Updated: Rangers likely looking for insurance in goal for Talbot
According to several sources, the Rangers are likely looking to bring in an NHL capable backup to Cam Talbot. Lyle Richardson mentioned via Mike Halford that Sather maybe viewing several goaltenders as candidates.
[su_quote cite=”THN” url=”https://www.thehockeynews.com/blog/rumor-roundup-bruins-rangers-and-senators-buzz/”]NBC Sports Mike Halford lists Detroit’s Jonas Gustavsson, Anaheim’s Jason LaBarbera and Chicago’s Michael Leighton as trade options. The trio carry affordable one-year deals and can be easily returned to the minors once Lundqvist returns. The Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington speculates Sather might pursue Sabres goalies Jhonas Enroth or Michal Neuvirth. Both are unrestricted free agents in July and it’s believed one of them will be re-signed and the other cut loose this summer. Another option could be Edmonton Oilers netminder Viktor Fasth, who’s also eligible for UFA status at season’s end. While his performance has improved in recent games, the Oilers could try to move him at the trade deadline.[/su_quote]
The Rangers have about 1.5M in cap space to play with and might be able to squeeze in one of these net minders. The decision to not call up a forward to replace Jesper Fast who was lost for 2-3 weeks with a knee sprain is also setting off my “Sather Senses”.
MacKenzie Skapski is a capable netminder in the AHL, but has no NHL experience. He was born a day after the Rangers won the Stanley Cup in 1994, so he could be a lucky charm. However, if Talbot were to suffer an injury of his own, would you trust a 20 year old in net for more than 1 game?
Here’s the skinny on the goalies mentioned:
Jonas Gustavsson: Cap hit – 1.85M, 1-1-1, .908 SV%, 2.30 GAA, Age – 30
Jason LaBarbera: Cap hit – 750k, 2-0-1, .909 SV%, 2.61 GAA, Age – 35
Michael Leighton: Cap hit – 900K, Age -33, playing in the AHL
Jhonas Enroth: Cap hit – 1.25M, 13-20-2, .903 SV%, 3.30 GAA, Age – 26
Michal Neuvirth: Cap hit – 2.5M, 3-14-1, .907 SV%, 3.37 GAA, Age – 26
Viktor Fasth: Cap hit – 2.9M, 5-13-2, .889 SV%, 3.34 GAA, Age – 32
Regardless of availability, I feel we can quickly scratch Neuvirth and Fasth off the list due to heavy cap hits. Leighton would come the cheapest, but if you want an AHL goalie, the Rangers could call up Yann Danis in Hartford.
Jhonas Enroth who is a promising goalie at 26 would likely come at a higher price in assets. Former Blueshirt, Jason LaBarbera might not be such a terrible insurance policy and would come relatively cheap in a trade.
However, the most intriguing name in the bunch is Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson. He makes a little more than the cap space available, yet the cap is calculated by the day so the deal could be made. A draft pick between the 2nd and 5th round would likely be the cost but it does make things a lot more interesting come NHL trade deadline day.
Imagine a healthy Lundqvist, backed by Gustavsson and utilizing a highly regarded Cam Talbot to acquire a key piece to the Rangers Cup Puzzle? It wouldn’t be that crazy a notion with another NHL proven net minder in the fold.
For now, the Rangers will ride Talbot until Lundqvist returns (first or second week of March). The schedule shows the Rangers will basically be playing every other night for the remainder of the season. This is a workload that Talbot is not used to at the NHL level and certainly begs that the Rangers investigate bringing in some insurance.
UPDATE: Not long after this article was published, the Rangers put Lundqvist on IR.
#Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been placed on injured reserve, according to the team's website.
— Seth Rothman (@RothmanHockey) February 10, 2015
This only frees up a roster spot, it does not provide cap relief. Had the Rangers put Lundqvist on LTI (Long Term Injury) they would have gotten some cap relief as well. A player can be put on LTI if they will be out 10 games and/or 24 days.
You have to wonder, since Lundqvist who will be out 3 weeks or more was not put on LTI for the time being.