Ilya Bryzgalov PHI 31 Starter Veteran UFA $5.67M 8 385 High 0.928 0.931 0.921 Chart
Sergei Bobrovsky PHI 23 Backup Prospect UFA (Russia) $1.75M 1 83 High N/A 0.923 0.918 Chart

  • So Ilya Bryzgalov's ES SV% over the last few years has been humangous big, and frankly not terribly surprising that it took him a little while to adjust to Philly's system. Will he be this good in 8 years? Probably not, but I have faith Philly will find a way to unload him on some team once he starts to show his age.
  • Bobrovsky looks pretty good, and if we could trade for him i'd love it. What would it take? I have no idea. 2 years of very decent numbers and sitting behind 8 years of Bryzgalov, I wouldn't be surprised if next season when he's up for his RFA raise he asks for a trade. He's still relatively unproven, but if Leafs wanted to go in that direction, here's one I'd prefer to say, Lindback or Bernier.

Phoenix_mediumPhoenix Coyotes

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Mike Smith PHX 29 Starter Veteran UFA $2M 1 229 High 0.906 0.9 0.936 Chart
Jason LaBarbera PHX 32 Backup Veteran UFA $1.25M 1 160 Low 0.932 0.926 0.908 Chart

  • Dave Tippett has a way of making it's goalies look like superstars, and there's no better example than Mike Smith. Once the centerpiece of the Brad Richards trade between Dallas and Tampa Bay, Mike Smith struggled badly until going UFA where Phoenix took a chance on him on a 2 year, $2M deal.
  • The opposite seems to be true for Jason LeBarbera, who prior to this season looked like a solid backup, but fell off. Long story short, I personally don't trust the numbers of any goalie under Dave Tippett's system, and either goalie would probably be a mistake for the Leafs to trade for.

Pittsburgh_mediumPittsburgh Penguins

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Marc-Andre Fleury PIT 27 Starter Veteran Draft (1st) $5M 3 434 High 0.908 0.925 0.915 Chart
Brent Johnson PIT 34 Backup Veteran UFA $0.6M UFA 309 Free 0.914 0.928 0.885 Chart
Brad Thiessen PIT 25 Backup Prospect UFA (College) $0.525M RFA 5 Medium N/A N/A 0.875 3SA

  • Pittsburgh proves that if you have an awesome team, you don't need no stinkin' goaltender. Sorry Pens lovers, Fleury just isn't that good. Don't quote me "clutchness" or whatever other crap you want to rationalize to yourself, on a good year he's very average but being paid like a top-tier netminder.
  • Brent Johnson sucks and is likely done in PIT. Might snag a backup job somewhere else, who cares. Thiessen is interesting because he's in the EXACT situation that Scrivens is in - both will be eligible for waivers starting next season, which means he'll either have to be the backup in PIT or risk waivers at the start of the season. Personally I don't think he'd have any problem slipping through waivers and PIT should probably go out and find another (cheap) Vet UFA to replace Johnson.

San_20jose08_mediumSan Jose Sharks

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Antti Niemi SJS 28 Starter Veteran UFA $3.8M 3 170 High 0.914 0.931 0.926 Chart
Thomas Greiss SJS 26 Backup Prospect Draft (94th) $0.588M 1 38 Medium 0.923 N/A 0.93 Chart

  • Niemi had his statistically worst season by ES SV% the year he won the Cup with the Blackhawks, but almost sunk the Sharks' season in the 2nd half. It was a standout year for Tomas Greiss however, who has shown he can produce solid numbers
  • Niemi would be a good grab but I can't imagine what it would take to convince SJ to give up their starter. I'm guessing a lot. Greiss is pretty unproven and maybe not better than the prospects in our own system.

StSt. Louis Blues

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Jaroslav Halak STL 26 Starter Veteran Trade w MTL $3.75M 2 204 High 0.933 0.916 0.938 Chart
Brian Elliott STL 26 Backup Veteran UFA $0.6M ($1.8M) 2 180 Medium 0.907 0.9 0.945 Chart

  • Jaroslav Halak had an outstanding season, which makes sense because even before the trade to St. Louis he was a really good goalie. Elliott on the other hand, had been pretty awful for a while before Ken Hitchcock's system, which is likely making both Halak and Elliott better than their true ability.
  • St. Louis already traded their pending UFA Ben Bishop to the Senators for a 2nd round pick at the deadline, likely because they felt ready to dedicate the roster space and cap dollars to Halak and Elliott for at least the next 2 years. There's likely nothing to happen between St. Louis and Toronto, goaltender trade-wise.

Tampa-11-pres_mediumTampa Bay Lightning

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Dwayne Roloson TBL 42 Starter? Veteran Trade w NYI $3.5M UFA 606 Free 0.915 0.924 0.897 Chart
Mathieu Garon TBL 34 Backup Veteran UFA $1.3M 1 323 Low 0.908 0.913 0.909 Chart
Dustin Tokarski TBL 22 Backup Prospect Draft (122nd) $0.672M 1 7 Medium N/A N/A 0.895 3SA

  • We all know Burke gets about as much criticism as any GM probably ever has, but Steve Yzerman pinned the hopes of the team on a 42-year old Roloson and an awful Mathieu Garon. Should anyone have been terribly surprised by the outcome of this season? Marty St. Louis isn't going to be around forever and Steve Stamkos isn't going to hit 60 goals every season. I understand they had a great number of injuries on defense, but the fact that Yzerman is walking out of this season clean as a whistle is preposterous.
  • Trade with Tampa? Seriously? Sending Gustavsson to Tampa might make them better. They better hope Tokarski turns into something good or start scanning the goaltender market themselves.

Toronto_mediumToronto Maple Leafs

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
James Reimer TOR 23 Starter? Prospect Draft (99th) $1.8M 2 71 N/A N/A 0.933 0.918 Chart
Jonas Gustavsson TOR 27 Backup Veteran UFA (Europe) $1.35M UFA 107 Free 0.91 0.91 0.904 Chart
Ben Scrivens TOR 25 Backup Prospect UFA (College) $0.6M RFA 12 N/A N/A N/A 0.91 3SA

  • Oh James Reimer, what is there left to say? Your first 37 + 5 games showed such promise, but ever since Gionta Elbow-gate, you haven't played the same. But the biggest thing dragging down his numbers were the PK (where he went .808), his ES SV%, while not spectacular, were still within an earshot of league average.
  • Gustavsson has just been awful. For all his every-once-and-a-while spectacular athletic saves, his underlying numbers have pretty much been brutal since Day 1 with the Leafs. While maybe not completely "fair" given his heart issues and Toskala being, you know, Vesa Toskala, he was forced into a role he wasn't ready for.
  • As mentioned earlier, Scrivens is in the situation in which he must be ready to take over a backup role with the Leafs or pass through waivers in October. I've made my case before that I don't think it's a guarantee that he'd get claimed, but I'm not blind to the risk of losing a prospect for nothing either. Likely his future will be determined well before any of this becomes an issue in October, as Burke will either trade for or sign another goalie in the offseason, or if all else fails, roll Reimer/Scrivens as an "oh my God are you even trying anymore" pairing.

Vancouver08_mediumVancouver Canucks

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Roberto Luongo VAN 32 Starter Veteran Trade w FLA $5.33M 10 727 High 0.925 0.934 0.929 Chart
Cory Schneider VAN 25 Backup Prospect Draft (26th) $0.9M RFA 68 High N/A 0.933 0.931 Chart

  • It probably goes without saying, but Vancouver gets some pretty ridiculous goaltending from Luongo and Schneider. To all the Luongo haters - unless your team has Henrik Lundqvist on it, you should be jealous of Vancouver, not hating on a goalie who is almost definitely better than yours.
  • Cory Schneider - designated the best trading chip the Canucks have, and probably good enough to be a #1 on team someday. With Luongo looking at another 10 years, my gut tells me they trade Schneider for a very good package this offseason or Schneider takes a 1 year deal to hit UFA next year and signs with a team in desperate need of a #1 goalie.
  • Quantitatively there's nothing bad to say about Cory Schneider. Leafs fans are of course terrified to trade assets for a goaltender, considering the last 2 times this happened we ended up with Vesa Toskala and Andrew Raycroft in what could arguably 2 of the worst Leafs trades involving goalies.... ever. If there's a package that makes sense for VAN and doesn't involve Toronto's 1st rounder heading back to VAN, I still think Schneider could solve a lot of problems in net.

Winnipeg-11-pres_mediumWinnipeg Jets

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Ondrej Pavelec WPG 24 Starter Prospect Draft (41st) $1.15M RFA 187 High 0.908 0.928 0.917 Chart
Chris Mason WPG 35 Backup Veteran UFA $1.85M UFA 306 Free 0.917 0.902 0.9 Chart

  • Pavelec has put together 2 decent seasons as an NHL starter by the age of 24, that's pretty good. He'll be up for an RFA raise this summer and it will be interesting to see what of deal his efforts will have gotten him.
  • Chris Mason is a UFA and has not been good. I'm sure WPG will grab another Veteran backup to play with Pavelec. Nothing here for the Leafs.

Washington08_mediumWashington Capitals

Player Team Age Position Status Acquired via Contract Yrs Remaining Career GP Acquisition Cost 09/10 ESSV% 10/11 ESSV% 11/12 ESSV% Career SV%
Tomas Vokoun WSH 35 Starter Veteran UFA $1.5M UFA 680 Free 0.937 0.919 0.927 Chart
Michal Neuvirth WSH 23 Backup Prospect Draft (34th) $1.15M 1 108 Medium 0.922 0.922 0.912 Chart
Braden Holtby WSH 22 Backup Prospect Draft (93rd) $0.638M 1 21 Medium N/A 0.93 0.932 3SA

  • Vokoun put up yet another strong season, but for whatever reason there seems to be unhappiness between the Capitals and Vokoun which makes it seem unlikely he'll re-sign next season.
  • Neuvirth had an off season, but Holtby in his limited time up with the club looked very solid. Will Washington try to roll with a Neuvirth/Holtby tandem next year, try and re-sign Vokoun or another Veteran? I would love if the Leafs could convince Vokoun to sign in Toronto, but almost all things point to him wanting to sign with a contendor to win a Cup before his career is over, and at 35 there are only so many seasons left in his career.

In Summary...

What surprised me the most was how rare it is to find a goaltender who is consistently great. In fact, of the goalies listed above, only Roberto Luongo, Pekka Rinne, Tuukka Rask, Henrik Lundqvist (and randomly, Joey MacDonald) were above league average in all three years. Next closest were Ilya Bryzgalov, Cam Ward, Kari Lehtonen, Semyon Varlamov, Niklas Backstrom, Tomas Vokoun, Jonas Hiller and Ryan Miller who each had one average-to-below-average year. Schneider and Harding have been good in every year they've played, but the fact that they only have 2 seasons under their belts is worrying for other reasons (small sample size). Pretty much everyone else it was a bit of a consistency crapshoot whether or not you were going to get solid netminding.

What does that mean? Unless you're ready to overpay (in assets or $ terms) for the tippy top of NHL goaltending talent, you're likely in for a roller coaster of skill & luck contributing to their success in any given season.

James Reimer's ES numbers in 2011/2012 are not nearly as bad as they "felt" down that awful stretch, and with a summer off to rest, I wouldn't write him off completely from rebounding. Almost every goalie has down seasons, and if .918 ES SV% netminding is Reimer's down season, it's not so bad compared to elsewhere in the league. Still means the PK needs to improve. Badly.

If the Leafs go the UFA netminder route, I'd think Vokoun or Harding should be the focus and Leafs should be ready to overpay (in $ terms) to convince them to sign with a 26th ranked team. If Leafs think they just need a backup who can play 20-30 games, Hedberg, Biron, Clemmensen, or - dare I say it - Dan Ellis would all be available on the cheap.

If the Leafs decide to expend assets in a trade (and are willing to take on $), Niklas Backstrom or Kiprusoff are aging netminders would could provide solid stability on the backend, and could both be available depending on the direction CGY and MIN decide to take their clubs this offseason.

Looking at RFAs (and not the pipedreams like Carey Price or Tuukka Rask), really it should be either Cory Schneider or nothing. Bernier and Lindback haven't shown any more potential than Reimer with a concussion has.

Love to hear your own (informed, hopefully) opinions in the comments. Glove tap to NHL.com, Hockey-Reference.com and capgeek.com for all the information provided.

*Author's Note: Yes, I realize there aren't charts for every goalie yet. They'll be up ASAP.

PensionPlanPuppets.com is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of PensionPlanPuppets.com.

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