Guardians’ flood market on day one of NHL free agency


“You see the other names on the goaltending roster coming into this area, so you know there might be some guys with no seats at this point,” the 33-year-old said. “So it’s very scary, very stressful, not just for me, for my wife too. We never know. “This year is different for every player who has become an unrestricted free agent due to the remaining $ 81.5 million NHL salary cap and so many teams are already facing it. But for keepers like Talbot, it was always going to be like a game of musical chairs due to an options market and the fear that supply would exceed demand.

[RELATED: NHL Free Agent Tracker]

The fluidity of this market manifested itself on Friday, with each goalkeeper signing appearing to have an impact on the next.

Talbot signed a three-year, $ 11 million (average annual value of $ 3.67 million) contract with the Minnesota Wild to become their new No.1, replacement Devan Dubnyk, who was traded to the San Jose Sharks on Oct.5.

Last season with the Calgary Flames, Talbot was 12-10-1 with a 2.63 goals-against average and .919 save percentage in 26 games.

“Cam Talbot is our number one goalie,” said Wild general manager Bill Guerin.

Video: Cam Talbot joins Minnesota Wild

The Flames left Talbot on signing a former Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom to a six-year, $ 36 million ($ 6 million AAV) contract, the biggest contract awarded to a goalie in this market.

The 30-year-old finished fourth in voting for the Vezina Trophy as the top goalie in the NHL last season after going 23-16-4 with a GAA of 2.75, save percentage of , 918 and two shutouts in 43 games. Markstrom was 8-6 with a GAA of 2.85 and save percentage of .919 in 14 playoff games.

“It’s been a really long day and a lot of phone calls, listening to some teams,” Markstrom said. “I think Calgary has something really important and I can’t wait to be a part of it.

The Canucks are doing it too after reaching the Western Conference second round last season, but they had already decided to leave Markstrom by the time he signed with the Flames.

Vancouver signed former Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby to a two-year, $ 8.6 million (AAV $ 4.3 million) contract. The 31-year-old, who was 25-14-6 with a GAA of 3.11 and save percentage of 0.897 in 48 games last season, is expected to share the time with Thatcher Demko.

“It’s not an experience that I think is as fun for anyone as not knowing,” said Holtby. ” So [I’m] delighted to be done with and to be part of a great team, a great city. ”

Video: Braden Holtby Joins Vancouver Canucks

The Capitals knew they weren’t going to sign Holtby again by Friday, and they replaced him by signing Henrik Lundqvist to a one-year contract worth $ 1.5 million.

Lundqvist was an unrestricted free agent because the New York Rangers bought out the final season of his seven-year contract. The 38-year-old, who has played 15 seasons and won 459 games with the Rangers, could share the net with Ilya Samsonov in Washington.

“When I was finally in a good position and felt so much gratitude to the Rangers, I was ready to see beyond the next step, beyond not being a Ranger on the ice. Lundqvist said. “As we got closer, I got more and more excited about the different options and I had a very clear guess what was the right thing for me, and that was Washington. ”

Video: Henrik Lundqvist signs with Washington Capitals

Anton Khudobin felt the right option for him was to stay with the Dallas Stars, so he signed a three-year, $ 10 million ($ 3.33 million AAV) contract.

Khudobin was 16-8-4 with a 2.22 GAA and .930 save percentage in 30 regular season games last season. With n ° 1 Ben Bishop unfit to play for most of the playoffs, Khudobin became the Dallas starter and was 14-10-0 with a GAA of 2.69 and save percentage of .917.

GM Jim Nill has made it clear since the Stars lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup final that they want Khudobin back. And although the 34-year-old became an unrestricted free agent, he never wanted to leave Dallas.

“I didn’t want to go there just for money or years, I wanted to go to a team that had a chance to win,” Khudobin said. ” So this is it. This signing here means we still have a chance. ”

Video: Anton Khudobin signs with Dallas Stars

Corey Crawford has also found a new team, agreeing to the terms of a two-year, $ 7.8 million ($ 3.9 million AAV) contract with the New Jersey Devils.

The 35-year-old two-time Stanley Cup champion was available because the Chicago Blackhawks did not re-sign him, relying instead on one or the other Malcolm Subban, Kevin Lankinen or Collin Delia to step up and be their new # 1.

The goalie market, however, is still fluid, filled with options.

The Edmonton Oilers have yet to resolve the situation. They signed Anton Forsberg, a No.3 goalkeeper, has a one-year contract, but general manager Ken Holland said they remain in the market.

Mike Smith, who was with the Oilers last season, is available. So are Thomas Greiss, Cory Schneider, Craig Anderson, Aaron Dell, Ryan Miller and Jimmy Howard.

The Vegas Golden Knights haven’t budged either Marc-André Fleury, who still has two years on his contract ($ 7 million AAV). Vegas re-signed Robin Lehner to a five-year, $ 25 million ($ 5 million AAV) contract on October 3.

Video: Markstrom signs with Calgary Flames

The remaining question is the same one Talbot asked himself on Friday morning.

Will demand meet supply, or will there be fold-free goalkeepers to play?

“With all the goalies and the guys who come from good years, very unstable,” Talbot said of the market. “We are very lucky to have this opportunity [with the Wild]. «


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