It's a tough line to toe, but yeah I don't disagree necessarily. Problem is that there aren't a lot of goalies who are going to be 1) available & 2) are better than Hutch. Anything with a functioning pulse is probably going to be signed to a legit NHL job. The group of goalies I'm seeing as maybes are
- Alex Lyon
- Garrett Sparks
- Louis Domingue
- Keith Kinkaid
- Laurent Broissoit
Domingue and Broissoit have both had tragically bad seasons but have NHL track records of success as backups. I'd be surprised if someone doesn't give both of them guaranteed NHL jobs. Lyon, Sparks, and Kinkaid aren't any better than Hutch.
From an organizational standpoint, unless there's a clear upgrade, I'd rather just roll with Hutch. One of our competitive advantages is that we can afford to sign a lot of guys to those guaranteed money contracts as pure depth (Aberg, Agostino, Hutch, etc). It's not Hutch's fault that he was bad in the NHL for us this season, we knew when we signed him that he was a bad goalie. He was a #3 who was asked to be a legit #2. That's on Dubas, not on Hutch. As an emergency starter, he's fine. I don't want to see us sour on these depth veterans we bring in because they can't carry water in a role they weren't brought in to fulfill. If last year I had told you that Hutch was going to play 15 games of .880 goaltending next season for us (in the first ~50 games of the season), you would have been rightfully livid at management.
So sure, if Domingue or Broissoit fall through the cracks, pay them the max that can be buried in the AHL without a cap penalty and let Hutch walk, absolutely. But odds of someone with a recent .910+ NHL season going without a full time job are pretty slim imo.
The Athletic’s stats man Dom Luszczyszyn pulled together this chart of Muzzin’s likely age-related decline, which isn’t pretty. I’m glad he can’t do this for beer-league players on the wrong side of 30:
Dom’s model calculates, based on Muzzin’s results this season, that he has already begun to decline. By the fourth year of a new contract, he projects to only be a fringe top-four D. By the fifth, a third-pair contributor.
On a four-year deal, Dom’s projection has Muzzin’s average annual value at just under $4.4-million a season. On a five, that drops to $4-million.
So why sign him for more than $5-million a season?
His nightmare season continues.AJ out 2 months. Requires surgery
Approx 7.9M in space with those 2 out and now dubas has certainty with what he is playing with.His nightmare season continues.
On the upside, he wasn't doing much
On the downside, if he came around he would have been a nice add
On the upside, we can Kane rule the shit out of the deadline now with Ceci and AJ's cap hits. Neither looks to be back before the playoffs.