The cap may have gone up, and somehow the New York Rangers decided to pay Derek Boogaard a real life hockey players salary, but goaltenders in this years' free agent "frenzy" are either taking modest deals, or losing out entirely. We speak of course, of Marty Turco and Evgeni Nabokov. The former #1 goaltenders in the Pacific Division both fancy themselves worthy of at least $3 or $4 million a season but have seen interest waffle, wane and eventually disappear altogether.
There is a trend (or a theory, rather) in the league right now that makes GM's think they don't need to sign the big name, expensive goaltender to win in the playoffs. Look at Jaro Halak. Look at Niemi. Look at that hodge podge that got the Flyers to the finals. The Red Wings have rarely cared who their starting netminder is. (Re: Osgood, Chris, mediocrity). And so the Dan Ellis' and the Marty Biron's of the world found jobs yesterday and Marty Turco has not.
There was speculation that Turco could go to Washington and compete for the starting job. The Capitals said they are committed to youth in Michal Neuvirth, who you may remember (bitterly) from following the Texas Stars/Hershey Bears series, and then later they went out and signed Dany Sabourin to a one year, 2 way deal. No room there. Philadelphia has been rumored but now seem content on sitting tight with their situation, and they're in cap hell right now. (Though the Flyers have a defense so good now that maybe they just put a trash can in front of the goal...)
For weeks San Jose was everyone's best guess when talking about Marty Turco, but they have hopped on the cheap goaltending train as well, signing Antero Nittymaki for $2 million a season.
Later in the day some Stars fans were asking "Why can't Marty come back here and backup Kari?" Two problems with that: The Stars answered the quesiton later in the afternoon by showing us how much money they wanted to spend on a backup: $700k. The second problem was that Marty would never have come back here out of self respect, what we suspect is a little grudge (understandable), and pride. He's earned that pride and he's got skins on the wall in this league.
Still, this was a bad time to be choosy about the details of his situation next year. He is, as of this moment, without a dance partner, but he's going to have to pick one of the ugly girls, take another swill of beer, and deal with it. Even if one of the ugly girls turns out to be a one year backup job, or a European gig.
Who'd have thought that Matt Climie would be the first UFA Dallas goaltender to get a deal? (Phoenix, one year)