Apologies for not posting anything over the last couple of days. I haven't slept in days... doing research, interviewing as many people as possible, solving mathematical equations, all to come to one realization that I will share with you all right now. Are you all sitting at the edges of your seats? Are you ready?!
Goalies are voodoo.
This off-season we might see more goalie movement than has been seen in perhaps league history. Below is a list of every noteworthy UFA goaltender this season.
Then you have the RFA goalies who have been included in trade rumours
Lastly, the goalies with term left on their contract but could be traded
For those keeping track at home, that is 23 different goalies that could have new homes before the beginning of next season. Not all of them are going to move and some of them likely won't even have NHL jobs next season. Goalie talk is making the League go crazy and we need to have the discussion right now about small sample sizes.
Let's talk about the man who is going to win the Vezina Trophy for the next 10 years in a row, Thatcher Demko. Or at least that is what the current buzz is making people think.
The 24 year old Demko became a phenomena overnight with 4 brilliant games against the Vegas Golden Knights. The Vegas/Vancouver series should have ended in no more than 5 games but it was solely on the shoulders of Demko that the Canucks were able to force it to a full 7 game series.
The 24 year old Demko, prior to these playoff games had played in 37 NHL games, averaging a total SV% of 0.895%. The most games Demko ever played was this past season where in 27GP the young netminder posted a 0.905%. Through his four playoff games he posted a 0.985SV%.
In less than two weeks the conversation went from Markstrom being assumed to receive a long term contract from the Canucks, to the assumption that they will not even consider bringing him back. With another Expansion Draft looming overhead, there is a good argument to be made for moving on from Markstrom but to put all their faith in a 24 year old who hasn't played 30+ games to be their starter is a risky idea.
Focusing on the Oilers, Mikko Koskinen played 1714:21 last season at even strength. Of the 26 goalies who played at least 1700 minutes last season, Koskinen finished 9th, tied with Ben Bishop and Semyon Varlamov with a SV% of 0.924.
In his 4 playoff games, Koskinen posted a 0.864SV% at 5 on 5. It was a dismal performance but the team as a whole played some of the most uninspired and lackluster hockey that we had seen from that team all year. If I am looking forward for what to expect from Koskinen next season, I am looking at his larger body of work as opposed to the 4 games that occurred after being off for 4 months.
With the plethora of goalies available, it is a buyers market which is good news for the Edmonton Oilers. If say Kyle Dubas is looking too much in return for Fredrick Andersen, a team could turn to the Coyotes for Raanta, the Rangers for Georgiev, or look to free agency. There will be less of a bidding war to raise the price with the amount of options available.
Rumours suggest that Holland has at least spoken to Penguins GM Jim Rutherford about Matt Murray. I like the idea. The 26 year old Murray has played just under 200 games, averaging a 0.914SV%; a number brought down by a poor season in 19/20. The Penguins have never been a defensively dominant team which I like because it shows his numbers are much more on his own merit, as opposed to a goalie like Korpisalo playing on a tight defensive team like the Blue Jackets. I don't think Korpisalo would look nearly as sharp on a team like Edmonton.
These playoffs are going to make some players become far over or undervalued based on a small sample size. Holland should not panic about Koskinen's performance but with the number of upgrades that are available he would be wise to make a move and bring in a valuable asset for pennies on the dollar.
Thanks for reading.