Goalies at the Trade Deadline: Part II

Justin Goldman

2012-02-16

Nikolai Khabibulin

Last week, Part I of this four-part series identified some teams that were desperate for a goaltending upgrade. It looks as if that list has stayed relatively the same over the past week; Chicago is still on a downward spiral, Toronto just barely broke a four-game losing streak last night in Edmonton, the Lightning are just 1-1-1 over the past week, and the Blue Jackets are like the lame kids at lunch trying to trade that gross bologna sandwich known as Steve Mason.

 

The only real shift in a team's situation would be with the Avalanche, as J-S Giguere suffered a groin injury in the first period of last night's 3-1 loss to the Canucks. It does not appear to be serious, but I still broke down who they might recall, since Cedrick Desjardins and Trevor Cann are both still injured. *Update – Desjardins is at least healthy enough to have just been recalled by the Avalanche. Thank goodness.


Jimmy Howard is set to return on Sunday against Nashville, so Ken Holland has to make a decision regarding Ty Conklin and Joey MacDonald. My guess is that MacDonald stays – he's earned it, and he's playing well enough to warrant this backup swap. Whether or not the odd man out ends up on the trading block is fodder for the rumor-mongers, but I doubt there's a market for Conklin; he simply hasn't played well enough in his limited chances.

 

With today's segment dedicated to identifying the "perfect fit" for the teams I've mentioned above, remember that Part III of this series (next Thursday) preps us for the deadline by updating all of these potential goalies to be moved. Part IV will then evaluate the carnage from Feb. 27 by projecting the movers' fantasy value for this season and beyond.

 

When it comes to the "perfect fit" goalie, you want to focus on symmetry, cohesiveness, and comfort level. Has the goalie played in a big market before? How are they playing right now, and what is their rhythm like? What experience do they have dealing with the adversity and pressure of being traded to a new team? Does a trade begin a new chapter in a career that still has potential, or is it merely a move born out of desperation?

 

I spoke last week about the confidence factor a GM and head coach has in their goalies, so the best place to start this week continues to be in Chicago, where the urgency to win is the highest. Corey Crawford gets a chance to instill some of that confidence in his bosses as he takes on the Rangers tonight.

 

Do I think he'll have the type of performance worthy of re-injecting some confidence in his coach and teammates? Actually, I do. He's still a dynamic entity in the eyes of the Rangers, so he could play quite well with his back against the wall. But clearly Stan Bowman and Joel Quenneville could have only lost confidence in their current tandem since last week. That being said, I think the "perfect fit" for the Blackhawks right now is still Nikolai Khabibulin.

 

The Bulin Wall has been a Blackhawk before. He knows the pressures of playing in that market. He knows what it is like to be under a Quenneville regime. He's healthy. He can handle a heavy workload at this point in the season. He's cap