Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Capitals should immediately trade Philipp Grubauer

With Nate Schmidt off to Vegas, and several teams looking for solid goaltending, the Capitals have a good case to trade Grubauer.

Grubauer is a restricted free agent, coming off a two-year bridge deal which saw him earn $750,000 annually.  As a backup, Grubauer has not started much, but he saw action in a career high 24 games last season, posting insane numbers.  Considering the Capitals overstrength in goal, and their insistence on reacquiring Pheonix Copley in the Shattenkirk trade, there is no need to keep Grubauer on the roster when he can be used to valuable acquire assets.

Potential trade partners:

Calgary Flames: Mike Smith is a serviceable starting goalie, but he is 35 years old and his best days are behind him.  The next one is several years away.  A playoff bound team needs more assurances in goal.  Potential return: several high draft picks.

Edmonton Oilers: Cam Talbot is solid in goal, but played more than he should have.  Backup goaltender Laurent Brossoit has played in 14 career games, posting subpar totals.  A team expected to make a deep playoff run would benefit from having a solid fail-safe, if for no reason other than injury concerns from an overplayed starting 'tender.  Potential return: Jordan Eberle and a mid-round draft pick in a cap friendly trade involving Orpik going the other way.  (editor's note: Eberle has since been traded to the Islanders for Ryan Strome).  Darnell Nurse?

Boston Bruins: Tuukka Rask has regressed considerably since winning the Vezina in 2014, providing the Bruins with a lower quality start percentage in three successive seasons.  Rask was downright awful in 2016-17; while his fantasy numbers might not have been bad, his real hockey numbers were atrocious.  He is only 30, so it is reasonable to expect some normalization of his numbers, but he might not be the strong backstop he once was.  For an aging team with an unknown quantity in Malcolm Subban, it may be prudent to make the move for a proven NHL goaltender.  Potential return: Jakub Zboril or Zach Senyshyn and a late draft pick.

Chicago Blackhawks: Corey Crawford has never made more than 58 starts in a season, so Grubauer would have plenty of opportunity to play in the Windy City.  Bringing in the restricted free agent would also provide financial flexibility for a team desperate for breathing room.  While Crawford shows no signs of slowing down, $6 million is a lot to pay for a 32 year old goaltender who may soon become expendable.  Potential return: Alex DeBrincat and a mid-round pick.

Other targets: Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks

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