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The price of the goalie market

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

This is Part 3 in our ongoing trade deadline-themed mailbag editions.

And thanks to overwhelming demand, we’ll have two more (this Friday and next Monday) after this one.


I can understand the Montreal Canadiens letting Mathieu Garon go (although in hindsight I'm sure they would have signed Garon to a long-term deal and ditched Jose Theodore), but why did the Kings let him go? No offense to Jason LaBarbera, but the Kings have been desperate for a No. 1 goalie since Kelly Hrudey left town and Garon is/was better than anybody they have had since. My next question is regarding another Habs goaltending prospect. Do you think there is any chance the Habs would trade Carey Price? I know he's being billed as the next Patrick Roy, but the Habs are already deep in goal with Cristobal Huet (if he re-signs), Jaroslav Halak and Yann Danis, who was superb in his call-up a couple years ago. Would the Habs move him if The Price Is Right? (pardon the pun!) Would Los Angeles part with Anze Kopitar or Jack Johnson if it meant they finally got their goalie? Or how about in Tampa – no-trade clauses aside, could one of the Big Three be moved for Price? I know the Habs should have learned their lesson after Garon and Tomas Vokoun, but at least this time they'd be getting something back!

Steve Dicker, Paradise, Nfld.


In the Kings’ defense, it wasn’t as if Garon was lighting the league on fire during his time in L.A.

In 2005-06, his first season with the team, Garon had an .894 save percentage, and last year he missed 21 games due to various injuries. He was also approaching age 30, so it was likely a calculated gamble on the Kings’ behalf to let him go, and a gamble that it appears the team lost.

As for the Canadiens trading Price, let me be clear: There. Is. No. Chance. What. So. Ever.

Not only is Price The Hockey News’ No. 1 overall NHL prospect – as designated by THN’s Future Watch special edition (on sale March 10), but he’s also estimated by many to be the reason Huet doesn’t re-sign with Montreal when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July.

Nobody I speak with in the hockey world thinks the Habs will deal Huet before the trade deadline, so if GM Bob Gainey trades anyone, it likely will be Halak (although some see him as the ideal backup for Price next season).

Halak won’t command the kings’ ransom Price undoubtedly would on the trade market, but he’d still get the Habs a better-than-average return from a team desperate for goaltending.

In fact, I talked to a couple NHL types this weekend, who thought a Halak-to-Tampa-for-Vinny-Prospal (along with something else thrown in from the Lightning to compensate for Prospal’s looming UFA status) would help both teams. But as you’ll see in the next question, there are other potential destinations out there for Halak, as well.


What do you think the Caps will do about their goalie situation in the off-season with Olie Kolzig's contract (and talent) due to expire?

Ethan Lesher, Lancaster, Pa.


Because of Kolzig’s inconsistent play this year, Washington could be one of the sleeper teams looking for a goaltender in the next week or so.

The Capitals have a couple netminding prospects in their system, but at a time when they’ve got a legitimate shot to win the Southeast Division, it only makes sense for them to try and pick up someone like Halak, or perhaps, if GM George McPhee is feeling particularly ballsy, Nikolai Khabibulin.

You’d have to think the Hawks would want a Tom Poti or Brian Pothier type, plus a prospect or two, in return for Khabibulin, but again, that’s a deal that could easily help both teams.


The Penguins are looking for a winger to play with Sidney Crosby and a bruising defenseman (isn't everybody?). What have you heard? The names I have heard are Ladislav Nagy and Hal Gill. I know they will not do anything major. Once everyone comes back from their injuries, I think they will be fine going into the playoffs. What’s your opinion?

Todd Walker, Muncy, Pa.


If I were Pens GM Ray Shero, I’d run, not walk, away from any offer Dean Lombardi makes that would put Nagy in a Pittsburgh uniform. His playoff performances have been less than inspiring, to say the least.

Gill, on the other hand, is undeserving of the “pylon” reputation he has acquired in some circles. I think he’d make a great addition to any team looking for size (if not snarl) and a big body to block shots.

And I’m surprised, at least from a media perspective, that nobody has raised the prospect of Shero bringing in Jaromir Jagr for the rest of the season. The Pens have the cap room to do it and though Jagr hasn’t looked all that interested this season, a brief return to his longtime Pennsylvania home might push Crosby & Co. into serious Cup contention.


What is the chance that Glen Murray could become a "sort of" rent-a-player for some team since he is signed through next season and at more than $4 million per year. He is a streaky scorer, but, when on, could help a team in the playoffs. Maybe he would be a good fit in Detroit, Calgary or Vancouver; what could the Bruins expect to get in return? Alex Tanguay from Calgary would be nice.

Bruce Whitman, Athens, Vt.


I have heard Murray’s name bandied about a few times in trade rumors. At this stage of his career, Murray is almost a mirror image of Bill Guerin, and since the Sharks took a chance on the latter last season, I could see a scenario in which they try their luck on the former this time around.

What would they get in return for Murray? Remember, when an aging player makes a much-better-than-average salary, the return they’ll get on the open market always drops off a great deal. That’s why he’ll never be dealt for a superior, younger talent such as Tanguay.

Instead, the best you can hope for in any Murray trade will be a mid-level prospect or NHL roster player. Any team taking his salary off the Bruins’ hands will see that act as favor enough, so Boston shouldn’t expect much more.

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