San Jose Sharks Mull Goaltending Options


Mar 26, 2015; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; New York Rangers goalie Cam Talbot prior to the start of the second period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. The Rangers defeated the Senators 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

It appears the San Jose Sharks and general manager Doug Wilson are leaving no stone unturned as they search for a potential goaltending replacement for Antti Niemi, who is unlikely to return next season.

According to a report from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, the Sharks have inquired on a myriad of goaltenders, including Cam Talbot of the New York Rangersand Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner of the Ottawa Senators.

Talbot and Lehner are both intriguing options as both are young goaltenders who have been stuck behind more veteran options.

Talbot, 27, showed a lot of promise this past season, filling in admirably for the injured Henrik Lundqvist. In 36 games, Talbot went 21-9-4 with a 2.21 goals-against-average (GAA) and a .926 save percentage, ranking fourth in the NHL in both of those categories. In 57 career NHL games, Talbot’s numbers are even more impressive with a 2.00 GAA and a .931 save percentage.

Also, as LeBrun points out, Talbot is entering the final year of his current deal at $1.45M which is cheap for a number one goaltender in the NHL. Because of this, the Rangers are seeking future assets for Talbot, but those may be hard to find. Part of the issue is that anyone inquiring on Talbot knows that he’s the backup as Lundqvist isn’t going anywhere.

Lehner, 23, is a bit of an unknown at this point. The former second-round pick in 2009 by the Senators is a big-bodied goaltender at six-foot-five and 225 pounds. However, he’s still trying to find his way at the NHL level.

This past season, Lehner appeared in 25 games while posting a 9-12-3 record with a 3.02 GAA and and .902 save percentage. After starting his career on a high note, Lehner as plateaued a bit. In 86 career games played, Lehner is 30-36-13 with a 2.88 GAA and a .914 save percentage.

As LeBrun noted, the Senators already have trade offers on the table for Lehner and the Sharks could be one of those offers. However, if I were running the San Jose, I’d bet on Talbot instead of Lehner.

While Lehner has the size and talent, Talbot has shown more consistency, albeit in a very small sample size. He might’ve been aided by a New York defense that is better than San Jose’s but the numbers are still very impressive.

Expect more names to pop up in the coming weeks as Wilson scans the league for his top netminder.

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