Since the season ended and free agency began, teams have been on the move setting up goalie depth for their organizations. At this point, I think we can get a good idea of who may be between the pipes for many of the AHL teams.

Still, some parent clubs have signed so many goalies, there are sure to be some good battles for both the NHL and AHL spots around the league. On the flip side, several quality goaltenders at all levels of the game remain unsigned, from NHLer Marty Biron to AHL journeyman Nolan Schaefer.

Bridgeport Sound Tigers (NY Islanders)

  • Having drafted AHL-eligible Finnish goalie Mikko Koskinen in June, the Islanders have options in Bridgeport. Koskinen, Scott Munroe and Nathan Lawson will likely vie for the two goaltending spots in Bridgeport.
  • Here’s a goalie wrap-up from Islanders prospect camp.

Manitoba Moose (Vancouver)

  • The Canucks off-season goalie moves were intriguing to start, with AHL Goalie of the Year Cory Schneider unsure of which way the puck might bounce for him, in spite of the general consensus that he’s proven all he can in the AHL and is due for the back-up job in Vancouver.
  • Vancouver GM Mike Gillis threw a curve ball, however, when he signed Andrew Raycroft, leading many to guess Schneider would be traded. However, the GM says the ginger-haired goalie will compete for the #2 spot behind Luongo, possibly sending Raycroft and his half-million dollar contract to play in Manitoba.

Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit)

  • With Ty Conklin heading to St. Louis, Jimmy Howard looks to move up into the back-up role behind Chris Osgood. This leaves  Daniel Larsson, 2008 first round draft pick Thomas McCollum,  and April signing Jordan Pearce to compete for the reigns in Grand Rapids.
  • More on McCollum and Pearce’s battle for the #2 spot in Grand Rapids. This could be an interesting situation to watch this season as the Red Wings look to promote from within when it comes to goaltending.

Hershey Bears (Washington)

  • Michal Neuvirth had a Cinderella season in Hershey. Here’s a look back at the Hershey Bears’ season between the pipes.
  • The Caps did not qualify Daren Machesney, which likely leaves Neuvirth and Braden Holtby between the pipes for Hershey next season.
  • Holtby is tweeting during prospects camp this week @washcaps and here’s some video from camp. Holtby comes in about halfway through. You gotta love a kid with chocolate bars painted on his mask.
  • From one blogger who attended camp:  “Speaking of Holtby, this has been a different goaltender from the year before. Last summer, the then 19 year old looked a bit out wide eyed and tentative. You could see the potential he had. This summer, it’s plain to see how much he has grown. Not only has he filled out his pads, but he is making smarter decisions with the puck. He is calm and collected and he came up with some very solid saves through out the two hour session. He did have some trouble going side to side and challenging a bit, but it’s easy to see that Holtby could be in chocolate brown next season.”

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (Pittsburgh)

  • Brad Thiessen, who was signed by the Penguins just in time to share in their Stanley Cup run, will likely be assigned to WBS in the fall for his first pro season.
  • Be sure and check out Thiessen’s blog.

Peoria Rivermen (St. Louis)

  • With Chris Mason and Conklin lined up to man the pipes for the Blues, Ben Bishop is expected to get lots of seasoning in Peoria. The team also qualified last season’s back-up in Peoria, Chris Holt, who will likely share time with Bishop.

Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville)

  • Mark Dekanich, who is staying in Nashville to train this summer, looks to share time in Milwaukee with 2008 draft pick Chet Pickard.

Chicago Wolves (Atlanta)

  • The Thrashers organization has a wealth of quality goalies in the wake of a free agency that saw them sign both Drew MacIntyre, who was one of the best goalies in the AHL last season for Milwaukee, and Peter Mannino, who played for Bridgeport in his first pro season last year.
  • The organization has Kari Lehtonen, Johan Hedberg, and Ondrej Pavelec in line for NHL spots, leading many to believe the team will end up trading one of the 5 goalies sometime this summer.

Albany River Rats (Carolina)

  • The Hurricanes re-signed Justin Peters to a one year, two-way contract after the goalie earned the #1 spot in Albany last season in his third year with the organization.

Texas Stars (Dallas)

  • With the signing of Alex Auld to back up Marty Turco, goalies Matt Climie, Richard Bachman, and Brent Krahn will duke it out for the two spots in Austin in the fall.

Providence Bruins (Boston)

  • It appears the Bruins intend for Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask to carry the reigns in Boston and have signed Dany Sabourin to lead the charge between the pipes in Providence.
  • Kevin Regan and Matt Dalton seem likely to compete for the #2 spot in Providence.

Toronto Marlies (Toronto)

  • Amid speculation that Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke might look to move on with other goaltenders, Justin Pogge was made a qualifying offer by the organization. With the hiring of Francois Allaire as the Leafs goalie coach, perhaps Pogge gets a new life between the pipes.
  • With Vesa Toskala and Jonas Gustavsson slated for the top two spots, Pogge may have to beat out James Reimer for the #1 spot with the Marlies.

Hartford Wolfpack (NY Rangers)

Those are the moves that have made headlines thus far in off-season. I’ll be back with with a more definitive list of AHL goalies for each team as the summer wears on and roster firm up.

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One Response to AHL Goalies: Free Agency Shakeout

  1. Kris says:

    Wonder if Fernandez is going to hang up the skates after an injury filled year in Bean Town?

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