Top 5 NHL free-agent goalies after Alex Nedeljkovic re-signs with Penguins

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at New York Rangers
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The quantity and quality of available goalies when NHL free agency begins July 1 dropped by one Thursday when Alex Nedeljkovic re-signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 28-year-old received a two-year, $5 million contract to continue partnering with Tristan Jarry in the Steel City.

So, that thinned out the group of UFA goalies even more, and teams may be more interested in trading for the right goalie than signing one this offseason. The New Jersey Devils did just that when they acquired Jacob Markstrom earlier this week from the Calgary Flames for defenseman Kevin Bahl and a conditional first-round draft pick in 2025.

Also, the high-end of the market could be on hold for now, as teams await the decision from the Boston Bruins regarding Linus Ullmark. Both the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs are rumored to be in on him as he could be the top goalie switching teams this offseason, should the Bruins trade him.

Related: Next steps in expected Patrik Laine trade from Blue Jackets

Top 5 goalies available in NHL free agency

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Dallas Stars
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Here’s a look at the top 5 remaining free agent net-goalies.

1 – Laurent Brossoit

Laurent Brossoit is coming off a solid season as the backup goalie for the Winnipeg Jets. He was excellent in 20 games, with a record of 15-5-3. He had a .927 save percentage along with a 2.00 goals-against average. Earning just $1.75 million last season, he should be in line for a raise, and possibly a starting role.

The 31-year-old has been an excellent No. 2 his entire career and did his part to help the Vegas Golden Knights win the Stanley Cup in 2023. If not a No. 1 role somewhere, perhaps Brossoit can land a job somewhere to be someone’s 1a and split duties with another solid goalie.

2 – Anthony Stolarz

NHL: New York Islanders at Florida Panthers
Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Another career backup bidding for a starting position is Anthony Stolarz. While the Florida Panthers continue their quest for the Stanley Cup with Sergei Bobrovsky in net, Stolarz sits on the bench after earning a 16-7-2 record throughout the regular season.

Stolarz had a .925 save percentage and a 2.03 GAA, similar numbers to Brossoit. He will also seek a pay raise and a starting role, after earning $1.1 million this season. The 30-year-old, though, has never played more than 28 games, nor started more than 23, which he did in 2021-22 with the Anaheim Ducks.

3 – Cam Talbot

NHL: Minnesota Wild at Los Angeles Kings
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Cam Talbot has played for six teams in the past six seasons, and his nomadic run will continue this summer since the Los Angeles Kings just acquired Darcy Kuemper this week in a trade with the Washington Capitals.

Talbot played in the NHL All-Star Game this season and is a good fit still to be a 1a in a goalie tandem. Though 36 years old, Talbot played 54 games in 2023-24, posting a 27-20-3 record, .913 save percentage and 2.50 GAA. Still very formidable numbers.

4 – Ilya Samsonov

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Toronto Maple Leafs
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It was a rough go in Toronto for Ilya Samsonov, who stumbled as the No. 1 last season. His 23-7-3 record is shadowed by an .890 save percentage and 3.13 GAA. Additionally, he seemed to have lost his spot to Joseph Woll in the first round of the playoffs until Woll was injured, and the Maple Leafs have zero interest in bringing Samsonov back.

With Toronto in the hunt for Linus Ullmark, or just about anyone not named Samsonov, the 27-year-old may have to reset his market on a one-year deal somewhere this offseason. He averaged $3.55 million on his last contract and outperformed it two seasons ago, before struggling in 2023-24.

5 – Casey DeSmith

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Nashville Predators at Vancouver Canucks
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With Thatcher Demko returning from injury next season, and the rise of Arturs Silovs in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Vancouver Canucks seem to be set in goal, leaving Casey DeSmith as the odd man out. He played well in the playoffs up until an injury, which led to the breakout opportunity for Silovs.

The 32-year-old was 12-9-1 with an .895 save percentage and 2.89 GAA this past season. He’s a steady and reliable backup who won’t break the bank for some team.

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