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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

So long Monster, I truly wish you well

Leafs have Reimer and 3 AHLers in the nets for 2012-2013

In another travesty of epic proportions, more nails were placed in the Allaire and Gustavsson maple coffins tonight as the Leafs were eliminated by 3 half-snapper, top cheddar shots that could have been saved. All 3 goals high on glove side. The problem is Allaire's system emphasizes protecting holes 3,4, and 5, leaving the top corners open. Shooters know this, and have been exploiting the knowledge for months.

So we have James Reimer, currently ranked #3 in my Top 25 Toronto Maple leafs 25 years old or younger, behind only Jake Gardiner (#1) and Phil Kessel (#2). The problem is that of the next 3 guys, Ben Scrivens, Jussi Rynnas (#20) and Mark Owuya (#8), none have played more than a few games in the NHL, and Owuya played most of the year in the ECHL.

Burke now in market for big-time goalie

All 3 of those Leafs prospects need to play at the AHL level or higher next year, and none of them can be guaranteed an NHL spot. This means one of them needs to be traded, and based on 2011-2012, Jussi would be the man on the block. Playing well in his NHL debut tonight likely increased his value so that's good, and the loss will also help us get a better draft pick.

What goalies are available? More than people will tell you about. You see, the free agent names are the ones everyone talks about, and there are many of those:

Goaltenders - 2012 NHL Unrestricted Free Agents
Player2011-12 Team11-12 Cap HitContract Notes
Cristobal HuetChicago Blackhawks$5,625,000
Martin BrodeurNew Jersey Devils$5,200,000
Dwayne RolosonTampa Bay Lightning$3,000,000
Antero NiittymakiSan Jose Sharks$2,000,000
Chris MasonWinnipeg Jets$1,850,000
Michael LeightonPhiladelphia Flyers$1,550,000
Dan EllisAnaheim Ducks$1,500,000
Tomas VokounWashington Capitals$1,500,000
Jonas GustavssonToronto Maple Leafs$1,350,000
Johan HedbergNew Jersey Devils$1,250,000
Scott ClemmensenFlorida Panthers$1,200,000
Alex AuldOttawa Senators$1,000,000
Martin BironNew York Rangers$875,000
Johan BacklundPhiladelphia Flyers$800,000
Ty ConklinDetroit Red Wings$750,000
Josh HardingMinnesota Wild$750,000
Andrew RaycroftDallas Stars$650,000
Yann DanisEdmonton Oilers$650,000
Curtis McElhinneyPhoenix Coyotes$625,000
Al MontoyaNew York Islanders$601,000
Ray EmeryChicago Blackhawks$600,000
Curtis SanfordColumbus Blue Jackets$600,000
Brent JohnsonPittsburgh Penguins$600,000
Brian ElliottSt. Louis Blues$600,000Re-signed with the Blues. 2 years, $3.6 million.
Evgeni NabokovNew York Islanders$570,000
Nathan LawsonMontreal Canadiens$550,000
Mike McKennaOttawa Senators$550,000
Drew MacintyreBuffalo Sabres$525,000
David LeggioBuffalo Sabres$525,000
Jason BacashihuaPhiladelphia Flyers$525,000
Scott MunroePittsburgh Penguins$525,000
Matt ClimieVancouver Canucks$525,000
Dany SabourinWashington Capitals$525,000
Peter ManninoWinnipeg Jets$525,000

The Leafs are a big bucks franchise and can also afford to bid on restricted free agent goalies in a sign and trade deal, and to take a high-priced goalie from a team looking to shed salary. Look for a veteran signing, likely from the above list, as that allows us to retain assets. The free agent and Reimer battle for the #1 spot, Scrivens and Owuya beginning 2012-2013 with the Marlies, with one caveat. If Scrivens leads the Marlies to a Calder Cup and is a significant contributor to the cause, he could elevate himself into the mix. He's had 5 victories and 3 shutouts in his last 6 games, so don't count Ben out.

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