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NHL Free Agency: Top 11 Goalies on the Market

The NHL's free agent goalie market isn't that strong right now, but there could be some value to be found. Here's a look at the top goaltenders available ahead of July 13.
Darcy Kuemper

With Marc-Andre Fleury signing an extension in Minnesota last week, the NHL's free agent goalie market took a huge hit.

Add in the potential retirement of Braden Holtby due to injuries, and the list of quality goaltenders available this year is a bit thing. Darcy Kuemper and Jack Campbell are the two true starting goaltenders available this year, with Ilya Samsonov -- a surprise after not getting a qualifying offer on Monday from Washington -- being an interesting wild card.

There's a handful of teams looking to shore up their goaltending situation, namely New Jersey, Toronto, Edmonton and Philadelphia, among others. Just among those four, the options are limited without exploring the trade market. With goaltending becoming as unpredictable as ever, a market this weak will make for an interesting summer.

Here's a look at the top goalies to watch as free agency opens up on Wednesday:

Darcy Kuemper, 32
With strong stats during the regular season, a Stanley Cup to his credit and a lack of quality goaltending options on the market, Kuemper should get a solid payday this summer. The key thing will be Kuemper's health, especially after it came out he had to go to the optometrist 2-3 times a day during the Cup final to "re-train his eye".

Jack Campbell, 30
Before an injury took him out of action for a significant portion of the season, Campbell was putting up numbers worthy of some Vezina Trophy odds and even played in the NHL all-star game. The issue? He's a 30-year-old goaltender who has never played 50 games in a season, and while he had some great moments with the Leafs, there are still a ton of unknowns here. 

Ilya Samsonov, 25
The youngest goalie on this list, Samsonov never materialized as the goalie of the future the Washington Capitals were hoping he'd become, but he could become a true gem for someone this off-season. Samsonov struggled to hold the starting job this past season, but after shipping out Vitek Vanecek, it looked like Samsonov was going to be safe. This doesn't mean he won't return to the Capitals, but he instantly becomes one of the more intriguing UFA options after he wasn't extended a qualifying offer.

Martin Jones, 32
Jones is far from the starting goalie he was in San Jose, and even his end days with the club were ugly, to say the least. At 32, the big goaltender is on a heavy decline and likely isn't going to cost a whole lot. However, as a veteran presence, if you can limit his playing him, you can get some value in him in bursts.

Jaroslav Halak, 37
Halak hasn't played a ton over the past two years, but he's generally viewed as a decent, cheap backup option. At 37, will this be the last contract for the veteran puck stopper? Perhaps, and in the right situation, he can be a nice get.

Thomas Greiss, 36
Greiss has made a good career for himself as someone capable of playing 30-plus games a year, mainly as a 1B. His last season in Detroit, though, wasn't great, and at 36, he'll be relegated to backup duty moving forward. At the right price, he could be a solid addition, but not if he performs like he did last year.

Eric Comrie, 26
Comrie had a strong year in Winnipeg, posting a 10-5-1 record with a .920 save percentage. There's going to be more than a handful of teams fighting for his services as a cheap, solid backup that can fill in as a starter when needed throughout the year. 

Dustin Tokarski, 32
Very few goaltenders have a career year at 32, but with 29 starts for the Buffalo Sabres, he was much busier than usual. In a perfect world, he would have been in Rochester working with Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, but a multitude of injuries, plus flashes of good play, meant Tokarski stayed with the big club all year long. Expect him to be a backup/AHL starter next year.

Kevin Lankinen, 27
Lankinen had a rough season with an 8-15-6 record in 31 games, but showed some promise as a rookie the year before. He was a starter in 2020-21 in Chicago, but don't expect that to be the case moving forward, wherever he goes. In spurts, Lankinen can be good, and he faced a high volume of shots during his time in Chicago, too, so maybe he bounces back in the right environment.

Charlie Lindgren, 28
The 2021-22 season was a great one for Lindgren, who won all five of his NHL games and helped the Springfield Thunderbirds make the Calder Cup finals. Lindgren has never been a full-season NHLer, but he has quickly become one of the better in-betweeners -- a guy capable of bouncing between the NHL and AHL and playing good in bursts when called upon. He'll be cheap, and might even be a serviceable backup if you've got a reliable No. 1.

David Rittich, 29 
It wasn't that long ago that Rittich was Calgary's starter and worthy of an NHL all-star game spot. But since 2020, Rittich's career has spiraled quickly, bouncing between the Flames, Toronto Maple Leafs and, most recently, the Nashville Predators. His last game with the Preds saw him pulled after allowing five goals on 13 shots in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, which won't help his contract status. Can he bounce back? He'll be cheap, at least. 

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