This week's Capped covers some thoughts on goalies for the trade deadline.
Trade deadline day is just around the corner. NHL GMs are going to be making tons of bad salary and player decisions, and we’re here to minimize the amount of bad choices that you make! Today we go through some goalie thoughts to help you on your way for this year’s deadline day.
If you’re not looking for goaltending, then check out the articles from the last two weeks to cover the skaters:
Forwards – Here.
Defence – Here.
Annti Raanta (G) – Arizona Coyotes
Cap Hit: $1,000,000 – UFA as of July 1st, 2018
New Projected Cap Hit: $3,750,000*
Raanta is by far the least expensive starter in the league, but by the stats, it doesn’t show. On the season, the 28-year-old Coyote has a GAA of 2.45, and a Sv% of 0.924. Those are both better than league average, and he has been even better of late, posting a 2.02 GAA and 0.940 Sv% over the last 30 days. He is still underappreciated because he is on one of the worst teams in the NHL, so the win numbers aren’t as gaudy as some would like. What this means, is that in leagues where any stats past wins and shutouts are counted, Raanta has some great value, especially at his cap hit.
Next year’s contract shouldn’t break the bank either, and Arizona has to leave the basement eventually (right?). Lots to like from the desert netminder, and there isn’t a less pricy option available. He should be worth ponying up for in a trade to shore up your goaltending for the stretch run. Arizona also has a fairly dense schedule over the next number of weeks, meaning even more volume to look forward to.
The Wednesday night trade seeing the Coyotes acquire (and immediately give an extension to) Darcy Kuemper, means head coach Rick Tocchet has a better backup to sprinkle in for more starts. Raanta is still the de-facto starter, but may see 70% of the available starts the rest of the way as opposed to the 85% he was likely going to get ahead of Wedgewood. This also lessens Raanta’s bargaining power this summer, and may knock 500K off of his next contract with the Coyotes, if he does re-sign in the desert.
The Expensive One
Marc-Andre Fleury (G) – Vegas Golden Knights
Cap Hit: $5,750,000 – UFA as of July 1st, 2019
It still feels weird not to be typing out the Penguins as Marc-Andre Fleury’s current team. However, you would think it would sink in a little easier with how well he has performed in Vegas. He is currently second in the league with a GAA of 2.07 on the season, yet no one is valuing him as a top tier goalie. Anytime you can acquire a top goaltender at less than their full value, you owe it to yourself to try. Kick the tires on Fleury, because he will come cheaper than others like Brayden Holtby and Devan Dubnyk.
Petr Mrazek (G) – Philadelphia Flyers
Cap Hit: $4,000,000 – UFA July 1st, 2018
New Projected Cap Hit: $3,500,000*
I would be remiss not going over the Philadelphia goaltending situation at this point, now that they have three starters under contract for the rest of the season. Monday’s trade for Mrazek was necessitated by incumbents Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth hitting the injured reserve. Mrazek’s value goes up, but only to a point, since no goalie can truly be counted on when they are wearing orange. If you need a starter, you could do worse than Mrazek to close out the season, and he would fill in well for those owners of Elliott/Neuvirth, as long as you have the extra $1.5 million to spare.
Except for maybe Carey Price, there hasn’t been a more mercurial goalie this season. Mrazek, in 18 starts with Detroit, had three shutouts, and four games in which he allowed five or more goals. In 40% of his starts, you are either getting a brick wall, or “shooter tutor” level goaltending, and you have no idea which to expect. This variance is magnified in H2H leagues, where you only get one or two starts from him per week (three now with Philadelphia). Be wary what you are getting yourself into with Mrazek, however he does have the redeeming factor of being on the cheaper end of the starting goalie spectrum, and there’s little commitment with him being a pending RFA. Likely a swing for the desperate GMs out there.
Jake Allen (G) – St. Louis Blues
Cap Hit: $4,350,000 – UFA in July of 2021
Jake Allen has been extremely disappointing thus far, putting up the worst numbers of his career (I don’t count the 0.904 Sv% in 15 games in 2012-2013). His GAA and Sv% are both below league average, his wins pace is down, and even when he wasn’t supposed to be able to get into a goalie controversy with lowly Carter Hutton behind him, Allen did the unthinkable. Although, at this point, a goalie controversy in St. Louis shouldn’t be unthinkable, it should be expected. As a result, those who are considering buying low on the slumping Blues goaltender, don’t.
Allen had been one of the streakiest goalies over the last few seasons, and hasn’t been able to lock down the starter’s position for a full season behind one of the better defence cores in the league. His contract looks appealing, but when the line is so fine between good and bad goaltenders, Allen isn’t worth the risk. As far as buy low options go, there have to be signs that a turnaround is coming, however the numbers just don’t support Allen. Worst of all for him, is that Mike Yeo doesn’t have confidence in him. Until that turns around (next season), he shouldn’t be on your interest list.
*From the projection series Part Five.
That caps off another Thursday. Let me know in the comments who you’re targeting, and why. If you can’t just get your fill on Thursdays, you can find me on twitter any day of the week @alexdmaclean
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