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Top free agent goalies: Bobrovsky on the market

Lehner, Varlamov also among those available

by Jon Lane @JonLaneNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

With the NHL free agent signing period about to begin, there are several teams in need of a starting goalie and in the market for a backup.

NHL.com takes a closer look at the top unrestricted free agent goalies when the market opens:

 

Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets

Bobrovsky helped the Blue Jackets sweep the Presidents' Trophy-winning Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference First Round. He shut down the highest-scoring team in the NHL during the regular season (3.89 goals per game) with a 2.01 goals-against average and .932 save percentage through four games to help Columbus to the first Stanley Cup Playoff series win in its history. 

Bobrovsky, who turns 31 on Sept. 20, is a two-time Vezina Trophy winner (2013, 2017) and the Blue Jackets' all-time leader in wins (213) and shutouts (33). He was 37-24-1 with a 2.58 GAA, a .913 save percentage and an NHL-leading nine shutouts in 62 games (61 starts) this season. 

Undrafted, Bobrovsky signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers on May 6, 2010. He is 255-153-37 with a 2.46 GAA, a .919 save percentage and 33 shutouts in 457 regular-season games (447 starts) with the Flyers and Blue Jackets and 11-18 with a 3.14 GAA and .902 save percentage in 34 NHL playoff games.

Possible landing spots: Florida Panthers, New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Blue Jackets

Video: BOS@CBJ, Gm6: Bobrovsky's big save on 2-on-0 chance

 

Robin Lehner, New York Islanders

Lehner enjoyed a renaissance season for the Islanders with an NHL career-high 25 wins and six shutouts in 46 games (25-13-5) after signing a one-year contract July 4, 2018. He was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, awarded to the goalie voted the best at his position, and won the Masterton Trophy, presented annually to the player voted to best exemplify the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. 

During training camp, Lehner revealed issues with addiction and a previously undiagnosed bipolar disorder. He went on to rank second in save percentage (.930) and third in GAA (2.13) among NHL goalies who played at least 10 games. Lehner, who turns 28 on July 24, and Thomas Greiss won the William M. Jennings Trophy, awarded to the goalies on the team that allowed the fewest goals (196, including five shootout winners) during the regular season.

Lehner started all eight playoff games for New York (4-4, 2.00 GAA, .936 save percentage). He's 97-110-40 with a 2.70 GAA, a .918 save percentage and 14 shutouts in 265 regular-season games (248 starts) with the Islanders, Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators.

Possible landing spots: Hurricanes, Islanders, Blue Jackets, Panthers, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers

Video: CAR@NYI, Gm1: Lehner shuts the door on McKegg

 

Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche

Varlamov was replaced by Philipp Grubauer as the No. 1 goalie for the Avalanche down the stretch and did not play during their run to Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round. He was 20-19-9 with a 2.87 GAA, a .909 save percentage and two shutouts in 49 regular-season starts

The 31-year-old was runner-up for the Vezina Trophy and fourth in Hart Trophy voting as NHL MVP in 2013-14 after going 41-14-6 with a 2.41 GAA, a .927 save percentage and two shutouts for Colorado. Selected by the Washington Capitals in the first round (No. 23) in the 2006 NHL Draft, Varlamov is 213-169-50 with a 2.68 GAA, a .916 save percentage and 25 shutouts in 448 regular-season games (431 starts) with the Capitals and Avalanche. He is 13-13 with a 2.57 GAA, a .915 save percentage and two shutouts in 26 NHL playoff games.

Possible landing spots: Panthers, Islanders, Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, Avalanche, Oilers, Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, San Jose Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs

Video: COL@SJS: Varlamov denies Kane's breakaway bid

 

Petr Mrazek, Carolina Hurricanes

Mrazek was 23-14-3 with a 2.39 GAA, a .914 save percentage and four shutouts while sharing time with Curtis McElhinney before opening the playoffs as the Hurricanes starter. The 27-year-old helped Carolina advance to the Eastern Conference Final but sustained a lower-body injury in Game 2 of the second round against the Islanders. He returned at the start of the conference final against the Boston Bruins but was replaced again by McElhinney for Game 3 after allowing 10 goals on 52 shots in the first two games. He finished 5-5 with a 2.73 GAA, an .894 save percentage and two shutouts in 11 playoff games.

The fifth-round pick (No. 141) of the Detroit Red Wings in the 2010 NHL Draft, Mrazek is 101-78-26 with a 2.61 GAA, a .911 save percentage and 18 shutouts in 223 regular-season games (200 starts) for the Hurricanes, Flyers and Red Wings. He is 9-11 with a 2.37 GAA, a .910 save percentage and five shutouts in 22 NHL playoff games (21 starts).

Possible landing spots: Hurricanes, Oilers, Panthers, Flames, Sharks, Maple Leafs

Video: CAR@BOS, Gm2: Mrazek's incredible save on Krug

 

Curtis McElhinney, Carolina Hurricanes

McElhinney was a revelation for the Hurricanes after he was claimed off waivers from the Maple Leafs on Oct. 2, 2018. The 36-year-old was 20-11-2 with a 2.58 GAA, a .912 save percentage and two shutouts in 33 regular-season games, and 3-2 with a 2.01 GAA and .930 save percentage in five playoff games.

Selected by the Calgary Flames in the sixth round (No. 176) of the 2002 NHL Draft, McElhinney is 82-82-15 with a 2.81 GAA, a .909 save percentage and 10 shutouts in 219 regular-season games (168 starts) with the Hurricanes, Maple Leafs, Blue Jackets, Senators, Ducks, Flames and Phoenix Coyotes.

Possible landing spots: Hurricanes, Oilers, Flames, Sharks, Maple Leafs 

 

Mike Smith, Calgary Flames

Smith split time with David Rittich to help the Flames finish first in the Western Conference (50-25-7). A veteran of 571 NHL games, the 37-year-old went 23-16-2 with a 2.73 GAA, an .898 save percentage and two shutouts in 42 games (40 starts), and 1-4 with a 3.20 GAA, a .917 save percentage and one shutout in Calgary's five-game loss to Colorado in the first round.

Selected by the Dallas Stars in the fifth round (No. 161) of the 2001 NHL Draft, Smith is 243-236-68 with a 2.70 GAA, a .912 save percentage and 38 shutouts with the Flames, Coyotes, Lightning and Stars. He's 11-12 with a 2.17 GAA, a .938 save percentage and four shutouts in 24 NHL playoff games (22 starts).

Possible landing spots: Flames, Oilers, Ducks, Sharks

Video: CGY@COL, Gm4: Smith stuffs Landeskog's shot in close

 

Cam Talbot, Philadelphia Flyers

Acquired by the Flyers in a trade from the Oilers for goalie Anthony Stolarz on Feb. 16, Talbot played four games with Philadelphia, going 1-2-0 with a 3.70 GAA and .881 save percentage. He was a combined 11-17-3 with a 3.40 GAA, an .892 save percentage and one shutout in 35 games (32 starts) this season.

Signed as an undrafted free agent by the New York Rangers on April 30, 2010, Talbot, who turns 32 on July 5, is 138-112-24 with a 2.60 GAA, a .915 save percentage and 20 shutouts in 288 games (278 starts) with the Flyers, Oilers and Rangers. He is 7-7 with a 2.48 GAA, .922 save percentage and two shutouts in 15 NHL playoff games.

Possible landing spots: Flyers, Ducks, Flames, Islanders, Blackhawks

 

Cam Ward, Chicago Blackhawks

A veteran of 701 NHL games, Ward was 16-12-4 with a 3.67 GAA and .897 save percentage in 33 games (29 starts) for the Blackhawks this season after agreeing to a one-year contract July 1, 2018.

The 35-year-old spent his first 13 NHL seasons with Carolina and is the Hurricanes/Hartford Whalers leader in games played (668), wins (318) and shutouts (27). The No. 25 pick in the 2002 NHL Draft was a rookie when he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the 2006 playoffs by going 15-8 with a 2.14 GAA, a .920 save percentage and two shutouts, helping the Hurricanes to a seven-game victory against the Oilers in the Stanley Cup Final. 

Possible landing spots: Flyers, Ducks, Flames, Blackhawks

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