Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Who Will Backup The King?
Last season Steve Valiquette had that job but was then sent down to Hartford after a couple of sub par performances. He'll be a UFA come July 1st and is certainly not coming back to New York.
Chad Johnson, also got to play in a handful of games last season. But, it's likely that the Rangers will want to give the young goalie acquired from Pittsburgh last summer more time to develop. Especially because whoever gets the backup job is going to see limited action with Lundqvist getting the majority of the starts. So it's likely that Johnson will at least start the season in the AHL.
Alex Auld was another goalie who saw limited time last season for the Rangers. He was acquired at the end of February when the Rangers claimed him off of re-entry waivers. Auld will also be a UFA on July 1st. Could he be re-signed on the cheap and given the backup role? It's possible.
CapGeek has a list of the UFA goalies who will be available on the open market starting July 1st. There could be a few big name goalies available, but that certainly is not what Glen Sather will be looking for. The Rangers will likely be looking for a steady veteran who has been around the league and will be comfortable playing in 15 games or less.
The Rangers will have some decisions to make this summer and may find themselves trying to squeeze under the cap again after they have signed the players that they need to get under contract. Will that mean that in order to open up cap space for another roster player the Rangers will try and spend as little money as possible cap wise on a backup goalie?
The one good thing about there being a decent pool of goalies available this summer including Evgeni Nabokov and Marty Turco and the Bruins being rumored to be shopping Tim Thomas is that it may drive down the contract costs on some of the more middle of the road goalies like Biron, Leighton, Hedberg, Mason (probably getting the most money of these 5 goalies) and Niittymaki.
I personally am undecided as of yet. I think that any of the goalies that I just mentioned above in that last sentence could be good options on a one or two year deal with a cap hit of $1M or less.