The NHL regular season has finally concluded, as the Washington Capitals became the 2018 Stanley Cup Champions. With the celebration still going on, the Capitals will remain busy over the next week as they prepare for the 2018 NHL Draft. The NHL Draft takes place in Dallas on June 22-23.
Capitals netminder Philipp Grubauer had an outstanding season for the Capitals. Appearing in 35 games, Grubauer was strong for the Capitals as he recorded 15 wins, a 2.35 goals against average, and .923 save percentage. He also recorded 3 shutouts.
Grubauer, 26, is a restricted free agent this summer. He is set for a big pay raise. Grubauer has likely indicated to Capitals management that he wants to be a #1 goaltender somewhere.
THE GOALIE MARKET
There are plenty of teams that are looking for goaltending help. The New York Islanders are a team to watch in this area.
Leading up to the Draft, the Islanders have two 1st round picks (11 and 12) and two second round picks. With Jaroslav Halak becoming a free agent, the Islanders will likely search the market for an answer to their goaltending.
Another Metropolitan Division club that is looking for goaltending help is the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes did not get the goaltending they were looking for when they traded for Scott Darling last offseason. Cam Ward is getting up in age, and the Hurricanes likely do not have anyone ready to make the bounce up to the big club just yet.
The Buffalo Sabres are another team to watch in the goaltending market. Robin Lehner (restricted) and Chad Johnson (unrestricted) are free agents this summer. The Sabres also have plenty of cap space to make a move for a quality netminder.
In addition to the Sabres, the Detroit Red Wings could be looking for some goaltending help behind veteran Jimmy Howard. The Red Wings moved Petr Mrazek before the trade deadline to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for draft picks.
Out West, the Edmonton Oilers are rumored to be shopping goaltender Cam Talbot. Edmonton holds the #10 pick in the Draft, and could probably use another netminder in their rotation.
THE CAPITALS NEED TO PULL THE TRIGGER QUICKLY
This is a dicey situation for the Capitals because time may not be on their side. If Grubauer wants to be a #1 somewhere, the Capitals need to move him and try to accommodate him.
Grubauer has earned the right to show off his talents somewhere and have an expanded role as a goaltender. The Capitals did a good job showcasing him throughout the regular season, so there should be plenty of interest from teams looking to improve their net play.
By: George Foussekis