The 2018-19 season was the year of the tandem netminder.
The trend of having a 1A/1B situation in net opposed to a 65-game starter has been building for some time now and the merits of this strategy have been a defining aspect of the season. Two of the Vezina Trophy finalists started less than 47 games, as did both goalies in the Stanley Cup Final.
Of the 12 goalies who started at least 55 times this season, five missed the playoffs and only two got past the first round.
The value of load management is working its way into the NHL through the goaltending position. So even if you already have one of the elite netminders in the game, if you don’t have a backup capable of playing 35 games without being a liability, you should be in the goalie market this off-season.
We’ve already looked at seven teams in particular that need at least one, and maybe two, goalies before next season. But who are the goalies those teams could target? That’s our topic for today.
Here we look at a few netminders who potentially could be had, either on the free agent market or via trade.
The biggest, and most expensive, UFA goalie on the market this summer. Bobrovsky is one of the eight goalies who started more than 60 games this season and he’s done that three years in a row now. We all know what he is. Bobrovsky’s regular season track record is impeccable with two Vezina Trophies, and he finally came through with a good playoff performance. The Panthers are most closely linked with Bobrovsky, but the Islanders, Flames and Hurricanes could get in on him, too. Unlike a lot of guys on this list, Bobrovsky isn’t going somewhere to fill a tandem need – he’s going to continue to be a workhorse.