It’s not exactly as if Jaroslav Halak was a face in the crowd before the playoffs started. The impressive Slovak goalie sported an outstanding 92.4 save percentage and wrestled the Canadiens’ starting job from should-be savior Carey Price this season. Still, on a league-wide scale, there’s little doubt that this post-season run put him on the map ... and probably will make him a rich man. The question is: how much is he worth? Or perhaps more appropriately, how much will he garner at the negotiating table?
The first factor to consider is Jaroslav Halak is a restricted free agent. That means that there’s one impediment to Halak being the savior goalie for any number of desperate teams: the Canadiens can match any offer sheet sent his way. Still, my guess is that if any player can force a general manager to commit the Kevin Lowe faux paus of sending a big offer sheet, it would be Halak.
About a month or two ago, it occurred to me that “the going rate” is about $5 million for an “established” goalie. After the jump, I’ll share a list of goalies in the $4.5 to $6 million annual cap hit range and share a few names that might parallel Halak the most.
Here’s a list in that $4.5 to $6 million range. There are a few close goalies such as Cam Ward (6.3) and Ryan Miller (6.25) that I left off since they’re a bit higher. It’s actually kind of surprising just how many goalies fall in that salary range, as you can see below. (Note: some contracts already expired) Jonas Hiller: 4.5
Tim Thomas: 5
Miikka Kiprusoff: 5.83
Cristobal Huet: 5.625
Marty Turco: 5.7
Tomas Vokoun: 5.7
Nicklas Backstrom: 6
Martin Brodeur: 5.2
Rick Dipietro: 4.5
Ilya Bryzgalov: 4.25
Marc-Andre Fleury: 5
Evgeni Nabokov: 5.4
J.S. Giguere: 6
Roberto Luongo: 5.33
Jose Theodore: 4.5
There are two goalies who remind me the most of Halak’s situation.
Cristobal Huet: Another player who had some of his best moments in Montreal, Huet experienced an exhilarating contract year closing out win Washington. It didn’t hurt that he was an unrestricted free agent (or that Chicago was throwing out money like hot cakes), but there are some parallels between the two. Of course, Halak actually did something when it matters the most, yet still ...
Miikka Kiprusoff: Kipper never really had a chance to shine in San Jose’s crazy goalie factory. When he arrived in Calgary, a mediocre team nursed by Jarome Iginla was able to make a run for the playoffs and eventually the Stanley Cup Finals.
Those two goalies are making just less than $6 million, but Halak’s unrestricted free agency - along with a scant supply of No. 1jobs - makes the situation murky. My guess is that (barring a horrible collapse) Halak will make about $4.5 million per year. But what do you think? How much will his amazing playoff run fetch him?