Sunday, July 3, 2011

Goalie Signings of the 2011 Free Agency, Day 1

Mark Dekanich (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Here is a list of all the goalie signings on the first day of becoming free agents along with my reactions to their signings.  These were done in the order the transactions occur so some of my writing and opinions may be reflected in later contracts that were signed.  Also if you click on each goalies name there is a link to the respective team’s press release or more info about the contract. (Note I did not have an internet connection on July 1-2 and was not able to post this until today, but this was written on July 1st)
Josh HardingRe-signs with Wild 1yr $750,000.  He’s only played for Minnesota.  They know him best and he is getting another shot after missing a full year due to injury that occurred in the preseason.
Mathieu Garon2yrs $1.3 million a year with Tampa. His former team was Columbus Blue Jackets.  Solid goalie that can get hot and will play well when called upon by Tampa….another good move by Yzerman…Mike Smith’s day are done in Tampa.
Jose Theodore2yrs $1.5 million a year with Florida, former team Minnesota Wild.  Don’t know why people keep saying he is signed as a backup…he is going to compete with Clemmensen for starts and he played well enough the last two years to be a number one again.  Even though I am a big fan of Clemmensen’s I see Theodore becoming the starter based on experience and skill level.
Mike Smith- Phoenix 2 yrs $4 million, former team Tampa.  Not sure about this one….he was cast off last year by Tampa…He will get a chance to be the starter, but I’m not sure if Smitty or Barbs (Jason LaBarbera) will be able to take over or replace Bryz.
Semyon VarlamovTraded to Colorado for 1st and 2nd round pick. Then signed to a 3yr $8.5 million contract. His former team is Washington. This diva got the money he wanted and got to stay in the NHL, and Colorado extremely overpaid….let’s see if he can perform a full season without injury.
Brian Boucher 2yrs $1.9 million with Carolina. His former team was Philadelphia.  I guess good move for them to have a veteran backup behind Cam Ward…will be able to give him more time off then Justin Peters did…looks like it’s back to the AHL for him…unfortunate because I don’t think he was not given an opportunity to gain experience and not sure if any team is willing to sign Peters to a one way deal.
Peter Budaj2yrs $1.1 and $1.2 million with Montreal, his former team was Colorado. Don’t think it was worth it for Montreal…could have got something similar with more experience and reliability….and not worth it for Budaj…not sure if he can handle the pressure cooker city and might hurt his career to become a starter even more…
Johan HedbergRe-signs with Devils for 1yr $1.25 million.  Good for Moose gets to be where he wants to and family will join him this year…he’s reliable and will continue to perform well for NJ….as a Devils fans I think it’s a bad move, even if I really like Hedberg…my friend put it  pretty well that they will have “two grandpa’s in net” again this season….and both Moose and Marty (Brodeur) could retire after this season, Marty claims he is not signing another contract….we’ll see.  The Devils could end up in a bad spot the next few seasons with no experienced goalie in net or will have to pay a high price for an available goalie…I’m thinking Jonathan Bernier or Cory Schneider.
Alex Auld1yr $1 Million with Ottawa, former team was Montreal. Ok singing I guess for Ottawa….he’s been there before and is back again to backup…should be able to fill in admirably for them, when needed…I’m wondering what powers will come from Auld’s and Anderson’s combined baldness?!? A losing season?
J-S Giguere2yrs $2.5 Million with Colorado, former team Toronto.  Not sure how this will work unless he is healthy, guess Colorado will have special doctors so Giggy and Varly will not be injured this season. 
Brian Elliott1yr two-way deal with St. Louis. $600,000 NHL and $105,000 AHL.  Former team is Colorado.  He still has a lot to prove and will have Ben Bishop challenge him for the backup spot.
Anton Khudobin Re-signed 2yr deal with Boston.  He will take over the backup position once Tim Thomas is gone and challenge Tuukka Rask for ice time.
Curtis Sanford1yr two-way deal with Columbus $600,000 NHL & $250,000 AHL. Former team is Montreal.  Depth signing and will be veteran presence and the AHL starter.
Mark Dekanich1yr $575,000 one way deal with Columbus. Former team is Nashville/Milwaukee (AHL).   Cheers to @Dexshow.  He is an extremely hard working goalie and deserves to be in the show after having two previous outstanding AHL seasons.  With the amount of time and work he puts into his game he has a bright future ahead of him.  Plus he spent a number of seasons working with, (in my opinion) the best goalie coach out there, Mitch Korn and learned a lot from him.
I’m surprised that Tomas Vokoun was not signed yesterday…must be looking for too much money…there is still a few decent goalies out there looking for teams.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

For the Love of the Game or Money

Semyon Varlamov (February 11, 2011 - Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images North America)
Well it has been awhile and I apologize for that…there has been a lot going on in my life and I have not been taking the time for this. 
Since the free agency starts tomorrow I have been thinking about why the hell a guy would leave the league or not sign a contract because he thinks he deserves a lot of money and isn’t getting what he wants…for example, Marty Biron made the choice to play for money a few summers ago and ended up scrambling to sign for a team towards the end of the summer.  This was because he thought he was worth more then he really was worth and held out for a better deal…he ended up as the third goalie for the Islanders.  The next summer (2010) he was the first guy to sign a contract on July 1st.  He signed for less money than he ever has, but secured a spot in the NHL for two more years with the Rangers….he’s playing for the love of the game.
Now let’s look at Semyon Varlamov.  This guy is young, he still has a lot to prove, and is leaning towards signing in the KHL because he thinks he deserves more money (see fellow netminder Michal Neuvirth's contract for the next two years, a similar amount Varlamov might be worth, but he wants more) and playing time.  Wanting more playing time is understandable, but your 23 years old and competing with two guys around your age for playing time and they may have beat you out.  This is beside my point. If your goal is to play in the NHL and you have shown you can play in the league at a young age, why in the hell would you go overseas and play in Europe or Russia for more money?  The odds aren’t in your favor to come back and play in the show, not to mention with the combination of a possible attitude problem…there are just too many good kids coming up.  So if you end up in the KHL Semyon, enjoy your money...the Cap's don't really need you anyway.
It makes me go crazy when guys in the NHL are leaving because they are not making “enough money.”  There are so many guys in the minors and at the lower levels that would give a lot to play just one minute in the NHL…so it is really a bummer when guys complain or do not sign a contract because of money.  Remember why you started playing the game boys.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Eastern Conference Finals

Dwayne Roloson (May 2, 2011 - Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

It’s been far too long between my last post and I apologize for that...I was buried under a finals workload and am proud to say that I will be graduating on Monday from college after the fastest four years of my life...

I have been able to watch games here and there and am really in favor of Dwayne Roloson and the Bolts if that wasn’t made apparent in my last post….I’d love to see Roloson and Tim Thomas play for the Cup as they are both old guys, 41 and 37 respectively, and don’t have many years left.  Here’s a nice Puck Daddy post about both goalies facing each other in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Roloson is going to continue to “get better with age” and perform great this round.  He will help get the Bolts to the Finals and bring the Cup to Tampa again (at least I hope so).  Tim Thomas still has a few more years so he’ll get another shot.

***Be on the lookout this summer I plan on interviewing a few pro goalies hopefully one every other week to keep something going on during the summer. Hope it works out and you will enjoy it.  I’ll be asking for your questions as well when I do these interviews.***

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dwayne Roloson

 Dwayne Roloson (April 14, 2011 - Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images North America) 
Everyone seems to be focusing on Dwayne Roloson’s “perfect record” in elimination games, I could care less.  Roloson could care less too; he knocked on his head (wood) when told by Darren Pang it was “unblemished.”  Roloson has been really good the past three games and has played fairly solid throughout the first round, he is top three in GAA and SP% among goalies. 

I’m a big fan of his “12 hour rule.”  He gives himself 12 hours to think about the previous game and after that is out of his mind, whether it is positive or negative.  I wish I implemented this rule a few times in my competitive career.  It would have helped me in a few games throughout my career.  It definitely helped him rebound in game five after the poor OT game four winner.  Also he has long forgotten about the poor puck handling that lead to the first goal in game six.   
I’m really rooting for “Roli” and the Lightning tonight in game 7 vs Pittsburgh.  Roli seems to be getting better as he is getting older.  He was already planning on playing next year even before he was traded to Tampa.  This year is his “second chance” at winning Lord Stanley.  I think the Oilers would have won the Cup in 2006 if Roloson did not get hurt.  Roloson is going to do everything in his power to give the Lightning a chance to win it all.  At 41 I do not see him playing many more years after this season. 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Déjà Vu Luongo

Roberto Luongo (April 21, 2011 - Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images North America) 

So it seems like Roberto Luongo is turning into a non-playoff goalie again this year.  He has been pulled from the last two games allowing 10 goals in what is equal to playing a game and all of OT in the regular season.  Considering that having a goals against average of 2 is where the best goalies in the league are around, 10 goals in a game is not even going to get you ice time in the ECHL.  As mentioned in my last post he played well in the first game shutting Chicago out and was decent enough in the next two games to get wins.  You have probably seen the picture below; Vince Vaughn isn’t wrong in laughing at Lou and how ridiculous it is that he’s underperforming again in the playoffs.
Chicago has picked their game up in the last two and has challenged Lou and the Canucks; so far it seems as if he is not up to it.  He is a Vezina Finalist this year and I hope he picks his game up.  It will be tough if has or is losing confidence; when you are slumping as a goalie, even when you are doing everything you can and the results are not what you want, it is tough to be on top of your game.  Hopefully, his past experience will help him turn things around and pull himself together (even if I am routing for the Hawks). Unfortunately we may be seeing the usual Luongo in the playoffs, the guy who cannot get his team to the Finals. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Playoff Update

Brian Boucher(R) prepares to replace Sergei Bobrovsky(L) earlier this season as he will take over for the Flyers tonight (December 19, 2010 - Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images North America)
The goalie issue in Philadelphia continues………Due to Sergei Bobrovsky’s poor play in game two of the playoffs (3 goals on 7 shots in 12:30 minutes) he will not start tonight.  And it’s suspected  "Bobs" will watch the game from the stands tonight, I didn’t think his leash was that short, and Michael Leighton will dress as the backup tonight as well.  The Flyers are going to start Brian Boucher.  He deserves to start after salvaging a win out of game 2.  He also has the experience and will hopefully create some stability in net for the Flyers. 
So after watching parts of the first few games of the first round I am impressed with Jimmy Howard and Pekka Rinne.  These guys, even though they have not been challenged all game each game, they have come up big for their teams.  Also I’m starting to question Roberto Luongo after posting a shutout in the first game of the series.
I’m not impressed with Tim Thomas either….he should be playing at a much higher level, granted he isn’t getting the best help from his teammates.   But as this article suggests his rebound control is not that great right now, I agree, and that has led to a few timely goals for the Canadians….

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

King Henrik

Henrik Lundqvist (March 21, 2011 - Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America)

Henrik Lundqvist is going to have a lot of pressure to get the Rangers past the Caps in the first round.  He has been a pretty solid goalie so far in his career, he’s had six straight 30 plus win seasons and received Vezina nominations his first three years in the NHL, but he has yet to prove himself in the postseason.  As much as I hate the Rangers, I have a lot of respect for Lundqvist and his abilities as a great goalie, but he has only helped the Rangers make it to the second round of the playoffs twice in four trips to the postseason and has failed to make it any further.  Also, he has only been able to win 3 games in the second round…
King Henrik is a franchise goalie and has the ability to get the Rangers past the Capitals.  I can see this first round series going 7 games as it did in 2009 against the Caps.  Lundqvist can make the series outcome different this year.  Henrik has 2 shutouts and has stopped 85 of 89 shots this season against the Capitals.  If Lundqvist plays his game and receives help from his teammates, as much as it pains me to write this, I can see them beating the Caps in the first round.    It will have to be a long series though.  I give the Rangers the advantage because of Lundqvist and since they won the season series 3-1 and outscored the Caps 18 to 5.   If they beat Washington, I can see the Rangers making a run for the Cup.