This season we’ve seen several teams carry more than the typical two goalies. Could lead to the possibility of a goalie on the move.
Technically an RFA, Matt Murray is due for a new contract. However, the Penguins have a bit of a jam in the net. In his 4th full season in the league, he’s shared the net more evenly than other goalies listed earlier, but this is the first season he struggled. He’s allowing more goals than typical (2.87GAA, .899 save percentage) and Tristan Jarry got the All-Star bid over Murray and is performing better this year (2.43 GAA, .921 save percentage).
The season prior, Casey DeSmith backed up Murray and performed very well, .916 save percentage and 2.75 GAA. For whatever reason, he lost out the backup job to Jarry. This year in the AHL, he’s stopped .905 of shots and allowed 2.92 goals a game, which isn’t great.
Here’s the thing. Murray will likely command a more expensive contract and with the elite talent on that roster, the Penguins need to save some money where they can. Tristan Jarry is due for a new contract as well, but with less experience, he’ll likely garner a less expensive contract. DeSmith is under contract for one more season at 1.25M.
The Penguins have made tough decisions with goalies in the past. They did not protect Marc Andre Fleury in the expansion draft and even gave Vegas a 2nd Round pick in this year’s draft to ensure they took Fleury.
So, it wouldn’t be shocking that they make another tough decision about a netminder, especially to save money. They do have money coming off the books in the form of Justin Schultz’s ($5.5M) if they don’t resign him, Patrick Marleau ($700k), various RFAs that they could/could not resign, and Conor Sheary who’s making $2M. It should be noted they have money coming back onto the books in the shape of Jake Guentzel’s $6M currently on LTIR.
I’m not sure where they’re sitting in terms of who they want to resign and who they’re fine letting walk, but I think they could make a sign and trade or even just trade the negotiating rights to Matt Murray for a package of either prospects, cheaper forwards, and/or draft picks, which is how teams with elite talents, like the Penguins, need to do to continue to be good. Pay your stars, save money where you can.
It looked like the Rangers wanted to move Alexander Georgiev at the trade deadline but nobody was willing to bite the bullet and pay their price. He is an RFA at the end of the season as well, but it’s another situation in which Rangers management could try to flip the young goalie into picks, prospects, etc to try to accelerate their rebuild.
I’ve rather admired what the Rangers have done to rebuild their team. Just two seasons ago, Rangers Ownership sent a letter out to their season ticket holders and ultimately their fans to explain their reasoning for the rebuild. The 2018 Rangers were on the bubble and legitimately could have made the playoffs, but they made the tough decision and elected to pull the chute and rebuild.
Now they’ve almost rebuilt into a contending window, signed a top-five winger in the league with Artemi Panarin, and have built an exciting roster.
Here’s another team with three goaltenders who need to make a decision. The Rangers have Alexander Georgiev, Igor Shestorkin, and Henrik Lundqvist.
Their choice may be easier than it seems though. Shestorkin got more time in net later in the season and appeared to be performing rather well. Georgiev took a bit of a step back from last season, but still could be viable if needed. Lundqvist managed to save .905 of shots faced, but still averaged over 3 goals a game and is only getting older, already at 38 years old. Lundqvist is due $8.5M for one more year before his contract is off the books, but with creative cap management, they could bury it in LTIR.
So Georgiev could be had if the Wild were willing to pay the price, or they could even get creative and trade Dubnyk and Lundqvist, each at 50% salary retained. This could work for both sides fairly well, the Rangers get a bit more cap space to work with, have a goalie closer to his prime to mentor the young goalies, and if either are not quite ready for the pro roster, Dubnyk could plugin as a capable filler.
Lundqvist would almost definitely be put on LTIR in Minnesota, which they could handle with the cap space they’ve created, and promote Kahkonen to the Pro Roster as mentioned earlier.