History of goaltenders moving at the trade deadline
There has been a lot of discussion about trading goalies since – well – the Hawks signed Robin Lehner it seems.
The main rationale is that this would be an area of strength to deal from and if the Hawks fell out of the playoff race and/or the right opportunity came Bowman's way either Crawford or Lehner could be dealt.
This chatter picked back up after the Maple Leafs acquired Jack Campbell this week.
So, that got me thinking, how many goalies are moved around the deadline?
I went back to the 2016-2017 season to evaluate these trades over the last few years.
I used from February to the trade deadline each year as the criteria. Here we go:
February 26th, 2017 – LA Kings acquire Ben Bishop, 2017 5th rd pick from Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Peter Budaj, Erik Cernak, 2017 7th rd pick, 2017 conditional pick
TC's Take: This was a weird one for the Kings. They were out of playoff reach, yet still acquired Bishop. Maybe they thought they could flip him again or that they could move Quick and re-sign Bishop in the summer.
TB does this move to pick up a hot (in playing performance, not looks) goalie with 27 wins in Budaj as their backup. Vasilevskiy was the #1 but maybe they were worried about Bishop's injury history heading into the playoffs.
March 1st, 2017 – Tampa Bay Lightning acquire Mike McKenna in exchange for Adam Wilcox
TC's Take: This was a depth move for TB. McKenna did not play an NHL game for the Lightning but did take their AHL team, the Syracuse Crunch to the finals loss.
February 19th, 2018 – Philadelphia Flyers acquire Petr Mrazek from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for 2018 conditional 4th rd pick, 2019 conditional 3rd rd pick
TC's Take – this move happened just before the NHL trade deadline as PHI was looking to solidify their goaltending. They were rolling with Elliot, Neuvirth and Alex Lyon and due to some injuries (and inconsistencies), Mrazek was scooped up for a couple of draft picks and played 17 regular-season games for PHI. He struggled though with just 6 wins, 3.22 GAA and a .891 SV% stat line. This trade was deemed a bust as Mrazek only played 1 playoff game and was a non-factor in the regular season.
There were rumours at this time that Mrazek was not working out in the DET locker room either. The Red Wings were shopping him hard and end up getting something for him.
February 21st, 2018 – LA Kings acquire Scott Wedgewood and Tobias Rieder from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Darcy Kuemper
TC's Take: In retrospect, the 'Yotes made out like bandits in this trade. However, let's try to look at this trade at the time it was made. First off, Kuemper was maybe not as good as he is now at this time… or maybe he was and no one knew it other than ARI. Kuemper through 19 games in LA had a 2.10 GAA and a .932 SV%. Raanta was hurt in ARI and Wedgewood wasn't cutting it, so Kuemper was acquired to come in to weather the storm. While he didn't play that well after being acquired, he has certainly been really solid since.
From LA's side, they had Quick coming back from injury and Jack Campbell in the wings as the backup. They chose to sell high on Kuemper and stick with the Quick/Campbell duo that year.
February 23rd, 2018 – Pittsburgh Penguins acquire Vincent Dunn, Derick Brassard, 2018 3rd rd pick from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Filip Gustavsson, Ian Cole, 2018 1st rd pick, 2019 3rd round pick
TC's take: This was actually a three-team trade with Vegas. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this one though as Gustavsson was a goalie prospect included in a larger deal.
February 12th, 2019 – Vancouver Canucks acquire Marek Mazanec from the New York Rangers in exchange for a 2020 7th rd pick.
TC's Take: Depth move… nothing to see here.
February 16th, 2019 – Philadelphia Flyers acquire Cam Talbot form the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Anthony Stolarz
TC's take: Weird, Flyers looking for goaltending help again? They are good now with Carter Hart, however, last year around this time, they didn't want to throw Hart to the wolves, so they acquired Talbot for veteran help. The Flyers used a remarkable 8 goalies in the 2018-19 season. Talbot didn't work out but he was acquired due to injuries to main tenders Elliott and Neuvirth.
Edmonton was riding Koskinen and wanted to move Talbot off the books. They grabbed a younger Stolarz and gave him a shot in a lost season.
February 25th, 2019 – Columbus Blue Jackets acquire Keith Kinkaid from the New Jersey Devils in exchange for 2022 5th rd pick
TC's Take: Columbus was in search for a veteran depth goaltender as they headed into the playoffs last year. Kinkaid didn't end up playing an NHL game for them though.
February 5th, 2020 – Toronto Maple Leafs acquire Jack Campbell, Kyle Clifford (50% retained salary) from the LA Kings in exchange for Trevor Moore, 2020 conditional 3rd rd pick, 2021 conditional 3rd rd pick
TC's Take: It was no secret that the Leafs needed an upgrade to their back up position. Now, with Anderson out with an injury, GM Kyle Dubas finally pulled the trigger to scoop up Campbell.
LA is out of it and this is the beginning of their sell-off.
There you have it, all of the goalie trades from February on in the last 3 seasons as teams lead up to the NHL TDL.
What should we take away from this?
Well, there have been 9 moves (including the recent TOR/LA trade) including goalies in the past 4 years. That's not a lot especially when you look at half of those were depth moves including goalies that did not make an impact.
In a few scenarios, some injuries played a factor for a team acquiring a bigger name goalie.
Then there is the outlier move with Bishop and Budaj switching area codes, which was just a weird one in my opinion.
Do I think either Corey Crawford or Robin Lehner could be moved before now and February 25th? Sure, anything can happen, I just think it's highly unlikely.
The Hawks would really have to bottom out in the next 8 games to fall far enough out of the playoff race.
If they are still even remotely close to a wild card spot, removing a Lehner or a Crawford from the team would be sending a terrible message not just to the fans, but more importantly to the players inside that dressing room.
Both guys are favourites amongst their teammates and it would be devastating to this team after they have played so well lately to put themselves within striking distance.
Also, I believe Stan and management would rather have both goalies under their roof to help with a plan for next year.
If you get the word that Lehner is testing UFA, then you just re-up Crawford. If you trade Lehner, there's a good chance he tests as he has no obligation to come back to Chicago.
My conclusion/prediction is that I think both goalies stay for the remainder of the season as the Hawks won't sway enough out of the playoffs for there to be any rationale to move either.
Blackhawks take on the Jets in Winnipeg on Sunday. It should be a good one! I'll be on the messages boards to chat about that game.
See ya out there!