NHL goalie round leaves 8 teams with new starter in net

Jake Oettinger didn’t have a contract with Dallas for much of the summer, but as a restricted free agent he knew he would play for the Stars this season.

With that certainty in mind, Oettinger watched in fascination as other goaltenders moved around the NHL.

“It’s crazy,” he said. “I’m just a hockey fan too, so it’s fun. I like free agency and all that stuff to see where guys go.

While Oettinger has a No. 1 job at the start of a season for the first time, eight other teams are expected to have new starting goaltenders and 23 veterans are with new teams, just one less than in 2021. It’s the second-biggest consecutive season in off-season hockey. position has been revised across the league.

After Darcy Kuemper backed the Avalanche to the Stanley Cup, they had too many other players to re-sign and not enough salary cap space to bring him back.

Joe Sakic and the front office therefore focused on bringing in a third starter in as many years, trading draft picks to the New York Rangers for Alexandar Georgiev, who backed Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shesterkin the last season.

“Alex, he was a priority for us,” said Sakic, the general manager of the year who is now president of Colorado hockey operations. “He’s a guy who from our scouting to our analytics department we all see a lot of upside. And he’s proven that when he watches and plays a lot of games, that’s when where he is at his best.

Georgiev, who signed a three-year, $10.2 million contract, will split his time with Czech veteran Pavel Francouz, but he’s the clear starter.

Kuemper, 32, too expensive for the Avalanche to retain, signed a five-year, $26.25 million contract with Washington after Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan pledged to change the whole situation of his team in front of the net.

“So obviously you’re starting to get excited for the new chapter, another new adventure,” Kuemper said.

The Capitals have also added Charlie Lindgren as a replacement for Kumeper and are hoping to make another long playoff run after four straight first-round outings since winning the Cup in 2018. Bringing in the keeper who made it most recently n isn’t a bad first step.

“It’s a team that won it recently,” Kuemper said. “And I think we have a good chance of winning here. Once you’ve somehow tasted victory, you want to start over.

Vegas was an unexpected participant in the annual round of goaltenders after Robin Lehner’s hip injury got to the point that a doctor didn’t think he’d be able to get through the season without surgery, which left him in turn knocked out for the season.

That reveal didn’t come until August, a month after the redesign was completed.

“The timing of the injury took away the possibility of being involved in free will or in many ways the commercial market that usually happens around the same time,” general manager Kelly McCrimmon said, adding that the Golden Knights would go. with the tandem Logan Thompson and Laurent Brossoit.

Brossoit missed camp with his own injury, and Vegas acquired San Jose’s Adin Hill as insurance. It’s a bit risky to ride with Thompson and his 20 games of NHL experience, but the front office is very fond of the 25-year-old.

“He made a very good impression in a short sample at the end of last season,” McCrimmon said. “We are really excited and intrigued by his talent, his edge, his competitiveness.”

After a trip to the Western Conference Finals that was a goaltending rollercoaster, the Oilers needed to do something about injured 40-year-old Mike Smith who didn’t expect to be able to play. They added well-traveled Jack Campbell, who had a great and not-so-great playoff run with Toronto.

“Obviously Campbell is helping a lot,” Edmonton captain Connor McDavid said. “That’s not to say I thought the goalkeeper was a problem, but obviously a bit more solid in the long run, I think that’s always a good thing.

Campbell is the Oilers’ long-term goaltender after signing for $25 million over five years backed by Stuart Skinner.

Coming off a fifth straight loss in their first playoff series, the Maple Leafs clawed back most of their core from 60-goal scorer and Hart Trophy winner Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner to captain John Tavares and William Nylander.

But general manager Kyle Dubas shook things up in net by letting Campbell go in free agency, trading Petr Mrazek to Chicago, acquiring Matt Murray from Ottawa and signing Washington reject Ilya Samsonov. Murray, who helped Pittsburgh win back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017, is looking to reinvigorate his career after a tough time with the Senators.

“Whoever we were going to bring in would be a good goaltender,” Toronto defenseman Morgan Rielly said. “We are a good team and have high expectations of ourselves and Murr is exactly that. Two cups and the experience of playing on a very good Pittsburgh team is a great addition.

During their busy offseason, the Senators left Murray and replaced him by acquiring Cam Talbot from Minnesota after the Wild opted not to bring him back with Marc-André Fleury. That seemed like the last real play Ottawa had to face after also acquiring winger Alex DeBrincat and signing veteran forward Claude Giroux.

“It created all this hype and excitement for the season,” captain Brady Tkachuk said.

That excitement took a hit when Talbot was injured during preseason. He is expected to miss at least the first month of the season, leaving the net to Anton Forsberg and Magnus Hellberg.

With Devon Levi opting to spend one more year at Northeastern and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen still needing time to develop in the minors after several injury-shortened seasons, the Sabers fulfilled their goaltending needs by signing Eric Comrie. in free agency and convincing 41-year-old former Craig Anderson to postpone his retirement for at least one more season.

Comrie’, 27, played just 28 NHL games, including a career-high 19 in support of Connor Hellebuyck in Winnipeg last year.

“We really felt all of the work he’s done, the age he is, when you mix it all up, we just feel like he’s in a position in his career where he’s ready to take the next step,” Sabers general manager Kevyn Adams said. . “Now he has to go and win this and prove it.”

Long a long way from winning the Cup three times in six years, the Blackhawks are embarking on a long-term rebuild.

Finished Kevin Lankinen and Collin Delia, replaced by Mrazek and Alex Stalock. Chicago was happy to go from a second-round pick to a first by signing Mrazek out of the Leafs.

“We needed a goaltender, and Petr had a tough year, but we think he’s an NHL-caliber goaltender,” general manager Kyle Davidson said. “We have a guy who can come in and give us strong NHL starts and quality NHL starts.

AP Hockey Writer John Wawrow in Buffalo, New York, contributed. Follow AP Hockey writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

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