So it’s being reported that Montreal Canadiens backup goalie Jaroslav Halak is on the trading block.
This isn’t exactly shocking news to anyone who’s followed this team. Halak has been getting all his starts against poor teams (the Thrashers, Islanders and Senators). Carey Price is the #1 goalie, and every time Halak plays well and Price has a sub par game, there’s cries of making Halak the #1 goalie.
Imagine if the Internet was as popular in 1991, with everyone screaming that Andre “Red Light” Racicot should be the #1 goalie instead of Patrick Roy. Nowadays, that sounds like a foolish statement, but people 20 years from now will wonder why Halak was given #1 consideration over future Hall of Famer Carey Price (no pressure though).
Anyways, reports has Montreal wanting a top six forward. With Halak only making $775,000 and being a free agent next summer, there’s a few teams that might be interested in taking a shot at him. If he sucks for them, well, he was a cheap rental (I feel dirty for typing that sentence for some reason).
The way I see it, there’s only five teams that need goaltending help that might take a shot at Halak. Here’s a look at those teams, and what the can offer.
Detroit Red Wings: Chris Osgood hasn’t looked good, and the Wings don’t seem set on making Howard the #1 goalie. So a trade might make a bit of sense. Who they can offer: Valtteri Filppula. The guy is about 25 years old, would add to the European flavour of the team, which general manager Bob Gainey seems to loves. He’s injured, but due back soon. The problem is he makes $3 million a year, so the price tag is a little steep for a Habs team close to the cap. Another option might be Darren Helm. He’s 22 years old, and makes $599,444 (how did they ever arrive at that number). Helm gets lost in the shuffle in Detroit, with so many great forwards there. He’s been great in the playoffs for the Wings the past couple of years, and is also a free agent in the summer, so that might make a bit more sense.
Carolina Hurricanes: With Cam Ward still on the shelf with the leg injury, the Hurricanes might be looking to get a potential #1 for now and a solid backup when Ward returns. The Canes are also looking to shed salary already, as they have the league’s worst record. Might as well make that push for Taylor Hall now, eh boys? Who they can offer: If Gainey calls Jim Rutherford, the Carolina GM, and the words Sergei Samsonov ever comes up, Gainey has our permission to go to Carolina personally to beat down Rutherford with a lacrosse stick. Erik Cole hasn’t been having the greatest season, but has shown he can be a top six forward in the past. But there’s been rumours of Ray Whitney being traded. He’s their leading scorer, so the Habs might need to offer another player or two in return (cough *Kostitsyn brothers *cough).
Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning goalies have looked brutal this year, especially #1 tender Mike Smith, who has more penalty minutes (six) than wins (five). Who they can offer: Not a lot. Unless there’s a major deal involving Vincent Lecavallier, there’s no one on the roster for that the Lightning would trade that could be a top six forward, except for Alex Tanguay. However, the Habs tried that last year, and didn’t resign him in the offseason. Still, that’s the only thing that would make sense, but I don’t see Tampa doing that one.
Atlanta Thrashers: Ondrej Pavelec is the #1 goalie while Kari Lehtonen is on the shelf, and no signs of coming back anytime soon. But Pavelec has been inconsistent. He’ll have a 50-save performanc one game, and then get hauled in the first period the next. His goals against is above 3. Who they can offer: Colby Armstrong or Todd White. Both scored 22 goals last year and both make about $2.4 million. The only difference is Armstrong is a free agent next summer, while White has another year left on his contract after this one.
St. Louis Blues: Chris Mason has looked horrible this year in St. Louis. The Blues aren’t looking to take a step back from their success last season, so they may be in the market for a goalie to help them out. Who they can offer: I’d love to see Paul Kariya on the Habs, but he makes too much money ($6 million), but he is an unrestricted free agent next summer, so the Habs only need to pay for his salary for the rest of this year. He’s also underachieving there with only eight goals and 13 points so far. It would also give the Habs a great first line with Kariya, Plekanec and Cammalleri. More than likely, the Habs would get Keith Tkachuk. Older, also underachieving and an unrestricted free agent next summer, his salary is around $2.5 million.