While new general manager Brian MacLellan has made it clear the Capitals’ top priority heading into today’s free agent market [noon, NHL Network] is to land a top-four defenseman [or two], he also must find a quality backup goaltender behind Braden Holtby.
“I think the market’s OK,” Caps goaltending coach Mitch Korn said Monday when asked to evaluate today’s free agent field.
On Monday we took a look at five free-agent defensemen that might interest the Caps and how they might fit into the team’s $12.7 million cap cushion. Today, we’ll take a look at the goaltenders expected to be available when the free-agent curtain rises [click here for the complete list of free agent goalies].
Since the Capitals’ greatest need is bolstering their blue line, don’t be surprised if they wait until Wednesday or Thursday, when the prices fall, to land a backup goalie.
Ht/Wt: 6-1, 210
2013-14 Stats: Vokoun was diagnosed with a blood clot during training camp last season and did not play a single game for the Penguins. However, he finished the season completely healthy and has made it clear he wants to play in the NHL next season.
Scouting report: Vokoun’s last real body of work came in the 2013 playoffs when he replaced Marc-Andre Fleury and went 6-5 in 13 playoff games with a 2.01 GAA and .933 save percentage. He has a long history with Korn from their days in Nashville and seemed to leave Washington on good terms two years ago.
Money matters: Vokoun completed a two-year, $4 million contract with the Capitals and likely would settle for what he made with the Caps two years ago when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract on July 2.
Ht/Wt: 6-2, 220
2013-14 Stats: In 39 games for the Devils, Brodeur went 19-14-6 with a 2.51 GAA and .901 save percentage with three shutouts.
Scouting report: Arguably the best goalie who ever played the game, Brodeur’s game has dipped in recent years, with his save percentage falling from .916 in 2009-10 to .901 in each of his last two seasons. Although he would like a chance to be a No. 1 again, Brodeur likely will need to accept a backup role and serve as a mentor for someone like Holtby.
Money matters: Brodeur made $5 million last season on the back end of a two-year deal with New Jersey. He’d probably settle for half that to come back for one season as a backup.
Ht/Wt: 6-3, 205
2013-14 Stats: In 27 games as a backup to Tuukka Rask, Johnson went 17-4-3 with a 2.10 GAA and .925 save percentage.
Scouting report: Although he has spent his NHL career as a backup some believe Johnson has the physical tools to challenge for a No. 1 job. He took a big step toward that last season by being a capable backup in Boston, where he was overshadowed by Rask.
Money matters: Because of his age, Johnson may be seeking a deal in the four- or five-year range and will want a significant raise on the $600,000 he earned last season. Johnson might be better off taking a one-year deal with a team willing to hand him the No. 1 duties and wait for a bigger payday next summer.
Ht/Wt: 6-1, 210
2013-14 Stats: In 21 games in Carolina, Peters went 7-9-4 with a 2.50 GAA and .919 save percentage and one shutout.
Scouting report: Peters is very athletic and adept at handling the puck around his net, but has battled with inconsistency in the NHL and has a tendency to allow rebounds.
Money matters: Peters made just $550,000 last season and likely is looking for a two-year deal in the neighborhood of $2 million. He may get it, but may need to wait at least a few days.
Ht/Wt: 6-6, 210
2014-14 Stats: In 23 games with Tampa Bay, Lindback went 8-12-2 with a 2.90 GAA and .891 save percentage.
Scouting report: Last season was a major step back for Lindback, who showed lots of promise under Korn in Nashville but did not develop into a reliable No. 1 in Tampa. He is the tallest goalie in the NHL but has a tendency to fight the puck at times.
Money matters: Lindback made $2.2 million last season but will need to prove himself as a starter before landing a big-time contract. If the Capitals are looking for someone who can put some pressure on Holtby, Lindback would be a good choice, especially if they can get him for under $2 million.