Over the next few weeks, let's break down the goaltending situations for each of the 15 Western Conference teams. Some situations are crystal clear (Vancouver, Calgary), while others remain question marks (Los Angeles, San Jose, Anaheim). Might as well start at the top…
Current Starter: Dominik Hasek
Current Backup: Chris Osgood
Summer Outlook: The Red Wings management is hoping Hasek decides to return for one more season, but he hasn’t made his mind up yet. They don’t have the cap space to go after a top UFA goalie like Giguere, so if Hasek does hang up the skates they may be forced to make a trade for someone like Fernandez or Toskala. Prospect Jimmy Howard is still being groomed for the starters position, so the Wings are looking for a one-two year stopgap type of guy.
Prediction: Hasek re-signs for one more year and everything is fine and dandy in Hockeytown.
Current Starter: JS Giguere
Current Backup: Ilya Bryzgalov
Summer Outlook: Fresh off a strong playoffs and a cup ring, teams will be lining up to go after the most sought after UFA this off-season in Giguere. The Ducks may opt to move Bryzgalov and throw a large offer Giguere’s way, or they may let him walk and give the reigns to Bryzgalov, as his low salary may be appealing with them having to lock up Selanne as well as a few key RFA’s.
Prediction: Giguere re-signs with the Ducks on a long-term deal for Luongo money (around six million per season). Bryzgalov is moved to a team in the East, and Swiss goalie Jonas Hiller is the backup to Giguere.
Current Starter: Roberto Luongo
Current Backup: Dany Sabourin
Summer Outlook: Not much to say here. Sabourin may test the open market, but the Canucks want to give youngster Drew McIntyre a shot at the backup role anyways.
Prediction: Vancouver goes with either Sabourin or McIntyre. Luongo continues to be very, very good.
Current Starter: Tomas Vokoun
Current Backup: Chris Mason
Summer Outlook: Vokoun remains under contract and should be back as the starter. Mason played very well when called upon and may want to move to another team in hopes of being the go-to guy. He is good enough to start in this league, it just depends if there is a team out there willing to give him a shot.
Prediction: Nashville goes with Vokoun for next season, while continuing to groom Pekka Rinne, who will replace Mason if he leaves.
Current Starter: Evgeni Nabokov
Current Backup: Vesa Toskala
Summer Outlook: The Sharks will actively shop Toskala this off-season, as they can’t continue to go with two starting goalies. Toskala should fetch a solid return because he is a much cheaper alternative than most of the other starting goalies on the market.
Prediction: Toskala is moved for a young defenseman to a team in desperate need of a starting goalie. Nabokov finally gets to be the clear-cut number one in San Jose, as does Toskala with his new team.