For the first time in a long time, there are not a ton of goaltenders available at this year's NHL Trade Deadline. In year's past, there was always a surplus of available netminders with the acquisition price being way down. This season, a couple of trades have been made so far and not much has gone the other way to obtain proven players.
Goaltender Filip Gustavsson went to the Ottawa Senators and was a throw-in as part of the Derick Brassard trade, two netminders switched teams as the Los Angeles Kings sent Darcy Kuemper to the Arizona Coyotes for Scott Wedgewood and forward Tobias Rieder and perhaps the biggest goalie move was the Flyers who acquired Petr Mrazek from the Red Wings for two conditional picks.
Are there any more deals to come?
Robin Lehner may be the biggest name moved before Monday's deadline as far as goaltenders are concerned but there is also a pretty good chance the Buffalo Sabres aren't ready to part with their backup/starter.
There were rumors the Philadelphia Flyers were interested in Lehner before acquiring Mrazek instead and that means either the asking price for Lehner was too high or the Sabres didn't plan to trade him. Either way, there will be a lot of teams calling about his services and if he can stay healthy, is a potential game-changer for a playoff team that needs depth in net.
He's not had the most consistent of seasons and a number of fans in Buffalo seem willing to run him out of town but he's still a very talented player who could turn things around.
Cam Ward is a proven playoff performer, a grizzled veteran, and a Stanley Cup Championship netminder. He's also playing for a team that on a nightly basis can completely fall apart in front of him.
While he may be getting up there in age, there are likely to be some teams willing to take a shot with him as their "Plan B" if the Carolina Hurricanes fall out of postseason contention. He's in the final year of a contract that is paying him $3.3 million and the chances he'll be back in Carolina next season are slim.
Antti Raanta was supposed to save things a bit in Arizona. He was the pegged successor of Mike Smith and at 28 years old, the future of the Coyotes goaltending. He'd come off a great season with the Rangers, putting together a 16-8-2 record, .922 SP and 2.26 GAA but his 2017-18 season has been less than what people expected.
There have been some questions about whether or not he's a full-time starter and franchise goalie, instead, posting numbers only slightly above league average. The Coyotes are also in sell mode again. There are a lot of teams that might look for a steady netminder and he's an affordable rental at $1 million.
Michael Hutchinson is the property of the Winnipeg Jets but he's been more of a workhorse in the AHL where he's been amazing. He's a bit of a risk when it comes to deciding he's your backup because at the NHL level because he's anything but proven but that may not stop teams in a dire need of an upgrade.
The Jets may not want to move him considering their own depth issues in that position but stranger things have happened.
This is a case of how many chances should one netminder get but Niemi is like a cat in that he's got so many lives you can never rule him out.
He started the season horrendously and was then traded to the Montreal Canadiens where he was actually not bad. Niemi has posted a credible .915 save percentage in eight games with Montreal and the Canadiens would dump him for any sort of draft pick if a team were so inclined. That's the real question here. Are there so few good netminding options available that someone takes a gamble on Niemi being as good as he once was for a few games if called upon?