Skip to content

Listing the five cheapest goalie tandems in the NHL

Sep 3, 2013, 1:59 PM EDT

Jacob Markstrom AP

Apropos of nothing but curiosity on our part, here are the five cheapest goaltending tandems for the 2013-14 NHL season, in terms of cap hit.

Florida Panthers ($2.4 million)

Jacob Markstrom ($1.2 million) and Scott Clemmensen ($1.2 million) are slated to share duties for last year’s worst team in the league. The former, just 23 years old, is supposed to be the future in Florida; however, he still has much to prove after a so-so 2013 season in which his save percentage finished at .901. If the duo falters early, it will be interesting to see if general manager Dale Tallon tries to make a move. (No, not for Roberto Luongo; Vancouver kind of needs him now.)

Philadelphia Flyers ($3.15 million)

For: Ray Emery ($1.65 million) and Steve Mason ($1.5 million). As always, Philly’s goalies will be under the microscope. And for good reason. Emery, coming over from Chicago, hasn’t started more than 30 games in a season since 2006-07, while Mason will be trying to resurrect his career after falling on hard times in Columbus. Will the Flyers play a more conservative style to help out their goalies? Remember, this is what Ilya Bryzgalov’s agent said after his client was bought out: “It’s terrible for goaltenders in Philadelphia.”

Calgary Flames ($3.68 million)

Assuming Miikka Kiprusoff retires, which he hasn’t officially done yet, the Flames are expected to go with newcomer Karri Ramo ($2.75 million) and veteran Joey MacDonald ($925,000). Ramo, 27, went 26-9-5 with a .929 save percentage last season for Omsk Avangard. In terms of save percentage, only six KHL goalies were better than that. We’ll see how he does in the best league in the world.

New York Islanders ($3.83 million)

For: Evgeni Nabokov ($3.25 million) and Kevin Poulin ($577,500). This should be interesting. While he was mostly solid during the regular season, Nabokov struggled badly in the playoffs, ending up with a save percentage of .842 in six games versus the Penguins. And at 38 years old, he’s not getting any younger. Meanwhile, Poulin, 23, has a limited NHL resume, with just 17 starts to his name. It’s possible Anders Nilsson, also 23, could beat out Poulin for the backup role, but the inexperience factor would remain.

Tampa Bay Lightning ($4.1 million)

Ben Bishop ($2.3 million) and Anders Lindback ($1.8 million) form the Lightning’s young (and tall) tandem. For their team to make it back to the playoffs following consecutive misses, at least one of them will have to step up. Bishop was acquired at the trade deadline from Ottawa in return for forward Cory Conacher, and heading into training camp, he’s probably the favorite to be the opening-day starter. But that doesn’t mean Lindback can’t win the job. “They are both relatively young, and they each have tremendous upside,” said GM Steve Yzerman. “Over the course of an entire season, it will give both of them an opportunity to play. Having two guys with great potential, they’ll now both be able to develop into the goaltenders we think they can become.”

  1. ednacrabapple - Sep 3, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    The Caps have only 4.3 committed and very solid. Holtby and Neuvirth!!!

    • therealjr - Sep 3, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      They’d be on this list had they not overpaid Neuvirth.

  2. ballistictrajectory - Sep 3, 2013 at 2:26 PM


    Expand this thought!!

    Perhaps a repost at the halfway mark and then again at the end of the season, with team GA stats. Could even go to the $/goal level.

  3. withseidelinn - Sep 3, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Out of these 5 tandems, I think NYI and CGY could be in the most trouble. Regarding Calgary, I hope Ramo can adjust his game well, but it is a completely different league and it is almost guaranteed he will struggle pretty hard at times, and Joey MacDonald isn’t exactly the greatest alternative. For NYI, they will be alright if Nabby can give them consistent goaltending, but if his play slips like it did in the playoffs, Poulin will have a pretty tough task in their division to keeps the pucks out.

    • islesjb - Sep 3, 2013 at 2:45 PM

      they also need Poulin (or Nilsson) to step up and play well in at least 25-30 starts. As stated, Nabby is no spring chicken and seemed to wear down last year. He’s going to need plenty of rest if he is going to take the Isles back to the playoffs

      • bcisleman - Sep 3, 2013 at 3:35 PM

        If last year was any indication, there will be little rest for Nabby. Cappy, understandably, has little confidence in Poulin. Goaltending may well cost the Isles a return to the playoffs in what is surely the toughest division in the NHL.

      • islesjb - Sep 3, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        Yeah unfortunately you might be right in terms of missing the playoffs.

        If Garth doesn’t bring in any outside help, I think Cappy will have no choice but to roll the dice with either Poulin or Nilsson for those 25-30 games.I feel that there is no possible way Nabokov can carry the load the same way he did during the lockout shortened season and Capuano has to know that. If that’s the case, a playoff birth may depend on the play of one of our unproven goalie prospects in a backup role and that’s not a pleasant thought.

      • elvispocomo - Sep 3, 2013 at 6:00 PM

        I share your sentiments. I like Nabby and he’s been good when fresh for the Isles, but man did they need a more reliable workhorse to replace him. It was either that or bring in a much more capable backup in a 1A/1B situation. As it stands now, they’re in trouble at least by the second half of the season and I don’t think the Olympic break will save them.

        Florida’s in a similar boat, IMO. Markstrom will be good, assuming they don’t ruin him before he’s ready, but neither he nor Clemmensen are going to win them many games.

        Calgary, don’t even get me started.

  4. pensman29 - Sep 3, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    If Phillys goalies play like they are
    Capable of… That’s be a pretty stud duo.

    • ibieiniid - Sep 3, 2013 at 3:13 PM

      that word “if” is why Mason is so cheap.

    • elvispocomo - Sep 3, 2013 at 6:04 PM

      Philly has a great tandem on paper looking at Emery’s stats from last year and Mason as a former Calder winner. On ice, however, there’s a lot to be concerned about. I could see that going badly for them.

      Tampa might not be quite as established on paper, but I’d have a little more faith in their tandem than Philly’s (still no established starter they can lean on though!).

      • jimw81 - Sep 3, 2013 at 9:47 PM

        if defense stays healthy and add a yadle type player, they will be a tough team to play against.

  5. Lupy Nazty Philthy - Sep 3, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Leafs are paying Bernier and Reimer $4.7M total. Not too far off from this list.

    I guess the threshold for goalie controversy starts at about $4.5M?

    • zetaone - Sep 3, 2013 at 8:51 PM

      The threshold is laid out pretty plainly in the title.

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Sep 3, 2013 at 10:20 PM

        No it isn’t. This article is about the 5 cheapest goalie tandems.

        I’m referring to phony goalie controversy Leaf-haters seems to think is going on in Toronto.

  6. multiplemiggs - Sep 3, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    since I know more about the islanders than anyone else here I say that the Nabby situation is not troubling

    • ibieiniid - Sep 3, 2013 at 3:56 PM

      Garth? that you?

      • elvispocomo - Sep 3, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        I’d give Snow a little more credit than that. Clearly he doesn’t know more about the Isles than anyone else here, and not just the two knowledgeable Isles fans who posted earlier.

  7. multiplemiggs - Sep 3, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    yes its me sorry about before, I had too many drinks in wangs pool

  8. jimw81 - Sep 3, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    flyers learned a very good lesson overpaying for a goalie

  9. blomfeld - Sep 3, 2013 at 10:47 PM

    ‘No, not for Roberto Luongo; Vancouver kind of needs him now’ …

    yeah, well don’t bet the house on that Brough … and I mean that seriously …

  10. hubeydubeydoo11 - Sep 4, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    Markstrom is an amazing goalie! lots of growing to do but with his size and athleticism he is something to watch. Its just hard to watch a growing team in front of him get as injured as they did last year. His numbers would have been better if they wouldnt have had key parts of their team missing for majority of the season.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1891)
  2. P. Kessel (1446)
  3. M. Richards (1239)
  4. N. Backstrom (1150)
  5. M. Giordano (1107)