The NHL playoff field is down to four, and for most teams the offseason to-do lists are starting to take shape.
Hire a new coach. Finish the general manager search. Which unrestricted free agents stay? Who goes? Find a starting goalie. Sign a reliable backup. Upgrade the goalie position in general.
The Athletic’s free-agent list and trade board are already live with a few goalies making the cut — Frederik Andersen is the top-rated UFA goalie, per Dom Luszczyszyn. And like the 2023 free-agent class in general, the UFA goalies are fine. There is no superstar expected to be on the open market, but some strong players and useful depth are available.
For the purpose of today’s list, we’ve opened up the ranking to restricted free agents as well, to save us from debating whether or not a team should sign Cam Talbot or James Reimer.
So, let’s take a look at which free-agent goalies could be available this summer via free agency, trades — offersheet 👀 — and who might realistically stay put with their current team.
Note: The Athletic’s trade board lists Connor Hellebuyck as one of the top trade candidates of the summer. Given he is not a free agent (yet) he is not on this list. But you can read more about that here:
Current cap hit: $3.5 million
Jarry has been a source of unpredictability in Pittsburgh over the last few seasons.
Jarry was fine in 2020-21 during the regular season — his first year not backing up Matt Murray — and, uh, not very good in the playoffs as the Penguins lost in six games to the Islanders. Then, last season, Jarry was excellent, with a bigger workload (58 games) and a .919 save percentage … and then he missed the first six games of the playoffs because of a broken foot en route to another early exit for the Penguins.
This season, he had a bad start, by his own admission, because he was dealing with an injury. Jarry started to heat up through November and December before he got hurt at the Winter Classic and missed the next three weeks. He came back for two games, got hurt again, and missed another month.
You get the point. Jarry gets hurt. But he’s also been — at the very least — a solid starter for the Penguins. What that means for his upcoming contract is interesting.
Do the lack of true starting goalies on the open market give him more leverage than he might have given his history? Or does the price stay low because he can’t stay healthy?
The Penguins face a difficult decision here, too. Do you bet on Jarry and sign him to the kind of long-term deal he’s likely after? Do you try to sign him to a two-year “prove it” contract, and hope that no other team is going to beat your offer? Do you just let him walk and find a goalie on the open market or via trade?
The Penguins are a win-now team that needs a No. 1 goalie and Jarry might be the best option they have — or one of the top goalies on the open market, injury history or not.
Current cap hit: $4.5 million
Read More: Top 10 NHL free-agent goaltenders to watch this summer 2023-05-23 16:03:04