As NHL goalies and teams prepared for an unprecedented game of musical chairs in free agency on Friday, it’s worth asking whether the participants were asking the right questions about finding the right seat or just worrying about making sure they didn’t get left without.
Sure, the top end of the free agent class got to make some choices based on which teams are offering the most money, term and security in the form of trade and expansion draft protection. Jacob Markstrom got all three from the Flames in the form of a six-year, $36 million contract that included no-movement protection that will keep him in Calgary.
Yes, some goalies in the next tier also got to be somewhat selective when it comes to factors like geography or an opportunity, perceived or real, to win and be the No.1 goalie. Braden Holtby talked about both the chance to move west to be closer to family, and to compete for starts on an up-and-coming Canucks team with championship aspirations after signing a two-year, $8.6 million deal to replace Markstrom in Vancouver. Cam Talbot talked about getting to be the No. 1 goalie after signing for three years and $11 million in Minnesota.
All are important elements, but were any of them worried how they might fit their new team on the ice? Are their strengths being matched to the way a potential new team defends? Could weaknesses be exposed behind a team that gives up the types of chances they struggle with?
Jacob Markstrom was the top of this year’s free agent class, securing a 6-year $36M contract with a no-move clause as he will take the league’s best adjusted numbers to division rival Calgary next season.
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