We are almost two months removed from the disaster that was Tristan Jarry’s playoff performance. The Penguins still have a big question that needs to be answered. Can Jarry still be their #1 goaltender? It’s tough to say, honestly. No matter what the answer to that question I don’t think there is any way the Penguins can move into next season with only Jarry. Yes, I know the Penguins have DeSmith. Believe me, I like him a lot…as a back up. So who are some free agent goaltending options the Penguins could take a look at to help in net?
I’ve been a fan of Raanta since he was backing up Henrik Lundqvist in New York. A bit of a late bloomer, Raanta turned out to be a fine goaltender for the Coyotes. The 32 year old free agent hitting the open market will have multiple teams interested. He is coming off a 3-year deal earning himself $4.25 million a year. Hard to say what number he will find in free agency but the Penguins should be one of the teams calling. If anything Raanta can help give Jarry a goaltending push through some healthy competition, but best case scenario the Penguins would have a solid 1A and 1B goaltender duo.
Linus Ullmark is a free agent goaltender that sparks my interest a lot. The 27 year old goaltender has managed to keep a save percentage of .915 and .917 the past two seasons…IN BUFFALO. Any goaltender who can manage to perform like that with the black hole of a team that is the Sabres in front of him deserves some praise. It seems Ullmark’s time in Buffalo is done and he should have no problem receiving interest from teams. Ullmark is another player that could provide a nice goaltender duo with Jarry moving into next season. If the Penguins can sign him for a reasonable price, they should be one of the teams calling.
Andersen is not someone who I would not have thought to bring in but is someone the Penguins have been linked to this summer. The 31 year old goaltender was very promising the first couple years of his tenure with the Maple Leafs. However, the past few seasons he has gotten worse and worse each year. With the emergence of Jack Campbell in Toronto, Andersen will be looking for a new home. I’m not sure what to expect from him moving forward. Can Andersen get back to the goaltender he was a few years ago? It’s tough to say. Maybe a change of scenery could be good for him I’m just not sure Pittsburgh is the place. With the questions the Penguins have about their goalie future with Jarry I’m not sure they should take a chance on another question mark of a player.
Mrazek is my top goaltending option the Penguins should target in free agency. At only 29 years old he has a lot of good hockey in front of him. Mrazek not only would push Jarry to perform better but he could also just outright threaten Jarry as the #1 goaltender in Pittsburgh. That is something the Penguins need. All of the guys I have mentioned so far could have a chance to become the top goalie in Pittsburgh but Mrazek would be pushing for that from day one. The main issue with signing Mrazek would be the amount of teams you would be bidding against. He has the potential to be the top goalie free agent this summer and a great host of teams will be calling his camp. If the Penguins can figure the money out, they should be banging on Mrazek’s door.
Whether or not the Penguins sign any of the goaltenders I have mentioned its hard to imagine they will move into next season content with their current goaltending situation. It needs to be addressed one way or another whether they sign a free agent or try to make a trade. I would think the help comes in free agency but who knows? Fleury reunion?! Nah, I wouldn’t hold your breath on that one. The Penguins need someone who at worst is going to push Jarry to be the #1 goalie we thought he could be. I still believe Jarry can be a solid goaltender but you cannot rely solely on him moving into next season.