Posted on: July 20, 2011 2:12 pm
Edited on: July 20, 2011 2:48 pm
By: Adam Gretz
If you're still searching for a backup goaltender on the free agent market, your list of options has taken a solid hit over the past two days. The latest name to be removed is Patrick Lalime. The veteran announced his retirement on Wednesday, and according to RDS in Canada, will become an analyst for the french-speaking station.
Lalime spent 12 seasons in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues, Chicago Blackhawks and, most recently, the Buffalo Sabres, serving as a backup to Ryan Miller. He finished his career with exactly 200 wins and a .905 save percentage.
Originally a sixth-round draft pick by the Penguins in 1993, Lalime started his career with Pittsburgh during the 1996-97 season and set an NHL record with 16 consecutive starts to his career without losing a game (his record was 14-0-2). After that season, however, he was involved in a lengthy contract dispute with Pittsburgh and was ultimately traded to Anaheim for Sean Pronger in March of 1998. After never appearing in a game with the Ducks, he was later sent to Ottawa -- in exhange for Ted Donato and Antti-Jussi Niemi -- where he spent five seasons, collecting 146 wins, and helping the club advance to the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2002-03 season.
During the 2001-02 playoffs Lalime recorded four shutouts, including three in a row against the Philadelphia Flyers in the opening round.
Now that Lalime has retired, the only goaltenders of note that remain on the free agent market are Marty Turco and Ray Emery. Chris Osgood announced his retirement on Tuesday, while the Red Wings followed that up on Wednesday by signing Ty Conklin to serve as Jimmy Howard's backup.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: July 11, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 3:56 pm
By Adam Gretz
The Red Wings went into the workday Monday with only one goaltender under contract for the upcoming season -- returning starter Jimmy Howard, who is signed through next year at a cap hit of $2.25 million. By Monday afternoon the club had reached a two-year, two-way contract with backup Joey MacDonald, with the possibility remaining that veteran Chris Osgood could be returning to the mix as well.
MacDonald's deal will pay him an average annual salary of $550,000 if he plays in the NHL, and $105,000 if he plays in the minor leagues, according to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. General manager Ken Holland said, via St. James, that MacDonald is likely to open the season as the Red Wings' No. 3 goalie and that the team is still looking to add another veteran to backup Howard.
Speculation has naturally turned to Osgood, a 17-year veteran who has had two different stints wearing the winged wheel, in large part because other veteran free agents have already landed in other spots, including Tomas Vokoun in Washington and Jose Theodore in Florida. Other than Osgood, the remaining unrestricted free agent options include Pascal Leclaire, Ty Conklin (who has spent time with the Red Wings in the past and has been mentioned as a possibility this offseason), Patrick Lalime, Marty Turco and Ray Emery. In all honesty, that's pretty interchangeable group.
Osgood, who turns 39 in November, was limited to 11 games last season because of injury and has appeared in just 34 games over the past two seasons, recording a .892 save percentage.
The potential Howard-Osgood-MacDonald trio isn't the greatest collection of goaltenders across the league, but goaltending hasn't really been the backbone of the franchise in the cap era. Instead, the Red Wings have loaded up on their forwards and defense and made smaller investments between the pipes.
Over the past three years, Detroit has been in the bottom-five in terms of the percentage of its payroll that's been invested in goalies (fifth lowest in 2008-09, third lowest in 2009-10 and fifth lowest in 2009-10) and currently has the smallest commitment for 2011-12.
Regardless of who the team signs to play behind Howard this season, its investment in goaltending isn't likely to be a significant one.