Ranking the Goaltenders Available

So the Osgood decision will happen by Monday or Tuesday.  I can’t tell if Holland is trying to hint that he’s going to say goodbye to Chris, or if he’s giving Ozzie the choice of coming back, or if he’s really actually undecided.  If it is the end of the line for Ozzie, however, it’s slim pickings for free agent goaltenders.   As a stupid goalie myself, I thought I’d take a look at each tender remaining.

Alex Auld

2010 Team – MTL; Age – 30

Record: 6-2-2 GAA: 2.64 S%: 91.4%

He’s pretty much your standard goaltender, plays a conservative butterfly style and actually has probably been unfairly regulated to only a back-up.   He’s huge, 6-5, and takes up the net well, but isn’t that quick and won’t win many games for you single-handedly.  He’s also certainly well traveled, playing for 8 teams in the past six seasons.  He’s only thirty and now is probably pretty used to being a backup.   He’d push Jimmy, but not too hard.

Chris Note: Turns out Auld was signed by Ottawa.  Uh oops.

Ty Conklin; Age 36
2010 Team – STL
Record: 8-8-4 GAA: 3.22 S%: 88.1%

We remember Conkblock from two years ago, he’s a lightning quick goalie, plays a hybrid style, and has absolutely horrible lateral movement.   Conklin is very flexible vertically, but not as much horizontally (think of being able to do the splits in an old style kick save, with your foot pointing up, as opposed to the splits where both your feet are pointing forward.)  This past season was rough on Conkblock, perhaps because he wasn’t allowed to start in the Winter Classic.  However, the season prior he posted an amazing .921% and was incredible for the Blues, so this past season is either simply an arbitrary blip on his record or a sign that he’s in a downward spiral of his career.  Again, he’d push Jimmy, but won’t take over his spot as number one.

Ray Emery; Age 28
2010 Team – ANH
Record:  7-2-0 GAA: 2.28 S%: 92.8

Emery’s comeback story was pretty amazing last season.  After being basically banished from the NHL, he returned to the Ducks last year and went on a tear in the regular season, winning 7 games out of 9.  However, I think this was simply a fluke (and his playoff stats seem to prove my point).  Watching him, his skills simply aren’t up to par.  He’s incredibly slow laterally and his flexibility is weak as well.  His positioning is all that he’s got left and that’s not even great.  Combined with his previous attitude issues, which could be gone now, it’s just not something I’d be interested in—even for the minimum salary.

Pascal Leclaire; Age 28
2010 Team – Ottawa
Record: 4-7-1 GAA: 2.83 S% 90.8

Leclaire is interesting.  He’s a quick goaltender who just three years ago was a 2nd team league all-star.  Three years past, and now he’s a “has been” who spent most of last season on the IR with a hip injury.  He’s an extremely quick goaltender, and his game is again much more of a hybrid style than the standard pro-fly styles of today (think M.A. Fleury, Jimmah).  His upside is high, but if his hip isn’t what it was, then he might be a shell of his former self.  He could push Jimmah for the number one spot, or he could be a complete failure.

Marty Turco; Age 36
2010 Team – Blackhawks
Record: 11-11-3 GAA: 3.02  S%: 89.7

Michigan boy Marty Turco is another very interesting candidate.  He seems like a great guy, hates Pierre McGuire, and would be a great veteran to mentor Jimmah a little bit, without pushing him too hard.   Plus he’d be playing FOR the Wings, instead of being our whipping boy like he’s been for the past, oh, ten or so years.  Turco plays a very strange style, he’s very fluid, but in a vertical sense.   What I mean by that is that he is flexible, does not play a pro-fly style game, rather he jumps around and makes top-up kick saves often, and can end up backwards to the play at times.  This means that he is going to make save he shouldn’t, but he’s going to miss ones occasionally that no goalie should ever miss either.   Oh, did I mention he’s the best puck handler in the league? He’d push Jimmy, but his time as a starter is over. 

Conclusion: So which would I pick?  I think if Ozzie is 100% and dedicated to this season, I would pick the Wizard of Oz.  I don’t think one goaltender stands FAR out from the rest here, and Osgood’s intangibles are a huge plus.

If it isn’t Osgood, then I think I would pick Turco.  Now, admittedly, I like the guy and always have.  But I like the idea of having a veteran behind Howard who’s been there before.  Not a single other guy has really been a stud for his career.   But I’d be comfortable with any of the goaltenders available with the exception of Emery, as each goaltender has his plusses or minus.

Then again, I still think that Detroit should land the Monster in a trade from Toronto.  McCullum and a 4th for Gustavsson?  Done 100% of the time.