Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Goaltending Options

There's no denying that the Avs biggest weakness heading into next season is goaltending. Peter Budaj's days with the team are all but over as he won't be re-signed and Brian Elliott is a RFA who will more than likely return in a back up role next season. This leaves a hole in the starting position. The free agent pool is slim with little high end talent and now that Ilya Bryzgalov looks like he'll be off the market, the list is smaller.

The names that keep floating around are the young up and coming goalies from other teams, Jonathan Bernier from LA and Cory Schneider from Vancouver. That #11 pick in the draft would more than likely have to be sent off to acquire one of them so I don't see the Avs going in that direction listening to them say how important this draft is with those 2 high picks.

Back to free agents, Tomas Vokoun is looking like the best option for the team. He is 34 years old but could still could have about 3-4 good years left in him. He keeps putting up good numbers on pretty bad Florida Panthers teams having around a .920 save % every season in Florida. He would serve as a good stop gap until a Calvin Pickard would be ready to take the reigns assuming he develops as advertised.

Bryzgalov, although his rights were just acquired by the Flyers yesterday, is a possibility to still be out there come July 1. The Flyers will have to move out some cap space before signing Bryzgalov to a deal. It was rumored that Bryzgalov wanted $25 million over 4 years from Phoenix and the Flyers only would have around $4 million cap space, assuming the cap goes up to $63 million, with just 18 players signed not including Ville Leino who they would like to keep. Even if Bryz is still out there July 1, that price tag is not worth it and the Avs likely wouldn't give out that much coin anyway.

JS Giguere is also out there. Like Vokoun, he is 34 years old but unlike Vokoun, he hasn't maintained consistent numbers. Dwayne Roloson will probably re-sign in Tampa if he decides to play next season given the season they just had with him in net. If not, he's still 41 years old so probably wouldn't be good for more than a year. Josh Harding from Minnesota is an interesting one. He looked like a young promising goalie before missing most of last season with an injury. It may have been playing in Jacques Lemaire's defensive system that made him look better but I could see the Avs giving him a chance like they did with Craig Anderson. He's only 26 still too so just going into his prime.

Hearing Joe Sakic and Greg Sherman talk about goaltending being a big focus makes me feel a little optimistic that they might actually fork out some money to fix that hole. Would they go over $6 million for Bryzgalov? Probably not. But a guy like Vokoun for $4-5 million I could see them doing. Goalie is the one position you can't go cheap on as Philly found out this season so it'll be interesting to see how the Avs handle this one.

1 comment:

From the Point said...

This really is the toughest and most important part of the off-season for the Avs. A home run by the management would go a long way with the fans. Strike out and the fans will be screaming for Sherman's head.
And that's your baseball metaphors analysis of hockey for the day.