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Forum: NHLThu. at 3:19 p.m.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>BoringBrianMacLellan</b></div><div>WARNING: LOTS OF READING. I KNOW IT'S HARD, I'M SORRY

So... I've been a goalie since the age of 5, and a goalie coach for the last 6 years. Does that mean I know what I'm talking about here? Absolutely not, but I'd like to think I know more about goaltending than the average person. I watch a lottttttt of NHL games and a lottttttt more goalie highlights of prospects and such, so I'd like to think I can have a decent opinion, but I'm sure I'll be told I'm an idiot. Which is fair, I've taken a lot of pucks to the head.

Anyways, over the last 3 weeks, I've been using my off time at work to take a look at each teams crease situation. I did a little write-up for each team based on my knowledge of the goalies in their system. If I didn't speak too highly of your team, I'm sorry. I'm not here to take shots at anybody, I'm just making observations. I also gave a little prediction at the end of each write-up, naming who I think will be the top 3 goalies for each team by the start of next season, and giving a little season prediction. This is mostly for my own amusement because I'm a nerd, but I hope at least one other person enjoys this.

ANAHEIM DUCKS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - John Gibson, Lukas Dostal
- Minors/Loaned - Calle Clang, Gage Alexander, Tomas Suchanek
UFA
- Alex Stalock
UNSIGNED
- Vyacheslav Buteyets, Damian Clara

I'm in the minority with John Gibson because I still think he's an awesome goalie. Dude is an athletic freak, and is one of the best goalies of the last decade in desperation save situations. Playing behind Anaheims defense for the last few years is probably what I feel like on Thursday nights playing in net for my beer league team, although it is definitely getting better. Dostal is a stud already, just needs to fine tune a few things in his game. Obviously, size is his big drawback, but he makes up for it with side-to-side speed and great save selection. Stalock is a decent third option, but he's probably gone. Calle Clang is probably the best prospect in the system, but I'm very intrigued by Italian goalie Damian Clara. He's 6'6" and put up great numbers in Sweden last year. At only 19, I think the Ducks might have a gem with him. I think this offseason the Ducks sign someone to be third string, and I have them giving Kevin Lankinen a one year deal. Overall, the future in net in Anaheim looks pretty good.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Gibson backed up by Dostal, Lankinen as third-string - SEASON PREDICTION: Dostal takes over the starting role by seasons end.

BOSTON BRUINS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Linus Ullmark
- Minors/Loaned - Michael DiPietro
UFA
- Kyle Keyser
RFA
- Jeremy Swayman, Brandon Bussi
UNSIGNED
- Philip Svedeback, Reid Dyck

The Bruins have the best goalie tandem in the league, hands down. Swayman is going to command a decent chunk of change this offseason, but I don't see why the Bruins wouldn't bring both goalies back. Brandon Bussi is a great third option with a catch. He's looked great as a pro, but has yet to play a regular season NHL game. So the Bruins still don't know what they have there at the NHL level. Michael DiPietro is a good minor league goalie and still only 24. There might be something there. Dyck looks to be the prospect to watch in the system, improving each year with the Swift Current Broncos. Don't know much about Svedeback.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Swayman backed up by Ullmark, Bussi as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Swayman puts up Vezina like numbers but doesn't win it

BUFFALO SABRES
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Devon Levi
UFA
- Dustin Tokarski, Eric Comrie
RFA
- Ukko Pekka Luukkonen
UNSIGNED
- Topias Leinonen, Scott Ratzlaff

UPL fully arrived this season. The guy tried his best to drag the Sabres into a playoff spot, ultimately coming up short a few games before the end of the season. Luukkonen was fantastic this season, so I would expect him to get a decent pay raise this summer. Levi is the future in net (i think), but he's still green, and sending him back to Rochester this year was the right thing to do. I can see Levi being a top 10 goalie in the league within a couple years. Comrie has fallen off a cliff since his days in Winnipeg, but is still not a bad call up option. Tokarski is a good vet to have in the mix. Leinonen is a good goalie prospect, but Scott Ratzlaff is the one to watch in the Sabres system. I think Tokarski and Comrie walk, and the Sabres bring in a familiar face in Scott Wedgeood to be third string down in Rochester. Overall, the youth and potential of the goalies in Buffalos system makes me excited for their future in net.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Luukkonen backed up by Levi, Wedgewood as third string - SEASON PREDICTIONS: Luukkonen has a strong season, clouding the future of who the starter going forward is.

CALGARY FLAMES
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Jakob Markstrom, Dan Vladar
- Minors/Loaned - Waltteri Ignatjew
UFA
- Oscar Dansk
RFA
- Dustin Wolf
UNSIGNED
- Arsenii Sergeev, Yegor Yegorov

Markstrom is a great goalie; when he's not diving 50 feet out of his net. I've never seen a modern goalie leave his crease more than Marky. Will the Flames trade him? I'm not sure. The rumor was the Devils were in on him big time. Acquiring Jake Allen lessens that possibility, but it doesn't take it away completely. Vladar is an okay backup who's play has slowly declined over his time with the Flames. I would bet that one of the two gets moved this summer to make way for the heir-apparent, Dustin Wolf. Wolf is a stud who stops a ton of rubber everywhere he plays. He should be wearing the flaming C for a long time. I don't know much about Sergeev, but I like what I've seen from Yegorov (in the very little I've watched of him.) I think Markstrom gets moved to New Jersey, and the Flames bring in Schmid as part of the deal.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Wolf backed up by Vladar, Schmid as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Wolf gets Calder votes

CAROLINA HURRICANES
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Frederik Andersen, Pyotr Kochetkov
- Minors/Loaned - Yaniv Perets, Spencer Martin
UFA
- Antti Raanta
UNSIGNED
- Patrik Hamrla, Ruslan Khazheyev, Jakub Vondras, Nikita Quapp, Jake Kucharski, Yegor Naumov, Yegor Velmakin

I hate to say it as a Caps fan but I really like what the Canes are doing here. Freddie has been a steady goalie through his whole career when he's healthy, and Kochetkov looks to be the teams future starter. Spencer Martin is okay as a 3rd option, but you really hope one the young guys like Perets, Quapp, Vondras, and Hamrla can take a step this year. I always been pretty high on Quapp, but Perets really caught my eye during his run at Quinnipiac. He struggled in the ECHL this year, but hopefully he can turn it around. Vondras and Hamrla are two good Czech prospects that I have some hope for as well. The other names I don't know, but Carolina has a habit of finding gems so I wouldn't be shocked if one of those guys turns into something.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Kochetkov backed up by Andersen, Martin as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Kochetkov takes the starting role for good midway through the season, and one of the young goalies comes up on injury recall at some point and plays really well.

CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Petr Mrazek, Arvid Soderblom
- Minors/Loaned - Drew Commesso
RFA
- Jaxson Stauber,
UNSIGNED
- Dominic Basse, Adam Gajan

Petr Mrazek might have been the team MVP last year if Bedard didn't exist. He performed about as well as you could've asked for. Mrazek is a good stop-gap goalie while the Hawks try to find their footing going forward. Soderblom is going to need some more time in the AHL because last season was disastrous for him. Although, two of his 5 wins came against the Leafs, which is very funny (always fun to laugh at the Leafs.) The duo of Commesso and Stauber has some promise. They were both fantastic NCAA goalies, and each put up respectable numbers in Rockford last year. Stauber had a 6 game stint with the Hawks where he looked pretty solid. If one of those two can pan out, the Hawks might be able to cut the rebuild down a couple years. Adam Gajan is also a small, but nice prospect to have in the system.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Mrazek backed up by Stauber, Commesso as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Commesso takes over the backup role midway through the year

COLORADO AVALANCHE
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Alexander Georgiev, Justus Annunen
UFA
- Ivan Prosvetov, Arvid Holm
RFA
- Trent Miner
UNSIGNED
- Ivan Zhigalov
RETIRED
- Pavel Francouz

I'm not quite sure what to make of Georgiev. As a whole, he was not good this season, but he'll have games where he stands on his head too. You don't know what you're going to get on any given night. Justus Annunen seems to have taken a step, as he took over the backup role from Ivan Prosvetov mid season and never looked back. I like his game and he has a fun name, so I'm hoping he can take another step this year. I really don't know that much about Miner and Zhigalov so I won't speak on them, but I'd imagine the Avs are going to sign a goalie or two as organizational depth this offseason, as they don't really have much there. I have them bringing in Martin Jones, an absolute mystery of a man that can't stop pucks, but loves winning hockey games. And best wishes to Pavel Francouz in his next chapter in life!

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Georgiev backed up by Annunen, Martin Jones as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Georgiev and Annunen split games 50-50

COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Elvis Merzlikins, Daniil Tarasov
- Minors/Loaned - Nathan Lalonde
UFA
- Malcolm Subban
RFA
- Jet Greaves
UNSIGNED
- Sergei Ivanov, Melvin Strahl

I'm sorry Jackets fans, but this is messy. I want nothing more than to see Elvis succeed and doing his guitar celebrations, but the guy needs a change of scenery first. I just don't think he'll ever be fully happy in Columbus. And I'm not taking shots at Columbus. I have family from there, I love Columbus. I just think, whether it's a trade or a buyout, it's time for Elvis to move on. Too much negativity has happened to him during his time with the team (again, not taking shots at the team or fans, it's just the way it goes sometimes.) Tarasov is probably the best hope in the system right now as I haven't seen much from Jet Greaves to show me that he'll be an NHL starter one day. Lalonde is okay but he's just depth, and Ivanov and Strahl could be something at some point, but they are a ways away from that time. It just looks bleak right now in Ohio.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Tarasov backed up Merzlikins, Greaves as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Merzlikins ends the year with a save percentage above .910 and takes back the starting role

DALLAS STARS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Jake Oettinger
- Minors/Loaned - Remi Porier, Benjamin Kraws
UFA
- Scott Wedgewood
RFA
- Matt Murray
UNSIGNED
- Cole Brady, Arno Tiefensee, Maxim Mayorov

Jake Oettinger is my favorite goalie in the NHL, so I'm going to be a little biased here. He had a down year this year, but is right back to being a stud these playoffs. The Stars net is set for a while with the Otter. Wedgewood is a decent backup who had a down year. I would be shocked if Matt Murray (no, not that Matt Murray) didn't take the backup role next year. He has looked good in his limited stints in Dallas. Porier is a nice depth piece, and I don't know much about Kraws. I like Cole Brady's game, and Tiefensee has some upside, but as long as Oettinger is in town, the Stars don't have much to worry about in net. I do think they try to find a youngish goalie for the minors, so I have them nabbing Prosvetov.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Oettinger backed up by Murray, Prosvetov as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Oettinger has a bounce back year and gets nominated for the Vezina

DETROIT RED WINGS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Ville Husso, Alex Lyon
- Minors/Loaned - Sebastian Cossa, Carter Gylander
UFA
- James Reimer, Michael Hutchinson, Jon Letheman
UNSIGNED
- Trey Augustine, Rudy Gulmond, Jan Bednar

I'm not quite sure what to make of the tandem of Husso and Lyon. It's a pretty bang average tandem if you ask me. It could get the job done, but it won't be the reason for the teams success. The real bright spot comes in the future, with highly touted prospects such as Trey Augustine, Sebastian Cossa, and Jan Bednar in the mix. I'd put money down on one of those three goalies turning into a full time starter for the Wings at some point. Cossa is a massive human that has struggled since coming over to North America, but found some form in Grand Rapids this year. If he rounds out his game, he has the natural size and athleticism to be a top half goalie in the league. Augustine is yet another product of the goalie factory that is the USNTDP. His movement and poise are outstanding, and it's only a matter of time before he makes the pro jump. The Red Wings generally do a pretty good job when it comes to drafting goalies, so I'd expect one or two of these guys to pan out.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Lyon backed up by Huss, Cossa as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Cossa gets hot in the AHL and shines during an injury call up stint with the Wings.

EDMONTON OILERS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Stuart Skinner
- Minors/Loaned - Jack Campbell, Olivier Rodrigue, Connor Ungar
UFA
- Calvin Pickard
RFA
- Ryan Fenti
UNSIGNED
- Ty Taylor, Nathaniel Day, Samuel jonsson

Well, as I type this, Skinner has just lost the starting playoff job to Chet... ahem... Calvin Pickard. Yikes. (Edit: Skinner is back and the Oilers are in the Conference Finals now lol) Skinner was pretty good this season, or good enough for a high powered offense like the Oilers to outscore their issues. I have hope for Skinner. I really like his demeanor in the net, and he has some of the best facial hair in the game. He just needs to work through some things, mentally and on the ice. Pickard could get brought back as he was surprisingly steady for Edmonton. Jack Campbell is still toiling away in Bakersfield and Olivier Rodrigue looks like the best hope for the future at the moment. Not bad, but not great. I have the Stars winning the cup, so my prediction is Skinner gets shelled in the conference finals, and Oilers management decides right then and there to fix the goaltending, pulling off a massive trade for Saros. How do they do that? I dunno, I'm not the GM.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Saros backed up by Pickard, Campbell as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Saros doesn't put up Vezina numbers, but immediately becomes the best goalie the Oilers have had since Khabibulin

FLORIDA PANTHERS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Sergei Bobrovsky, Spencer Knight
- Minors/Loaned - Cooper Black
UFA
- Anthony Stolarz, Magnus Hellberg
RFA
- Mack Guzda
UNSIGNED
- Kirill Gerasimyuk, Tyler Muszelik, Olof Glifford

Sergei Bobrovsky is an enigma. 2 years ago, his contract looked like one of, if not the worst deal in the league. Now, he's back to that form he showed when knocking off the best regular season team of all time with the Blue Jackets. Then he did it again last year with the Panthers. The guy is unbelievable between the pipes, and is fully worth the 70 million he's making if he keeps playing like this. Stolarz performed very well and is probably going elsewhere for a bigger payday. I'm not quite sure what's happening with Knight, but I really hope to see him back in Sunrise next season. Guzda is a decent third option, and Cooper Black, if nothing else, could be the next Ben Bishop based on height alone. Muszelik and Glifford have both struggled recently, but Gerasimyuk is progressing nicely in the Russian junior and minor leagues. Things are okay in the crease for the Panthers.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Bobrovsky backed up by Knight, Guzda as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Knight comes back and plays very well, lessening the load for Bob

LOS ANGELES KINGS
UNDER CONTRACT
- Minors/Loaned - Angus Booth
UFA
- Cam Talbot, David Rittich, Phoenix Copley, Aaron Dell
RFA
- Erik Portillo, Jacob ingham
UNSIGNED
- Juho Markannen, Hampton Slukynsky

So... the Kings don't have an NHL goalie at the moment. Cam Talbot was good, but he is 36. How much longer can he go? David Rittich performed very well, but he's 31 and a career backup. He's back on a one year deal. Copley is 30 coming off a major injury. And nobody in the system is NHL ready yet. Portillo is close, but still needs some time. I really like Markannen, but he's still raw and has some work to do in his game. So decisions have to made this offseason. Do you bring back two of the guys from last year? Try to pair one of them with a new partner? Or do you just re-structure your goaltending entirely? I'd be very curious to see what happens in LA this offseason. I think they bring back Talbot and platoon him with Laurent Brossoit, who gets a shot at a bigger role than he had in Winnipeg. Rittich gets named the third goalie again.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Talbot backed up by Brossoit, Rittich as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Brossoit takes the starting role by the deadline and leads the Kings on a hot streak into the playoffs.

MINNESOTA WILD
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - MA Fleury, Filip Gustavsson
- Minors/Loaned - Jesper Wallstedt, Jack Peart
UFA
- Zane McIntyre
RFA
- Hunter Jones
UNSIGNED
- Samuel Hlavaj

Minnesota is in an interesting spot. They have one of the best goalies of the millennium in Fleury. They have a goalie who was great two seasons ago and abysmal last year in Gustavsson. And they have one of, if not the best goalie prospect in the league in Jesper Wallstedt. Personally, I would've moved on from Fleury this offseason, but having those three going into the year could make for the best goalie depth in the league. Peart and Jones are good system goalies to fill out the minor leagues, and Hlavaj has some potential, but I don't see any of those three panning out into full time NHL goaltenders. I think the real question in net for the Wild is how long until Wallstedt takes the reigns for good?

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Fleury backed up by Gustavsson, Wallstedt as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Fleury turns back the clock and ends the year with a SV% above .915

MONTREAL CANADIENS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Sam Montembault, Cayden Primeau
- Minors/Loaned - Jakub Dobes
UNSIGNED
- Jacob Fowler, Quentin Miller, Yevgeni Volokhin, Emmett Croteau, Joe Vrbetic
LTIR
- Carey Price

Montembault and Primeau are good platoon goalies, so the Habs are set, at least for this year. I really like Jakub Dobes, although I might be biased as an Ohio State sports fan. He's big and is very good positionally. If he can bring his lateral movement up to speed, I think there could be something there. Jacob Fowler is also an intriguing prospect and one of the better ones across the league, having put up equally good numbers in the USHL and NCAA. If they can get him to Laval by the end of the year, I'd love to see what he can do. Miller, Croteau, and Vrbetic could all turn into something, they just don't have the potential ceiling that Fowler does. I do not know much about Volokhin.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Montembault backed up by Primeau, Dobes as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Primeau gets over 50% of starts by the end of the year

NASHVILLE PREDATORS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Juuse Saros
- Minors/Loaned - Yaroslav Askarov
UFA
- Kevin Lankinen, Troy Grosenick
RFA
- Gustavs Grigals
UNSIGNED
- Juha Jatkola, Ethan Haider

It's Askarov time in Nashville, and I am pumped. Askarov is one of the most hyped goalie prospects since the trio of Samsonov, Shesterkin, and Sorokin were coming out of Russia. And he has looked really good in North America, so I think it's time he claimed a full time spot in Nashville. Whether that is in tandem with Juuse Saros or not remains to be seen. I can't imagine the Preds giving up one of the top 10 goalies in the league, but with Askarov on the rise and Saros' contract dwindling, it could be time to cash in a big return. I don't know much about the rest of the goalies in the Preds system, but I'd imagine they'll need to either bring back Lankinen/Grosenick, or sign some depth in the offseason. I think the Preds and Oilers swing a huge trade to send Saros to Edmonton, and the Preds get Skinner in return to create a youthful duo in the crease in Nashville.

PREDICTION: Askarov backed up by Skinner, Grosenick as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Askarov gets 5 shutouts as a rookie

NEW JERSEY DEVILS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Jake Allen
- Minors/Loaned - Isaac Poulter, Tyler Brennan
UFA
- Kaapo Kahkonen, Kieth kinkaid, Erik Kallgren
RFA
- Akira Schmid, Nico Daws
UNSIGNED
- Jakub Malek

The Devils goaltending situation has been rough at best since the early days of Cory Schneider in Jersey. Allen is a good platoon goalie, but the Devils need to find themselves a number one goalie. Schmid and Daws didn't take the step this past season that was expected of them, and Khakonen just was not an answer at all. I really like Nico Daws and think he could be an NHL goalie, but it's clear he still needs some work in the AHL. Malek is a decent prospect, although I don't think he'll be anything more than a backup one day. The Devils have been linked to Markstrom for over a year now, I'd be surprised if something didn't get done this summer to bring him to Newark.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Markstrom backed up by Allen, Daws as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: The Devils go back to the playoffs and Markstrom has a great year

NEW YORK ISLANDERS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Ilya Sorokin, Semyon Varlamov
- Minors/Loaned - Jakub Skarek, Tristan Lennox, Henrik Tikkanen
UFA
- Ken Appleby

Sorokin and Varlamov form one of the best tandems in the league... when they are both playing how they are capable of. Sorokin was off towards the end of the year, and lost his starting job to Varlamov in the playoffs. He's too good of a goalie for that to be the norm, but it is a little concerning. As far as the depth in the organization, Skarek and Lennox provide some good young depth, especially Lennox, I'm a big fan of his. But if one of the big two goes down, there is not a lot of experience behind them, which could be concerning. Ultimately I think Sorokin will right the ship, but if he doesn't, things could go south quickly on the Island.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Sorokin backed up by Varlamov, Lennox as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Sorokin finishes top 5 in Vezina voting.

NEW YORK RANGERS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Igor Shesterkin, Jonathan Quick
- Minors/Loaned - Louis Domingue, Dylan Garand, Talyn Boyko, Hugo Ollas
RFA
- Olof Lindbom

Boy, Quick really turned the clock back this year. He looked like early 2010's Jonny Quick, and made a strong case to play more games through the year. Then Shesterkin became Shesterkin again and all was good in Rangerland. The net is set for next year, and Dylan Garand is a nice, young depth piece to have. Louis Domingue provides experienced, decent depth goaltending in a pinch. Overall, not much to say here as it's a good situation in the big apple.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Shesterkin backed up by Quick, Garand as third string - SEASON PREDICTIONS: Shesty wins the Vezina

OTTAWA SENATORS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Joonas Korpisalo, Anton Forsberg
- Minors/Loaned - Leevi Merilainen
RFA
- Mads Sogaard, Kevin Mandolese
UNSIGNED
- Kevin Reidler, Vladimir Nikitin

This tandem stunk last year. No way around it, they were really bad. Both goalies have shown in the past they can be great, but it's hard to see that right now. Forsberg at least only has the one year left, but Korpisalo is locked in for the forseeable future. The good news is Sogaard and Mandolese have looked good in their development, with Sogaard looking to be the answer down the road. I have a hunch that the Sens are going to try and swap Korpisalo for another goalie on a questionable contract, it's just a matter of which one and what goes along with it. In the end, I don't think they'll be able to get anything done this summer, and they'll bury Forsberg in Belleville.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Korpisalo backed up by Sogaard, Forsberg as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Sogaard starts 8 of the last 10 games of the season

PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Sam Ersson, Ivan Fedotov
- Minors/Loaned - Cal Peterson, Aleksei Kolosov, Carson Bjarnason
UFA
- Felix Sandstrom
UNSIGNED
- Yegor Zavragin

Sam Ersson was unbelievably admirable this season, getting thrust into the fire well before he should have due to unforeseen circumstances (Carter Hart, and others, being an absolute douchebag.) He showed he can hang in the NHL, and kept the Flyers in a playoff push until the last game of the year. Fedotov has been through a lot the last couple of years, and might still be adjusting to his new life before the season starts. But I would bet on him being an above average NHL goalie by seasons end. Petersen is a wild case of a goalie getting a payday, and just dropping off the face of the earth. I watched him against Hershey in the Calder Cup playoffs a few weeks ago, and he wasn't awful, but he didn't stand out the way an NHL goaltender would in that league. I'm not too knowledgeable on Kolosov and Bjarnason, but Zavragin is definitely a nice piece to have in the system. Overall, I think the future in net lies with Ersson and Fedotov.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Fedotov backed up by Ersson, Petersen as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Fedotov settles in, and he and Ersson become a top half tandem in the league

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Tristan Jarry
- Minors/Loaned - Joel Blomqvist, Filip Larsson, Taylor Gauthier
UFA
- Alex Nedelkjovic, Ludovic Waeber
UNSIGNED
- Sergei Murashov

I don't know what you do with Jarry. He can be a good goalie for stretches at a time, and then will lay a month long goose egg. I saw him play in Pittsburgh against the Rangers back in March and he got pulled. Nedelkjovic won the starting spot by seasons end, and I would bet on him being back with the team. It's not a bad one-two between the pipes, but for a team looking to compete in Crosbys last few years, it could be quite a bit better. Blomqvist and Larsson are nice pieces to have in the system. I think Blomqvist will be NHL ready by 2026, and he'll be a solid goalie in Pittsburgh. I don't know much about Gauthier and Murashov. All in all, I think Dubas shops Jarry this offseason, but nothing jumps out and he runs back the tandem of him and Ned.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Jarry backed up by Nedelkjovic, Blomqvist as third string SEASON PREDICTION: Jarry falls out of favor and gets shopped at the deadline

SAN JOSE SHARKS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - MacKenzie Blackwood, Vitek Vanecek
- Minors/Loaned - Magnus Chrona, Georgi Romanov
UFA
- Devin Cooley, Eetu Makiniemi
UNSIGNED
- Mason Beaupit

The Sharks were awful last year, Blackwood is a platoon goalie at best, and Vanecek is sub-NHL at this point. HOWEVER, the team should improve a little this year, and I actually really like Devin Cooleys game and would like to see him back in the Sharks net at some point next year. Chrona has some real potential; he's big, moves well, is already showing good results at the pro level. Romanov put up pretty unremarkable numbers this season in the ECHL/AHL, but I think he's definitely got some potential as well. No clue about Mason Beaupit. I think one of Blackwood or Vanecek get shopped by the deadline. It's pretty bleak in San Jose, but there's a little bit of hope for the future in net.

OPENING NIGHT ROSTER: Blackwood backed up by Vanecek, Cooley as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Blackwood gets traded, Chrona is the starter by seasons end

SEATTLE KRAKEN
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Joey Daccord, Philipp Grubauer
- Minors/Loaned - Niklas Kokko, Victor Ostman
UFA
- Chris Dreidger, Ales Stezka
UNSIGNED
- Semyon Vyazovoi, Visa Vedenpaa

It pains me to see Grubauer struggling the way he is, considering how big of a role he played in bringing a cup to DC in 2018. But the net in Seattle belongs to Joey Daccord right now. That's your tandem in the NHL, and the disastrous Dreidger contract finally comes off the books this year, leaving prospects Niklas Kokko and Victor Ostman as the teams depth. I'd imagine they'll sign someone else as a third string option, considering Grubauers injury history. Vyazovoi has dominated Russian junior and minor leagues, but has yet to make an impact in the KHL. I don't know much about Vedenpaa. I have the Kraken going out and trying to find a youngish UFA goalie like Khakonen to be the third stringer.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Daccord backed up by Grubauer, Kahkonen as third string - SEASON PREDICTIONS: Daccord records a 25+ win season

ST LOUIS BLUES
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Jordan Binnington, Joel Hofer
- Minors/Loaned - Will Cranley, Vadim Zherenko
RFA
- Colten Ellis

Jordan Binnington, despite the idiotic headcase he can be, is a really good goalie when he's on. When he's not on, he can't stop a beachball. Last year, he played well for 95% of the season, and Hofer did an admirable backup job in his first full NHL stint. This tandem will be just as good next season. Will Cranley has been a sub .900 goalie pretty much everywhere he's played, so I don't think there is much there. Ellis and Zherenko have had a couple good pro years in the ECHL and AHL, with Ellis looking to be the best goalie prospect in the system. Overall, there's not much here besides the two guys on the big club in my opinion. But that can change with one good year from a prospect.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Binnington backed up by Hofer, Ellis as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Binnington ends the year with a save percentage above .920

TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Andrei Vasilevskiy, Jonas Johansson
- Minors/Loaned - Matt Tomkins
RFA
- Hugo Alnefelt
UNSIGNED
- Nick Malik

I'll still take Vasilevskiy over any goalie in the NHL. There is not another goalie in the league that has the gumby-like ability to contort their bodies the way Vasi does. It's insane to watch. The backup position was very questionable this year, although Jonas Johansson went from arguably the worst goalie in the NHL to a respectable backup this year. And Matt Tompkins is a fantastic story. But the Bolts need a real backup to take some of the workload from Vasi. I'd imagine they sign a goalie to battle for the backup spot in camp, and I think Samsonov makes sense to pair with Vasilevskiy. Maybe Sammy gets a little more comfortable with a fellow Russian as his partner. Alnefelt feels like he's been a prospect forever, but I think he's still solid.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Vasilevskiy backed up by Samsonov, Johansson as third string - SEASON PREDICTIONS: Vasilevskiy puts up vintage numbers, rounding out the Vezina voting top 5 with Swayman, Oettinger, Sorokin, and Shesterkin

TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Joseph Woll
- Minors/Loaned - Dennis Hildeby, Vyacheslav Peksa, Artur Akhtiamov
UFA
- Ilya Samsonov, Martin Jones, Matt Murray
RFA
- Kieth Petruzzelli

I'd be really worried as a Leafs fan. Joseph Woll will be coming off a back injury, and behind him the Leafs don't have much. Hildeby is a beast of a human, but he's still young and developing, it may be too early to throw him into what I'd imagine will be a platoon role with Woll. Maybe Martin Jones comes back? We know it won't be Samsonov, which if I can just say, Leafs fans, we tried warning you about him. He had great moments here with the Caps too. But that's what he is. A goalie that can give you good moments, not a goalie that can consistently be good. Peksa and Akhtiamov both have some potential but are at least a couple years away. I think the Leafs nab a goalie in free agency, and I have them getting Stolarz. But, the future in net feels very questionable in Leafland.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTIONS: Woll backed up by Stolarz, Hildeby as third string - SEASON PREDICTIONS: Woll gets hurt again and the Leafs have to lean on a third string goalie yet again (not wishing injury on anybody, just a prediction)

UTAH HOCKEY CLUB
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Karel Vejmelka, Connor Ingram
- Minors/Loaned - Anson Thornton
UFA
- Matt Vallaita
UNSIGNED
- Michael Hrabal, Rasmus Korhonen, Melker Thelin, Carsen Musser

Vejmelka and Ingram is a great platoon tandem. Do I think it's a Stanley Cup winning duo? Probably not, but that's not what Utah needs right now. Both goalies can start for long stretches if needed. and they'll be a great duo to watch for the new fans in Utah. Thornton is pretty meh in the minors, but I really like Hrabal and Korhonen. Hrabal really stood out in his World Juniors appearance for Czechia, and he makes up for his somewhat smaller frame with quick feet and fast hands. I like Korhonen as well. He doesn't have quite the resume that Hrabal has already, but he's athletic and has plenty of room to grow. I think Utah grabs Comrie as a depth option as well, as he'll be younger than most free agent goalies, and cheap too.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Ingram backed up by Vejmelka, Comrie as third string - SEASON PREDICTIONS: Both goalies end the year with a save percentage above .905

VANCOUVER CANUCKS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Thatcher Demko
- Minors/Loaned - Nikita Tolopilo, Ty Young
UFA
- Casey DeSmith, Zach Sawchenko
RFA
- Arturs Silovs
UNSIGNED PROSPECTS
- Juha Jatkola, Ethan Haider

Thatcher Demko is an absolute stud. As long as he is under contract, the starters position is covered. Casey DeSmith played really well as Demkos backup this year, but the emergence of Silovs in the playoffs this year has made it a lot easier to let DeSmith walk. I wasn't a big believer in Silovs but he really proved me wrong this year. As long as he can continue to develop, Silovs could have a starting role in the NHL locked up within the next two to three years. Tolopilo was pretty solid in his first year in North America, and Ty Young is steadily progressing in Prince George, so there's also the potential in the system as well. The overall situation between the pipes in Vancouver looks really good.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Demko backed up by Silovs, Tolopilo as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Demko is on track to have a Vezina caliber season before an injury derails it (again, not wishing injury on a player, just a prediction.)

VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Adin Hill, logan Thompson
- Minors/Loaned - Jesper Vikman, Carl Lindbom
UFA
- Jiri Patera
RFA
- Isaiah Saville
UNSIGNED PROSPECTS
- Cameron Whitehead
LTIR
- Robin Lehner

Hill and Thompson make up a fantastic duo in the NHL. The problem with both of them is health. They've both missed significant time the last couple years. Thompson is on a sweetheart deal, making less than league minimum. When Hill is healthy, he's worth every penny of the 5 million a year he makes. Jiri Patera has proved he can be a decent third option, and might be ready to step in at backup next year given that Thompson will be due for a significant raise. Isaiah Saville is a fantastic story who struggled a bit in Henderson this season, but still shows flashes of potential. Vikman is a decent prospect, but I'm extremely high on Carl Lindbom. The guy has been shutting down the best players in Sweden for 4 years now, and I'm afraid the Golden Knights might have found an absolute gem at #222 of the 2021 draft. The future of goaltending in the Sin City is very bright.

OPENING NIGHT ROSTER: Hill backed up by Thompson, Patera as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Thompson claims the starters role outright after the deadline

WASHINGTON CAPITALS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Charlie Lindgren, Darcy Kuemper
- Minors/Loaned - Hunter Shepard, Clay Stevenson, Garin Bjorklund
RFA
- Mitchell Gibson
UNSIGNED PROSPECTS
- Antoine Keller, Chase Clark

Okay, these are my boys, so I'm going to ramble a bit here. Good lord, Darcy Kuemper. Even halfway through this season, I was one of the few still clinging onto hope that Kuemper could figure it out and turn it around. But man, this guy just needs a change of scenery bad. He has not been good in DC, and the fanbase is letting him know. I feel bad for him, a lot of times you can point to the defense and say "well, he didn't get much help in front of him." And to that I say, "Sure, but after a while, consistently letting in 5 goals on 23 shots is a bit of an issue." The saving grace is the left hand catching, mild-mannered, mustachioed American hero that is Charlie Lindgren. Holy crap man, what can you say about this guy? He and Ovi dragged the Caps kicking and screaming into the playoff race, and kept them there through the end of the season. The only reason the playoff games against the Rangers were even remotely close was because Lindgren played pretty well all 4 games. Going into that offseason, the two goalies I wanted the Caps to target were Jack Campbell (good fing lord) and Charlie Lindgren. I may have missed on Campbell, but boy did I hit on Chuck. In the system, Hunter Shepard has been the best goalie in the AHL for a couple years now. He is 28, so he is what he is at this point, and I don't think his style of play translates well to the speed of the NHL, but he has more than earned a shot at a backup NHL role, and I'd love to see him get a chance somewhere, if not in DC. Gibson and Stevenson appear to be two prospects battling for the future between the pipes. Stevenson just put up one of the best rookie seasons for a goalie in AHL history, and Gibson has been great at pretty much every level he's played at, getting the call to be the Caps black ace goalie in the playoffs this year, jumping both Bears goalies (may have also been due to the Bears Calder Cup chase, but who cares.) Chase Clark and Garin Bjorklund are pretty mid-tier prospects in my opinion. However, Bjorklund responded to my DM after he got drafted and said how excited he was to be a Cap, so we're basically best buds and I'm convinced he's going to be a hall of famer. I really like the French kid they drafted last year, Antoine Keller. Super athletic and has a great work ethic, I'm really pumped to see how he can develop. Overall, besides Kuemper, I absolutely love what's happening in the crease here in DC.

OPENING NIGHT PREDICTION: Lindgren backed up by Kuemper, Shepard as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Lindgren gets 25+ wins and 3+ shutouts

WINNIPEG JETS
UNDER CONTRACT
- NHL - Connor Hellebuyck
UFA
- Laurent Brossoit, Collin Delia
RFA
- Oskari Salminen, Dominic DiVincentiis
UNSIGNED PROSPECTS
- Logan Neaton, Thomas Milic

Hellebuyck is going to win the Vezina, as he should. The guy is a puck stopping machine. Sure, he could've stopped a few more against the Avalanche, but that team just picked the Jets apart, you can't even blame Hellebuyck. Brossoit is a great backup, and I think he may have priced himself out of Winnipeg. He should earn more than just a backup salary. Salminen has struggled since coming over to North America, and DiVincentiis had a down year up in North Bay. But I really like Thomas Milic. He's on the smaller side for goalies, but the kid battles as much as any goalie I've seen. He had a great showing at the World Juniors, and held his own this year in his first year of North American hockey. I don't think it will be too long before Milic is manning the backup role for the Jets. I think they'll bring in a proven backup to replace Brossoit, so I have them signing DeSmith.

OPENING NIGHT ROSTER: Hellebuyck backed up by DeSmith, Milic as third string - SEASON PREDICTION: Hellebuyck goes through a slump until Christmas and then locks it down for the rest of the year.</div></div>

I admire all the work you put in and all the experience you have. You mentioned it’s hard to read the whole thing, and my suggestion would be to edit the post so that each team name is bolded. The Bolded text would break up the text a bit. Again, great work here
Forum: NHLThu. at 12:39 p.m.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>HockeyScotty</b></div><div>I appreciate you expanding on your ideas. Not everyone on here is Canadien so the things you take for granted in Toronto aren't obvious to all of us (ticket prices to games for example).

Hamilton is intriguing because of being in the Greater Toronto Area, and certainly would have a full arena; but it would technically "dilute" the media market and not necessarily increase ratings and media rights to the league. Would Maple Leafs see diminished demand in season tickets, corporate sponsorships, media rights, etc?

Would the Buffalo Sabres?

Each NHL team has to produce a minimum Hockey Related Revenue of $130 million (US), otherwise they are not meeting the HRR target for the cap floor and losing money.
However, the average revenue per team in 2023 was $201,000,000.

For 17,383 seats per game in Hamilton x 41 home games that is $282 per seat per game; or $386 Canadien or $11,563 (US); $15,841 (Canadien) per seat per season.

Certainly Corporate sponsorships and luxury boxes help push the average to make the cheap seats more affordable while still bringing in the revenue.

Buffalo is, and has been for quite a long time, near the bottom of the NHL revenue scale. A "competitor" moving into the area that drives much of their revenue would be met with fierce resistance from them in the NHL governor's meetings; so the "political" support amongst the NHL owners would already be poor.

IMO, the only way Hamilton gets a team is if it is the Buffalo Sabres relocating.

Those economics are also the exact reason why Quebec and even moreso Saskatchewan would not be considered for expansion. The financial struggles in Winnipeg have already put the NHL on notice that small market teams are really vulnerable no matter how passionate their fanbase/community is for hockey. If the "burden" of supporting the team economically comes from the general population within that city then it could be subject to downturns that can never be recovered. If there is a really big corporate base and enough population to overcome ebbs and flows in the "diehard" fanbase then it is more sustainable. If Quebec doubled in population and economy then maybe they would become an option.</div></div>

That’s a lot of interesting information, thanks.
For Buffalo and Hamilton, I knew that Buffalo got a lot of business from Southern Ontario, but I thought that was just because the Sabres organization jacked up their prices to a point where hockeys fans (mostly Leafs fans) from Southern Ontario will readily pay said prices as an alternative to games in Toronto, whereas fans are less eager or unable to buy the tickets.
As for the demand and media environment aspects, I don’t think it would be harmful to the Leafs, but for the reasons mentioned above, it has the potential to be harmful for the Sabres. Instead of MLSE having a virtual monopoly, the Hamilton team would provide some competition to the Leafs. Sure it would cause diminished demand for the Leafs, but it would cause MLSE to either lower prices to compete with Hamilton or continually lose business to Hamilton. I think the lowering prices option would be more likely, more beneficial for the fans, corporations, etc, as well as better for the league overall. MLSE would get some of this added revenue back through revenue sharing.
I agree that small market teams haven’t done well, Winnipeg as you mentioned being one example, but I think Arizona is a better example.
Forum: NHLWed. at 6:14 p.m.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>HockeyScotty</b></div><div>"need to" based on what criteria? How does that increase revenues for the NHL via Hockey Related Revenue and how does that increase the valuation of all NHL franchises (the equity or FMV)?

These are business decisions and there has to be a business based reason to expand. Why do you think those 3 cities increase the business substantially enough?</div></div>

Fair point, I guess I didn’t word that was well as I could have. I chose those 3 cities because they would be my priorities if I was looking at expansion.
Hamilton:
- Has an NHL caliber arena (FirstOntario Centre, formerly Copps Coliseum)
- Has the fans to support an NHL team (as demonstrated by the Leafs outdoor game in Hamilton a few years ago)
- Would provide an alternative to the Leafs in Southern Ontario. As we all know, tickets to Leafs games are ludicrously expensive, the season tickets waiting list is unfathomably long, and corporate suits occupy most of Scotiabank Arena. In fact, there was a more lively pro-Leafs atmosphere in Buffalo than there was in Toronto.
Quebec City:
- Has an NHL-caliber arena (I believe it’s called the Videotron Centre and AHL Laval is playing in it right now)
- Has the fans to support an NHL team (was considered for expansion same year as Vegas)
- Instant marketing opportunities: Not only would they have the built in rivalry with Montreal, but the nostalgia of reviving the Nordiques would only help as well
Saskatchewan:
- Instant trio of geographic rivals: Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg
- As alluded to above, Canadian hockey fans are very passionate about hockey, and instead of having to travel long distances to Edmonton, Calgary, or Winnipeg, Saskatchewan hockey fans could unite behind the team
- In addition, that would leave Canadian teams with 5 in the East and 5 in the West, which is well balanced and would, as <a href="/users/aadoyle" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">@aadoyle</a> said, “fill the map”
Overall:
- NHL would be approximately 1/4 Canadian teams (9 teams would work in 33-39 total, and 10 would work 37-43 total)
- This would be helpful for if the NHL ever wants to make another all-Canadian division for the marketing opportunities, or is forced to be another cross-border lockdown
- I hope this wasn’t too long to read and I’d be interested in any feedback you have in response
Forum: Toronto Maple LeafsMay 14 at 5:21 p.m.
<div class="quote"><div class="quote_t">Quoting: <b>aadoyle</b></div><div>See this is where Bias and not looking at the bigger picture comes in

At the time Kadri was traded people all over the NHL praised the return

Barrie was a offensive weapon with the Avs giving them around 50 points and 10 goals a season and Kerfoot was a 40+ point young C for them. And considering how much Kerfoot influenced this teams bottom 6 and PK and when he left the numbers dropped pretty evident. For Barrie Babcock pretty much almost ruined the guy. Could we have gotten better sure but Kadri had hurt his rep with suspensions and his trade protection didnt help. Sounds like someone else we know minus the suspensions

For Marleau had to move him as Marner was due for a new deal. Maybe could have done it for 2 2nds or 2nd + 3rd but would still have not been cheap

Why would we have traded JVR and Bozak when in 2017-2018 Leafs were having their best season at the time (105 points) and can apply the same to Gardiner to

Like I get it but competing teams dont trade their pending UFA's. Did TBL trade Stamkos?, did NYI trade JT?, did CBJ trade Panarin or CGY Gaudreau?

These are the risks competing teams go through year in and out

The only guys I will agree were Boyle and Plekenic thats it</div></div>

I’d agree with your point, but unless you feel you have a legitimate shot to win the Cup, trade your pending UFAs. However, I find it funny that while 0/4 guys you mentioned were traded, 3/4 left and signed massive deals elsewhere.