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Top 5 goaltenders available via free agency

by Dan Rosen

Potential unrestricted free agents can begin negotiating terms of contracts with teams on Thursday. They can't sign a contract until noon ET on July 1, when the free agent market opens. is examining the top potential UFAs at each position.

The goaltending market is flush with intrigue because of potential trades that could happen this weekend at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla., where the 2015 NHL Draft, which begins Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports), will be held.

At least three teams and potentially more will be looking to trade goalies, which could have a profound effect on the market for goalies who can become unrestricted free agents on July 1.

The Ottawa Senators likely will trade either Robin Lehner or Craig Anderson. The Vancouver Canucks are expected to move either Jacob Markstrom or Eddie Lack. The New York Rangers might trade backup Cam Talbot.

In addition, the Los Angeles Kings could try to trade backup Martin Jones, who is a restricted free agent. It's not out of the question that the Dallas Stars could try to trade Kari Lehtonen, although his contract may prohibit such a move.

The Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks are definitely in the goalie market, and other teams could follow, depending on the trades. Here are the top five goalies that could be available from the potential trading frenzy at the draft:


Previous cap charge: $800,000

Coming off a season in which he was good enough to become a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, Dubnyk is hoping to get a new contract with the Wild before the market opens July 1. He was acquired by the Wild on Jan. 14 and helped them reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs by going 27-9-2 with a 1.78 goals-against average, .936 save percentage and five shutouts. He said Tuesday he isn't closing any doors if teams call him, but the Wild are his first priority. The Wild have similarly made Dubnyk their first priority, general manager Chuck Fletcher has said.

UPDATE: Dubnyk and the Wild agreed to terms on a six-year contract on June 27. Terms of the deal were not announced, but the Star Tribune reported it was worth $26 million, for an average annual value of $4.33 million.


Previous cap charge: $3.8 million

Niemi's future in San Jose depends on many factors, but general manager Doug Wilson said earlier this month he has not ruled out bringing him back. The Sharks don't have another goalie ready to step in and be the unquestioned No. 1. It's still possible Wilson trades Niemi's negotiating rights if he concludes signing him will not be possible, but for now Niemi is on the Sharks' radar. He was 31-23-7 with a 2.59 GAA and .914 save percentage last season. It was his highest GAA and fewest number of wins in the four seasons in which Niemi has appeared in 60 or more games.

UPDATE: The Stars signed Niemi to a three-year contract Monday. Financial terms were not released, but Sportsnet reported the average annual value was $4.5 million.


Previous cap charge: $2.75 million

Jonas Hiller is signed with the Flames for one more season at $4.5 million, so if Ramo wants a raise, it might be the end of his tenure in Calgary. The Flames also have Joni Ortio, a cheaper option than Ramo at $600,000. If they deem him ready to become the full-time backup to Hiller, it makes Ramo expendable. Jon Gillies, drafted by the Flames in 2012, signed a two-year contract in April, and could be ready to get the bulk of the starts in the American Hockey League. Ramo has been average in Calgary with a 32-24-7 record, a 2.63 GAA and .911 save percentage in two seasons. He was 15-9-3 with a 2.60 GAA and .912 save percentage this season and could be a fit for teams such as the Sabres and Oilers, who won't be looking to overpay goalies but could use a veteran in the net.


Previous cap charge: $2.5 million

The Islanders should be interested in re-signing Neuvirth to be Jaroslav Halak's backup, but it certainly benefits Neuvirth to test his value on the open market to see if there is a team that wants to sign him to be the starter. The Islanders can be patient because they already have Halak entrenched as the starter and it's not a must to sign a backup on July 1. They're paying Halak $4.5 million, so the Islanders also have to determine how high they'd be willing to go on a contract for a backup, and if $2.5 million or more is worth it for Neuvirth, who appeared in five games in New York after getting traded from the Buffalo Sabres and had a 2.94 GAA and .881 save percentage. Neuvirth had a .918 save percentage in 27 games with the Sabres before the trade.


Previous cap charge: $1.25 million

Enroth wants to test his value on the market to see if he could potentially land a starter's job somewhere, even though those are not readily available, except for a few teams. The Stars have Jack Campbell re-signed on a one-year, two-way contract and potentially ready to compete to be the full-time backup (if not starter). It's still possible the Stars try to trade Lehtonen and re-sign Enroth to pair him with Campbell as a cheap goaltending tandem. There are a lot of moving parts here, but Enroth likely will hit the market on July 1 with the potential of returning to Dallas still an option. Enroth was 5-5-0 with a 2.38 GAA and .906 save percentage with Dallas after getting traded from Buffalo. He has never been a full-time No. 1 goaltender.

All salary figures from


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