NHL Offseason: Goalie Carousel, Trade Rumours, and 2023-24 Futures

340
 

NHL Offseason: Expect the Unexpected

The 2022-23 NHL season has come to an end and the Vegas Golden Knights are your Stanley Cup champions. The NHL Entry Draft is next up on the calendar, then free agency, and many important questions might not be answered until the smoke clears in the summer, which certainly makes it harder to make long term forecasts. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the things that make predicting the 2023-24 season tough.

 

Jump on the Goalie Carousel

It wouldn’t be surprising to see more than a third of the teams in the NHL mix things up at the goaltending position and shake up the futures board in a big way. Here a handful of teams that have some big decisions to make:

Adin Hill and Laurent Brossoit – Vegas Golden Knights

Goaltending depth proved to be an important factor for the Golden Knights in 2022-23, but they are one of the many teams entering the offseason with some big decisions to make. Adin Hill, Laurent Brossoit, and Jonathan Quick are set to become unrestricted free agents this offseason, and Hill and Brossoit are both due for a raise. The only goaltender Vegas has signed, besides the injured Robin Lehner, is Logan Thompson, who is coming off an injury that kept him out of all but two games between Jan. 28th and the end of the season.

Connor Hellebuyck – Winnipeg Jets

The rumour is that Connor Hellebuyck’s next contract will not be with the Winnipeg Jets, and if he does find himself a new home this offseason, it’ll send shockwaves through the NHL because there are several ways it could work out. Teams like the New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres, and Los Angeles Kings are looking for a goaltender and if Hellebuyck were to go to any of those teams it would really cause a stir in the betting world because each one of those teams appears to be a couple of pieces away where they want to be.

John Gibson – Anaheim Ducks

Gibson has spent his entire career with the Ducks, and at one point he was seen as one of the best goaltenders in hockey. Now, not so much, but I’m sure there are at least a few teams who feel Gibson might be a good fit. Anaheim must begin to make some forward progress under new head coach Greg Cronin, but the team isn’t done tanking yet, or at least they shouldn’t be. It just doesn’t make sense for the Ducks to hold onto Gibson at this point. There’s a decent chance that all three California-based teams will have new starting goaltenders in 2023-24.

Carter Hart – Philadelphia Flyers

Hart is still seen by some as the next great goalie from Canada, but he struggled mightily between 2020 and 2022. Hart bounced back last season, saving the Flyers almost 13 goals above expected, but it looks like the Flyers might want to trade him while his value his high. The problem is that Hart’s value isn’t very high. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported that teams aren’t keen on trading for Hart because of the now completed investigation stemming from an incident at the World Junior Hockey Championship in 2018.

Linus Ullmark – Boston Bruins

It’s crazy to think that Ullmark could be on the block, but his contract is a dream after his Vezina Trophy worthy season and the Bruins could be looking to clear cap space to stay competitive in other areas. The Bruins bought low on Ullmark and given that there’s very little chance he will repeat, it makes it a lot easier for them to sell low on him this offseason. It also helps that Jeremy Swayman is younger and he as good as Ullmark down the stretch, if not better.

Teams like Carolina, Ottawa, and Pittsburgh could also have new starting goaltenders next season, and their outlook for next season could change a lot because of that.

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews Headline Weak Free Agent Class

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews headline a weak free agent class. Don’t get me wrong, there are some intriguing names, but the Rangers added both Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko and that didn’t benefit from it. It’ll be a lot easier not to put stock into the signings that take place this summer with so few impact players available. Here are some of the more notable names that headline this summer’s free agent class: