The offseason goaltending market is pretty ugly. Here are the 10 unrestricted free agents who have any consequential value above replacement level, ranked by even-strength save percentage since the lockout:
|Goalie||Age||EVSV%||EV Shots||$Val/1500||$Val/Yr||$$ 2009-10|
[That's cap hit, not salary, in the right-hand column.]
Replacement is pretty easy to define for goaltenders: Vesa Toskala or Jose Theodore. (There's more to it - replacement save percentage ends up being 911.7, which is basically what Toskala and Theodore have done.) If we value one marginal free agent win at $2.3M (the price of free agent skater wins), we can determine a goaltender's approximate value if he faces 1500 shots (approx. 50 games). Note that the average cost of a goaltender win is actually much lower because of the contributions of RFA and entry-level players.
Anybody excited about giving a multi-year contract to a goalie who's over 30 and hasn't performed all that well or played much recently? No? Then Dan Ellis will have many suitors!
There are a few other possibilities:
Each of these goaltenders will command large contracts with their respective organizations and/or will be in high demand in the trade market. Halak, Price and Harding probably offer $10+M of surplus value over the RFA period of their contract. From Montreal's perspective, there's no question in my mind that Price is a better investment than Halak going forward - Halak being more overvalued - but the odds of Montreal moving Halak are about 1-in-a-million.