Trade Watch: Four Goalies Who Could Help New Year Contenders

Christmas is just around the corner, and there are a number of Contenders in the National Hockey League who might be looking to add a new goaltender to their collection of presents.

The implementation of a salary cap by the league in 2005-2006 has made it more difficult for playoff hopefuls to make a trade in the middle of the season to acquire a talented goaltender.

If you carry out such a move, you will most likely be dealing from a position of weakness, which will allow the opposing teams to choose their pricing.


Moving away from a more established role and keeping that level of form in a new setting while playing behind a new group of defensemen is far simpler to say than it is to do from the point of view of a goaltender.

In a situation like this, the pressure that is placed on a goalie is extremely strong since the spectators are anticipating outcomes that will have an immediate impact on the club.

The goalkeeper market, on the other hand, is beginning to take shape, with a few playoff contenders struggling at the position — either as a result of injury or bad performance – and a few teams carrying three strong netminders.

Just prior to the beginning of the season, Winnipeg re-signed Connor Hellebuyck to a lucrative seven-year agreement, which resulted in the release of a large trade chip.

Since Tony Ferrari mentioned seven affordable goalies to pursue on November 11 as well, some goaltenders have become even more marketable to teams that are struggling with goaltending.

This is because a lot of things have happened since then.

Most notably, the Edmonton Oilers lost their patience with Jack Campbell and placed the 31-year-old player on waivers in the second year of his five-year, $25-million Contenders. This was the worst thing that could have happened to him.


In his first thirteen games of the season, Stuart Skinner had a miserable save percentage of.865, signifying that his early season performance was not much better than average.

The finalist for the Calder Trophy in 2022–2023 has, however, improved since then, as seen by the fact that he has won seven straight starts prior to the team’s loss against the Lightning by a score of 7–4 on Thursday.

Both the Carolina Hurricanes and the New Jersey Devils, two clubs that were anticipated to compete for the title of Metropolitan Division champions this season, have fallen further behind in the postseason picture as a result of problems with their goaltending duties.

Since Frederik Andersen was sidelined with a blood-clotting issue in early November, the Hurricanes’ goaltender pair of Antti Raanta and Pyotr Kochetkov have combined for a save percentage of.879, which is not particularly impressive.

In his second season as the regular goaltender for the Devils, Vitek Vanecek has been a significant letdown.

He has posted a save percentage of.883 and a goals-against average of 3.33 in 18 games.

Although Akira Schmid, who was selected in the fifth round of the 2018 draft, was instrumental in the Devils’ advancement through the first round of the playoffs in 2018, the 23-year-old has not yet regained the form that he displayed in the previous season.

However, waiting too long in the hopes of seeing signs of improvement might carry an element of risk and potentially diminish the prospects of making the playoffs in hockey.

The trade deadline is still nearly three months away.

Following up on the list from November, the following are several goalies who might be interested in being acquired and who could be of assistance to a Contenders:

Jake Allen, Montreal Canadiens


In light of the fact that the Canadiens extended Sam Montembeault to a three-year, $9.450 million Contenders earlier this month, the veteran goalkeeper finds himself in the rumor mill.

Because of this trade, the Habs now have three goaltenders under contract until the year 2025; therefore, something will have to be sacrificed.

Allen’s career stat sheet includes more than 400 games played with a goals-against average of 2.73.

The fact that he is available on a friendly Contenders makes him an appealing choice for teams that have some cap room and are looking for a seasoned goaltender.

This season, Cayden Primeau has seen a plateau in his growth, and there is a possibility that he will be subject to trade discussions.

However, at this stage in his career, the goaltender, who is 24 years old, is still a commodity that has not been adequately demonstrated.

Allen has not been able to win any of his last seven starts for the Habs, but the lack of goal scoring is primarily to blame for this.

Those teams that are looking for a short-term solution, such as Edmonton or Carolina, are probably the best candidates for Allen.

James Reimer, Detroit Red Wings


The Finnish goaltender, who is 27 years old, is faced with the extremely challenging task of preventing pucks from passing through San Jose’s poor blueline.

In spite of the difficulties, Kahkonen has a positive Goals Saved Above Expected of +4.0 over 14 games played so far this season.

After taking into account the fact that the Sharks are at the very bottom of the National Hockey League pecking order, practically every commodity ought to be available for trade.

Kahkonen is a prime trade target right now because he has won four of his previous six games, all of which were played against mostly quality opponents.

He is also potential of making a contribution in the playoffs on this season.

The end of the season will mark the expiration of his Contenders.

With goalkeeper prospects Eetu Makiniemi and Magnus Chrona knocking on the door, there is little need for the Sharks to hold on to the Finnish goaltender who may offer them with a second or third-round draft pick.

The Sharks are now in the process of rebuilding their team.

Karel Vejmelka, Arizona Coyotes


Following an outstanding sophomore season for the Coyotes in 2022-23, the Czech goaltender, who is now 27 years old, recorded career bests in every category recorded during his time with the team.

Since making his debut as an invitee to the development camp over three years ago, Vejmelka has consistently delivered performances for some of the worst squads the Coyotes have ever fielded.

In spite of the fact that Vejmelka began this season as the undisputed No. 1 pitcher in Arizona, his time spent in the mound has decreased in favor of Connor Ingram, who has not only outperformed him but also surpassed him.

It is reasonable to anticipate that Andre Tourigny will continue to ride the hot hand that Ingram has been riding because he has won 11 of the 16 games that he has started in net for the Coyotes.

The process of reconstruction In addition to having the financial capacity to take on a terrible Contenders, the Coyotes are eager to add draft picks to their overall roster.

In order to remove Campbell’s Contenders off their books and address a need at the goaltender position, the Oilers might be willing to spare a draft selection in order to accommodate the situation.


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