Most NHL teams have a pretty clear idea of how their goaltending scenarios will play out this season.
But some teams are clearly headed for some adventure. In Florida, for instance, general manager Dale Tallon appears ready to hedge his bet on emerging goaltender Jacob Markstrom.
With veteran Scott Clemmensen on the mend from minor knee surgery, Tallon has offered Jose Theodore an opportunity to return on a tryout basis. Unemployed veterans Ilya Bryzgalov and Tim Thomas got similar offers.
Tallon remains committed to developing Markstrom, but he is also eager to add some serious protection.
So far, anyway, Bryzgalov and Thomas have apparently scared off other teams because of their, um, quirky personalities.
“The puck doesn't know they're flaky,” Tallon quipped to reporters. “I don't care about that. Goalies are unique to begin with. I'm OK with it.”
Thomas could also land in Columbus as the back-up to Sergei Bobrovsky. Thomas’ long-time agent, Bill Zito, has joined the Blue Jackets front office.
This situation bears watching. Here are some others:
Toronto Maple Leafs: Young James Reimer broke out with a stellar season. But that didn’t dissuade the Maple Leafs from acquiring Jonathan Bernier from Kings during the offseason. Once upon a time Bernier was more highly regarded than Jonathan Quick, but he never gained traction as the starter in LA. The Toronto media will have a blast with this scenario.
Tampa Bay Lightning: GM Steve Yzerman loves tall goaltenders. He paid a steep price (Cory Conacher and a fourth-round pick) to acquire the 6-foot-7 Bishop from Ottawa after earlier installing 6-6 Anders Lindback in that post. If only his team played basketball, the Lightning could dominate.
Calgary Flames: As expected, franchise cornerstone Miikka Kiprusoff retired. At the moment here are Calgary’s top three goaltenders in training camp: Karri Ramo, Joey McDonald and Reto Berra. Famously impatient Brian Burke just came about as the new hockey czar and we’re guessing he will address this situation sooner than later.
New Jersey Devils: Martin Brodeur is taking his career one season at a time this season. But the team has already lined up his replacement in Cory Schneider. This will create an interesting team dynamic, since Brodeur is accustomed to playing very heavy workloads when healthy.
“I'm just going to play this year,” Brodeur told reporters in Newark. “I'm not going to comment on, 'Yes, I will,' or 'Yes, I won't [retire]'. So, you can tell [media] around the League they don't have to ask that question. I'm not going to tell anybody if I'm going to retire or not until I make a decision of coming back or not.”
Buffalo Sabres: As this team rebuilds, it seems highly likely to turn the page on Ryan Miller and go with Jhonas Enroth. Miller is in the last year of his contract and he figures to become a trade target during the season’s second half.
“If you play long enough you're going to have this kind of discussion surround you at some point,” he told reporters in Buffalo. “It's nothing I wouldn't expect at some point of my career. I have to be professional enough to do my job. I'm able to do a job in a city I'm familiar with and a city I'm very much at home in. I like to be in Buffalo, I like the people. This isn't a bad situation. I signed a deal to be here and I’m committed to seeing it through.”
Philadelphia Flyers: Buying out the goofy Bryzgalov made sense, since he was never going to prosper in that chippy sports market. But replacing him with the Steve Mason/Ray Emery tag team . . . well, that took a leap of faith. Pending free agents (Ryan Miller!) on other teams will watch that situation closely.