Capitals

6 possible goalie targets for the Capitals at the trade deadline

Capitals
David Rittich

The Capitals are at the top of the division with their two young netminders and there's plenty of reasons why they'd continue the course with their current lineup, but should they want the option of a more experienced goalie come playoff time, there a few possible options that general Brian MacLellan could target if he wants to. 

(A note, due to the salary cap, any moves the Caps make will be difficult.)

Jonathan Bernier

Age: 32

Cap hit: $3 million 

Signed through: 2021

2021 stats: 8-6-0, .918 save percentage, 2.78 GAA

I went alphabetical with this list, but maybe that was a mistake because Bernier is easily the best option out there for Washington.

Playing on a dreadful Detroit Red Wings team, Bernier still boasts a winning record and strong stats. A $3 million cap hit is not prohibitively expensive, especially considering that could go down to $1.5 million if Detroit agrees to retain up to 50% maximum. He is also on the final year of his contract which would avoid any offseason headaches of having to juggle him with Samsonov and Vanecek.

There is always a fear with goalies performing well on bad teams that this is, in part, due to a lack of pressure. This is especially a red flag for Bernier considering his postseason career save percentage is .885 with a 2-5 record. The bigger issue is that he was injured in Thursday's game and had to be helped off the ice by two teammates. The Red Wings have called him day-to-day, but you would still like to see him back in game action to make sure there are no major issues there.

 

Devan Dubnyk

Age: 34

Cap hit: $4.3 million 

Signed through: 2021

2021 stats: 3-8-2, .899 save percentage, 3.19 GAA

We are a few years removed from those dominant stretches in Minnesota, but a goalie on the final year of his contract currently playing for a non-playoff team means he is at least worth a cursory glance.

Dubnyk will turn 35 in May and has had an up-and-down season with the San Jose Sharks. He has not played a playoff game since 2018 and his playoff record is a 8-18, but that says a lot more about his teams in Minnesota than it does about him. In 2017, Dubnyk recorded a .925 save percentage with a 1.86 GAA and the Wild still lost in just five games. The lone win of the series for Minnesota was a shutout for Dubnyk.

But that was four years ago and we have not really seen any indication that Dubnyk can be that player again. In fact, his playoff stats seemed to indicate that season was very much the exception and not the norm.

Carter Hutton

Age: 35

Cap hit: $2.75 million 

Signed through: 2021

2021 stats: 1-10-1, .886 save percentage, 3.47 GAA

How realistic an option Hutton is depends on just how important MacLellan feels adding a goalie will be. Hutton's season stats aren't good and there is virtually no playoff experience to speak of. He has no starts, played in just three games and has two saves on three shots. In 2017-18, his last season in St. Louis before going to the Sabres, he was fantastic with a .931 save percentage and 2.09 GAA.

Buffalo should be looking to trade just about everyone at this point. Given what the season starts are, that may scare away some potential suitors and allow for a team like Washington to make an affordable deal.

Having said that, if MacLellan wants a veteran just for the sake of having a veteran but does not expect him to play, the Caps pretty much already have that with Craig Anderson. 

Antti Raanta

Age: 31

Cap hit: $4.25 million 

Signed through: 2021

2021 stats: 5-3-2, .913 save percentage, 3.20 GAA

There have been rumors surrounding both Darcy Kuemper and Raanta out of Arizona, but I would look at Raanta as the more likely candidate for Washington given he would be a rental with an expiring contract and carries a much lower cap hit compared to Kuemper's $5.8 million.

At 31, he is younger than most options on this list and has a cap hit that can be manageable if Arizona is willing to retain some or even half.

But if the point is to bring in a veteran with playoff experience, there are better options. Raanta has only five games of postseason experience which all came in relief appearances.

Raanta did not play on Tuesday due to an undisclosed injury. His health status will obviously dictate if he is actually on the market or not.

 

Download and subscribe to the Capitals Talk podcast

Pekka Rinne

Age: 38

Cap hit: $5 million 

Signed through: 2021

2021 stats: 8-11-1, .899 save percentage, 3.07 GAA

Given that Peter Laviolette was the head coach of Nashville just last year and that Rinne's contract is on its final year, there have been rumors over whether Rinne could be an option in Washington with Nashville possibly selling on this season and looking to the future. This is not a realistic scenario for Washington, however, because his cap hit is expensive, he has a modified no-trade clause, he has a no-movement clause so he can't be put on the taxi squad, and Nashville GM Daivd Poile said he won't be trading Rinne.

David Rittich

Age: 28

Cap hit: $2.75 million 

Signed through: 2021

2021 stats: 3-6-1, .908 save percentage, 2.86 GAA

The idea of Rittich to Washington came from The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun who wrote, "what better fit than Rittich, who is a pending UFA" to address the Caps' possible need for a goalie.

I have to admit, I don't see the fit at all beyond just the price tag and the fact that he is a rental. Both Ilya Samsonov (6-1-1, .908 save percentage and 2.48 GAA) and Vitek Vanecek (13-5-3, .911 save percentage and 2.66 GAA) are having better seasons than Rittich. Rittich also would not be a guy brought in for his vast playoff experience considering he has only 17 minutes of playoff experience. He allowed three goals on nine shots in those 17 minutes.

One further complication is the fact that I also don't think the Calgary Flames see themselves as out of playoff contention. Jacob Markstrom is the No. 1 to be sure, but I am not sure Calgary will be ready to part with its No. 2 goalie just yet.