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Goaltending Options for Top NHL Playoff Contenders

Many playoff contenders need help in the crease, and there's a couple of strong options for NHL teams to consider. Lyle Richardson looks at the best goalies to target at the trade deadline this year.
Semyon Varlamov

The rumor mill was abuzz on Tuesday after Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli reported the Vegas Golden Knights were interested in a reunion with Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. 

Golden Knights GM Kelly McCrimmon quashed that talk but he could seek a goaltender if starter Robin Lehner's upper-body injury proves serious.

Meanwhile, speculation persists that the Washington Capitals could seek an upgrade between the pipes as Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek continue to struggle. In Edmonton, the Oilers are trying to make do with oft-injured Mike Smith, inconsistent Mikko Koivinen and the inexperienced Stuart Skinner.

So who's available to help these three struggling playoff contenders?

Fleury is the best of the bunch but his $7-million cap hit and 10-team no-trade clause are sticking points. The Capitals reportedly attempted to acquire him but it doesn't seem likely to happen.

Semyon Varlamov has surfaced as a trade candidate as Ilya Sorokin settles in as the New York Islanders' starting goaltender. The 33-year-old missed the start of the season to injury and is currently on the COVID protocol list. Cap Friendly indicates he carries a $5-million cap hit through 2022-23 and a 16-team no-trade list.

Seravalli also reported the Golden Knights had an interest in the New York Rangers' Alexandar Georgiev, who's slated to become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. While the 26-year-old was the subject of off-season trade speculation, the Blueshirts could hang onto him to back up Igor Shesterkin for the remainder of the season.

Other options include Columbus Blue Jackets backup Joonas Korpisalo and Dallas Stars third-stringer Anton Khudobin. Korpisalo is slated to become a UFA this summer while Khudobin has a year remaining on his deal worth $3.3 million. 

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