With teams now at the quarter mark of the season, they now have a greater sense of what they have and what they need. Two of those teams – the Sabres and Kraken – appear to have determined that goaltending help is high on the priority list as Postmedia’s Bruce Garrioch reports that both squads are looking at what’s available between the pipes.
For Seattle, Philipp Grubauer has struggled mightily out of the gate, putting up his worst numbers in now his third season with the team. Joey Daccord won the backup battle in training camp but hasn’t fared much better, posting a save percentage of just .898. Meanwhile, they still have Chris Driedger at AHL Coachella Valley but he hasn’t seen regular NHL action for a couple of years now.
Garrioch notes that Montreal is among the teams the Kraken have spoken to. The Canadiens are one of the few teams still carrying three netminders on its active roster – the recently extended Samuel Montembeault, veteran Jake Allen, and youngster Cayden Primeau who is no longer waiver-exempt.
With a little over $2MM in cap room at the moment per CapFriendly, Seattle does have a bit of flexibility to work with. If they can clear out Driedger’s contract as part of any swap, they’d free up an additional $2.35MM to work with as that’s the cap charge they incur with Driedger being with the Firebirds.
As for Buffalo, Garrioch reports that they’re believed to have been sniffing around a veteran netminder. Devon Levi, when healthy, hasn’t played at the same level as he did down the stretch last season, resulting in a recent demotion to AHL Rochester. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has taken over the number one role for the time being (current illness notwithstanding) but has just 59 NHL appearances under his belt. Veteran Eric Comrie is also with the team but has a 4.01 GAA and a .861 SV% in his seven starts so there’s definitely room to upgrade.
Garrioch suggests that Allen is one of the goalies Buffalo is believed to have looked at. The 33-year-old has another year on this one on his contract with a $3.85MM AAV. His numbers are a bit better than Comrie’s with a 3.74 GAA and a .898 SV% in his ten starts. Buffalo has ample cap space to take on Allen’s full deal although they could also offset some of the cost of any possible trade by including Comrie’s $1.8MM expiring deal as part of any swap.
It has been out there for a while that the Oilers are looking for goalie help with the early struggles of Jack Campbell and Stuart Skinner. Now, it appears they’re not the only ones looking for an upgrade at that position.