Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis should be thanking his lucky stars right now, or at least thanking his goalie stars for being so good at such a good time. For the price of whichever puckstopper he trades this summer has just gone up, maybe considerably.
Trading one of those star goalies looks like a fait accompli and now with the only other two big name goalies thought to be on the market out of the picture, the teams in need - read Toronto, Chicago, Tampa Bay and Philly - will find it much harder to tell Gillis his asking price is too high and that they'll look elsewhere. It is hard to look elsewhere when there's nowhere else to look.
Vokoun dealt, Thomas taking break
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced Monday, June 4 they have acquired Tomas Vokoun from the Washington Capitals; Vokoun, 36, needed after Marc Andre-Fleury's dismal playoff performance, waived his no-trade clause and signed for two years with the Pens. Vokoun was set to be a UFA July 1 and came cheap, a seventh-round draft choice was all that went the other way.
And on Sunday, 38-year-old Boston Bruins goalie Tim 'Tea Party' Thomas confirmed he is taking a year off from the rigors of the NHL to devout more time to "friends, family and faith." There had been some talk that Thomas, with a year remaining on his contract, may have been dealt by the Bruins to make way for Tuukka Rask to take over the number one spot.
The result is that if you're in the market for a top quality NHL puckstopper, unless you're willing to gamble on Josh Harding or Jonas Gustavsson, both soon UFA but largely unproven, or Jonathan Bernier from L.A., who has a great pedigree but little experience at the NHL level, you have to look at whichever goalie Vancouver decides to deal. Otherwise it's the likes of Scott Clemmenson or Marty Turco.
Vancouver Canucks: Better trade opportunity
The upshot is Gillis and the Canucks should get serious attention from those teams, and maybe more. Toronto asst. GM Dave Nonis has already said his team will look to improve in goal via the trade market and Luongo appears to be the guy that could mentor James Reimer and get them to the postseason. Meanwhile Tampa, whose GM Steve Yzerman said he wants a young, star goalie, may be Gillis' trading partner if it's Schneider he decides to move.
There may also be offers from Chicago, with stars like Patrick, Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews being held back by the mediocrity of Corey Crawford. The Flyers meanwhile, failed to get someone who could consistently stop the puck when they acquired the wildly inconsistent Ilya Bryzgalov, and they may look to find a way to jettison him and finally get ta reliable goalie.
All of which should have Mike Gillis thanking his goalie stars.