What’s the value of an NHL starting goalie?
Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
9 months ago
We have spent a lot of time talking about which goaltenders the Oilers could potentially acquire ahead of the NHL’s Trade Deadline on March 21st. Unlike past years, there actually seems to be a handful of options on the market. Frank Seravalli has five names listed on his Trade Targets article over at Daily Faceoff and there could very well be even more than that made available in the coming weeks.
I’m not here to debate which goalie would be the best fit for the Oilers, but instead, take a look at how much it could potentially cost Oilers GM Ken Holland to go out and get a goalie that can help this team finally go on a playoff run.
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There is not a very long history of impact goaltenders being dealt at the NHL’s trade deadline. I went all the way back to the beginning of the salary cap era to find examples of when legitimate starting goalies were traded for picks or future assets like picks or prospects at or near the deadline. I didn’t find a lot of examples.
I included a pair of deals from recent deadlines that weren’t exactly for “starting goalies” but I think the deals are interesting anyway. I also have included the goalies’ games played as well as their goals-against average and save percentage at the time of the trade.
February 5, 2020
Toronto acquires Jack Campbell (20gp – 2.85/.900) and Kyle Clifford from LA for Trevor Moore, a 2020 3rd round pick, and a conditional 2021 3rd round pick
NOTE: Obviously, Campbell wasn’t acquired to be the starter since the Leafs still had Freddie Andersen but I still thought this deal was interesting enough to include in the group of examples.
February 24, 2020
Vegas acquires Robin Lehner (33gp – 3.01/.918) from Chicago in exchange for Malcolm Subban, Slava Demin, and a 2022 2nd round pick.
NOTE: Similar to Campbell, Lehner wasn’t exactly acquired to be the starter since Vegas had Marc-Andre Fleury. After these two deals, you really have to go back quite some time to find the next example of a legit starter being dealt around the deadline.
February 28. 2014
St. Louis acquires Ryan Miller (40gp – 2.72/.923) and Steve Ott from Buffalo for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a 2015 1st round pick, and a 2016 3rd round pick.
NOTE: Miller was a stud at the time and this was obviously a massive deal. The Blues paid a lot to get him and while he was solid for them in the regular season, the Blues lost out in the first round of the playoffs that year and Miller walked as a free agent.
April 3, 2013
Tampa Bay acquires Ben Bishop (13 gp – 2.45/.922) from Ottawa for Cory Conacher and a 2013 4th round pick.
NOTE: Bishop was just 26-years-old at the time, so this shows what the value of a young, up-and-coming goalie could be at the deadline. Conacher at the time was in his early 20’s and had scored nine goals in 35 games that season.
February 26, 2008
Washington acquires Cristobal Huet (39gp – 2.56/.913) from Montreal in exchange for a 2009 2nd round pick.
NOTE: This is a weird one. The Habs ended up being the top seed in the Eastern Conference that season, but they wanted Carey Price to have the crease. Huet was lights out for Washington in the regular season, but the Caps lost in round one.
March 8, 2006
Edmonton acquires Dwayne Roloson (24gp – 3.00/.910) from Minnesota in exchange for a 2006 1st round pick and a 2007 conditional 3rd round pick.
NOTE: Well, we all know how this one worked out. Roloson had okay numbers with Minnesota but came to Edmonton and led the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Final.
I was actually really surprised to look back and see that not a lot of impact goaltenders get moved around deadline time. Maybe I shouldn’t be that stunned though. Most teams that are serious buyers at the deadline are legit Stanley Cup contenders and most containers usually have a strong starting goalie.
That’s why the Oilers are in a unique spot. They have a good forward group and they should be at the point where they’re trying to go on deep playoff runs. In order for that to happen though, they’ll like need to go bring in a goalie.
I don’t think there is a player on the market this year that is worth a first-round pick. There isn’t a Ryan Miller type of player on the market (with the exception of maybe Marc-Andre Fleury, but he isn’t coming here). So the first-round pick likely won’t have to be used. I think their 2023 2nd or 3rd round pick is likely what the Oilers will have to pay if they want to bring in someone like Braden Holtby or maybe even Ville Husso in St. Louis, although I doubt he’ll be available considering his recent play.
Anton Forsberg shouldn’t cost that much. Maybe a low-tier prospect and a 4th or 5th round pick. But he doesn’t come with the experience that Holtby does.
There are also the players on the market who would be solutions for this year and down the line. Alexandar Georgiev and maybe even someone like Vitek Vanecek, if the Capitals go out and acquire a veteran, are two names that stand out to me. To get a read on what their value might be, I think we have to look at some more recent trades that have been made involving goalies.
July 17, 2021
San Jose acquired Adin Hill from Arizona in exchange for Josef Korenar and a 2022 2nd round pick.
NOTE: At just 25-years-old, Hill had a good amount of NHL experience when the Sharks acquired him and has put up good numbers in his first year with the team. This value lines up with what I think the Rangers could get for Georgiev.
July 22, 2021
Detroit acquired Alex Nedeljkovic from Carolina in exchange for Jonathan Bernier and a 2021 3rd round pick.
NOTE: The Canes got fleeced on this deal in my opinion. Giving up Nedejkovic for basically just a 3rd round pick is crazy. The guy was a Calder Trophy finalist! The Oilers honestly should have been pushing hard to make a deal like this over the summer.
July 28, 2021
Washington acquires Vitek Vanecek from Seattle in exchange for a 2023 2nd round pick.
NOTE: After losing him in the expansion draft, the Capitals simply re-acquired the 26-year-old a few weeks later. The Kraken had signed Philip Grubauer and simply didn’t have a need for Vanecek anymore. If he was worth a second-round pick a few months ago, then I would imagine that’s what his value still is now.
July 28, 2021
Calgary acquires Daniel Vladar from Boston in exchange for a 2022 3rd round pick.
NOTE: The fact that Detroit got Nedeljkovic for the same price that Calgary paid for Vladar is insane. Vladar has been good this year for the Flames though.
So the recent prices paid for a good, young goalie basically line up with the historic prices for impact goaltenders at the deadline. If the team wants a star-level goalie, then they should be prepared to move the first-round pick. If they want a solid goalie with the potential to be a number one, then the second-round pick and potentially another asset is likely going to be the asking price.
On top of that, they would likely have to pay a bit of a premium to include the Mikko Koskinen contract in the deal or offload him to another team. In the case of Holtby or Forsberg, they could squeeze either one of those two in without moving out Koskinen, but it would involve a little bit of cap gymnastics to make it happen.
The Oilers should be going all-in at the deadline and in my opinion, that means getting a defenseman and a goalie. The goalie should cost next year’s second-round pick and if that’s the case, then they should have enough assets to go out and get a solid shutdown defenseman as well.
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