The Puck Stops Here: Goaltending in the Western Conference

Jeff Angus






Here is the second of three articles on the goaltending of the 15 Western Conference clubs.  Covered in this article are Dallas, Minnesota, Calgary, Colorado, and St. Louis.



Current Starter: Marty Turco
Current Backup: Mike Smith
Summer Outlook: There have been rumours swirling that the Bruins and a number of teams are after Turco’s services.   After his stellar first round against the Canucks, his playoff questions have all been answered.  His contract is reasonable for a top level goalie, which makes it doubtful that Dallas looks into moving him, even though they believe Smith is almost ready to be a starter in this league.
Prediction: Dallas goes into next season with the same two goalies, and Smith continues his progression into a starter.

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Current Starter: Niklas Backstrom
Current Backup: Josh Harding
Summer Outlook: Manny Fernandez is done in Minnesota; it is just a question of when he is moved.  Backstrom was phenomenal last season and Harding is one of the best young prospects in the world.  The Wild are set in nets for a long time.
Prediction: Fernandez is moved for another roster player and Harding pushes Backstrom right out of camp.

Current Starter: Miikka Kiprusoff
Current Backup: Jamie McLennan
Summer Outlook: Calgary will probably opt for a different backup, and they have a few options within their own system.  Kiprusoff is in a contract year and Calgary has got to lock him up before he hits the open market.
Prediction: Calgary promotes Curtis McElhinney to play 5-10 games backing up Kiprusoff.

Current Starter: Peter Budaj
Current Backup: Jose Theodore
Summer Outlook: Colorado has been trying to move Theodore for the past season, but with his contract that makes it basically impossible.  They won’t make any moves between the pipes this off-season.
Prediction: Budaj firmly cements himself as a legitimate goalie, while Theodore provides inconsistent play behind him.  If the Avalanche had gone with Budaj out of the gate  last season, they would have made the playoffs.

St. Louis
Current Starter: Manny Legace
Current Backup: Jason Bacashihua
Summer Outlook: The Blues may go for a more veteran back up and try and move Bacashihua.  Legace posted terrific numbers after Christmas and look