Here is a list of six teams likely seeking to upgrade their goaltending, perhaps as early as next Monday's NHL Trade Deadline.
Tough season for Dwayne Roloson. Mathieu Garon has played fairly well. No question Tampa Bay's prime talent is mainly at forward and its Achilles' heel is on the back end. The Lightning need goaltending help as soon as possible -- in the short and long term.
Steve Mason needs to be rebuilt from the head on down. He has too much skill to be struggling like this. But full credit to Curtis Sanford, whose play this season could make him an NHL regular again. Even so, Columbus needs goaltending in a big way. Plus, it has plenty of options available via trade during the season or in the off-season. Consider it a critical piece to the health of this franchise.
Ilya Bryzgalov has struggled mightily this season in every way. He clearly has the ability to turn it around, yet only Father Time knows if -- or when -- he will turn it around. Flyers GM Paul Holmgren was able to escape the Jeff Carter and Mike Richards deals, peddling their hefty contracts to the Blue Jackets and Los Angeles Kings, respectively. Can he do the same with Bryzgalov? Fact is, Sergei Bobrovsky is just 23 years old and Holmgren has built a really good team in front of him. But attention to high-end goaltending and overall consistency on a nightly basis is required.
Both James Reimer and Jonas Gustavsson have received mixed reviews ranging from excellent to pretty good to not good enough. Who'd a thunk J.S. Giguere would wind up playing better than either of them in Denver? Can't say even I saw that coming. Then again, established goalies don't grow on trees at the NHL level.
No question, Corey Crawford has struggled in the playoff push. And though he is neither overly athletic nor a high-end skater, he can play. With his size, I think improved mobility might pay off for him. Although Chicago remains committed to Crawford, Ray Emery's 11-7 record in a backup role might persuade a team in need of a veteran netminder to deal. The question for the Blackhawks is who to bring in? Nikolai Khabibulin of the Oilers perhaps...?
Cam Ward looks to have fully recovered from a lower body injury and is again playing like, well, Cam Ward. Justin Peters has seen limited action (five games) and put in an excellent performance in his last start. However, it might be wisest for Carolina to bring in a proven backup to push Ward and provide valuable points in the standings. Working Ward too hard has put them in a position to miss the playoffs and likely will again.
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