It has been no secret that goaltending woes have significantly hurt the Flames this season. While it's unfair to heap all the blame on the goaltenders, they have left much to be desired. With both Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo being pending UFA's after this season, there's definitely some open doors to plan for the future.
These teams below have potentially tradeable goalies that the Flames might look for in the offseason. The importance is to not sacrifice too much of the future for them. This is Part 2 in a 3 part segment on solving the Flames goaltending situtation.
For Part 1 on free agents click here.
Continuing with theme of Winnipeg Jets that we ended Part 1 with, we look at Ondrej Pavelec and what he could mean to the Flames. The Jets have a depth of prospect goalies plus upcoming RFA Michael Hutchinson to resign which could make Pavelec expendable if they're looking towards the future.
Pavelec is one of only a few players left that can trace his Jets roots back to Atlanta and during that time, he hasn't been able to help the Jets franchise get over the playoff hump and make a run.
Unfortunately, Pavelec suffered a significant knee sprain earlier this season and missed a good chunk of time. His season stats are decent , Pavelec has a 8-11-2 record with a 2.80 GAA and a .904 sv%. Both Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson have been strong in the Jets net providing some belief in building for the future.
As I already mentioned, the Jets have a wealth of prospects already along with the most cap space in the NHL, although that number is expected to dwindle with upcoming resignings this summer. The Flames would likely be hoping to send a contract the other way although the Jets might be looking for picks for the future.
Detroit Red Wings G Jimmy Howard $5.3M expiring after 2018-19
Jimmy Howard has essentially been squeezed out of the picture in Detroit following the emergence of Petr Mrazek over the last couple seasons. The issue for the Red Wings is that they're currently stuck under the monster contract of Howard which makes him difficult to move. He's just under $5.3M against the salary cap until the end of 2018-2019, a price that could be difficult to stomach with so many young Wings becoming RFA's in the next year or two.
Howard has a 8-10-5 record this season with a 2.82 GAA and a .907 sv%. Not great numbers, but still pretty good, but not at a contract that pays close to the same value as Corey Crawford or Marc-Andre Fleury. Certainly not worth it to be paying to a backup either for the Red Wings.
For the Flames to be willing to make any deal they would have to send a big contract such as Dennis Wideman to the Wings plus also receiving something from the Wings in order to take on this monster contract for the long term. Not really a smart trade for the Flames to make for the future unless the return value is high.
New York Islanders G Jaroslav Halak $4.5M expiring after 2017-18
Prior to his recent injury, Halak had been playing fairly well this season but with the Islanders having 11 NHL roster players as upcoming free agents either restricted or unrestricted, the Isles could be looking for a means to create cap space. The biggest of these names is Kyle Okposo and he'll likely be looking for a big contract in the offseason.
With all this already it may seem like Halak could potentially be on the outside looking in at the end of the season. This also doesn't mention the stellar performance this season from Thomas Greiss who is 19-7-4 with a .928 sv% which is the second highest in the league for a goalie that's played in at least 30 games. If Greiss succeeds and helps the Islanders into the playoffs while Halak is out, he could be the favorite moving forward for the Isles.
Meanwhile Halak has been pretty good this season too with a 18-13-4 record with a 2.30GAA and a .919 sv%. Not exactly terrible numbers considering he has better numbers than all three Flames goalies in all three categories. He could definitely be worth a look depending on what we would trade in return.
. St. Louis Blues G Brian Elliott $2.5M expiring after 2016-17
Elliott provides an interesting option for the Flames as he has been lights out for the Blues this season but still seems to be stuck in a backup role on the Blues. Elliott was injured late in February and is expected to be back soon, however Jake Allen is still the undisputed starter of the Blues and their goalie for the future.
This leaves Elliott in a difficult position in the Blues organization. The Blues also acquired ex-Oiler Anders Nilsson just prior to the trade deadline meaning they may look to him as the backup going forward. Elliott has put up great numbers this season and in past years with Blues, going 17-7-6 with a 2.14GAA and a .929 sv% which is highest among goaltenders with at least 30 games played.
Elliott has been a backup for the majority of his career thus far and could be looking for an oppourtunity to prove himself as a starter. He played 55 games with the Senators in the 09-10 season but aside from that he's played between 30-45 games a year. Coming to the Flames next season would guarantee him a great chance to be the starter.
Each of these goalies provides an interesting option in net for the Flames and any possible deal will come down to what the Flames will have to sacrifice in order to get one of these netminders. Vote below which goalie you'd most like to see the Flames acquire out of these four, or vote for none if they don't appeal to you. Part 3 which focuses on the goalies within the organization should be out in the next week or so.