Seven goalies were traded over the past two days ranging in price from a mid first-round pick to a seventh-rounder. The Ottawa Senators earned praise for drawing a first-rounder for Robin Lehner on Friday, while the Vancouver Canucks a day later settled for their best offer for Eddie Lack: third and seventh-round picks from the Carolina Hurricanes.
The market spiked early and crashed late, with some teams getting bargain-basement value and others paying a premium.
"You try and equate teams with goalies and supply and demand, but what happens is once one's gone, it doesn't mean the price goes down," said Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli, who got Cam Talbot from the New York Rangers for three picks. "Sometimes it goes up because usually the next guy is the next guy for everybody, so you have to be wary of that. It went down, and we had other options going, too."
According to San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson, there are goalies available who aren't the common names that have been bandied about. Lehner, Lack, Talbot and Martin Jones of the Los Angeles Kings — sent to Boston as part of the Milan Lucic deal — were the obvious goalies and all were traded.
Canucks president Trevor Linden expected Talbot to be the first domino to fall, but when the Buffalo Sabres ponied up the 21st pick, they got Lehner from Ottawa. The Senators are betting on centre Colin White to develop into an NHL player, but they sure proved the value of timing.
"I did it at the right time, there's no doubt," GM Bryan Murray said. "I thought I had the best goaltender available, and I guess it proved out to be that."
Talbot cost the Oilers a second-rounder 57th overall, a third rounder 79th overall and a seventh-rounder 184th overall, and Edmonton got back the 209th pick from the Rangers for good measure. The 27-year-old Talbot made an impression league-wide with his play in the absence of Henrik Lundqvist late in the season.
Some more surprising goalie trades included the Dallas Stars getting the rights to pending free agent Antti Niemi from the Sharks for a seventh-round pick, the Hurricanes sending Anton Khudobin to the Anaheim Ducks for James Wisniewski and the Rangers replacing Talbot with Antti Raanta by sending Ryan Haggerty to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Stars had already talked to Niemi since the free-agency interview period opened Thursday and could have waited until July 1. But they wanted to get a deal done now rather than risking anything July 1.
That's evidence of the fluidity of goalie movement, which could soon include Jhonas Enroth, Karri Ramo, and Anders Lindback.
"I think what happens is, because of the free agents that are out there, that changes the market," said Stars GM Jim Nill. "You decide you want to use assets, which is picks and prospects, or do you want to go spend money? That was always out there. That changes the market a little bit."
Goalies weren't the only players traded Saturday in South Florida. The Ducks got winger Carl Hagelin from the Rangers in a deal that sent Emerson Etem to New York.
The strangest trade of the day came after the draft ended, when the Philadelphia Flyers sent defenceman Nicklas Grossmann and the contract of injured soon-to-be Hall of Famer Chris Pronger to the Arizona Coyotes for a draft pick and Sam Gagner. The Flyers get out from Pronger's cap hit as he has two years left on his deal despite now working in the NHL's department of player safety.
"They got a good player and we got some cap relief, so it's one of those deals that works for both teams," cap-strapped Flyers GM Ron Hextall said on a conference call from the airport. "It certainly gets us going in the right direction."
More trades are likely in the next week as the free-agent market opens July 1. The Chicago Blackhawks have to do something — most notably trade Patrick Sharp — and the Toronto Maple Leafs will continue to try and trade star winger Phil Kessel.
On the draft floor, first overall pick Connor McDavid observed the transformation of the Oilers with trades for Talbot and defencemen Griffin Reinhart and Eric Gryba. Not far away the Buffalo Sabres walked away from BB&T Center with No. 2 pick Jack Eichel, Lehner and forward Ryan O'Reilly.
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