Matt Murray of the Pittsburgh Penguins is expected to be available on the NHL trade market.
Anders Nilsson’s 2019-20 season with the Senators was curtailed because of a concussion in a game last Dec. 16.
Arizona Coyotes netminder Darcy Kuemper, who has two seasons left on his contract, has been mentioned as a trade possibility.
The Ottawa Senators are looking at their options in the net for next season.
At this point, they need to keep an open mind.
The plan this season is to go with Anders Nilsson and Marcus Hogberg in net, but with the former still feeling the effects of a concussion in a Dec. 16 game in Florida, there’s no shortage of uncertainty.
Yes, the Senators have made plenty of changes during this lengthy off-season, but one area that general manager Pierre Dorion, head coach D.J. Smith, goalie coach Pierre Groulx and the rest of the staff probably thought had been settled was goaltending, given that Nilsson passed his baseline test in April.
The organization decided at the end of last season that, after nearly 10 years, it was time to move on from 39-year-old Craig Anderson, and he was thanked for his service during an exit meeting.
The Senators have been keeping touch with Nilsson at his home in Sweden, but, though the team is optimistic he’ll be able to play out the final year of his $2.5-million contract, it has been scouring around the National Hockey League goalie market.
It’s expected to be active for unrestricted free agents, with the likes of Jacob Markstrom (Vancouver), Braden Holtby (Washington), Robin Lehner (Vegas), Cam Talbot (Edmonton), Anton Khudobin (Dallas), Cam Talbot (Edmonton), Thomas Greiss (New York Islanders), Mike Smith (Calgary) and Jimmy Howard (Detroit) among those available.
Lehner, who started his career with the Senators, has reportedly already agreed to a five-year extension with the Knights after being acquired in a trade in February.
Several teams are trying to change the channel in net, too, and those present options for the Senators, especially if they decide to use one of the four second-round picks they have in the 2020 NHL draft.
The best goalie available is Matt Murray of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s a restricted free agent with rights to arbitration, but he may want a lengthy new deal. The sense is the Senators aren’t looking for a long-term solution because they have several goaltending prospects who could compete for the No. 1 job down the road.
Really, what they are seeking is a placeholder who can help them be competitive next season.
Darcy Kuemper of the Arizona Coyotes has two years left at $4.5 million per season and has been mentioned as a trade possibility, as has Joonas Korpisalo of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who has two years left at $2.8 million per season, and either would be a good fit in Ottawa.
Petr Mrazek of the Carolina Hurricanes is available, has one year left at $3.125 million and has shown he can carry the load as a No. 1 goalie.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are listening to offers for Frederik Andersen after an early playoff exit, but there are no guarantees he’ll be moved. He has a $5-million salary, but $4 million has already been paid in the form of a signing bonus, and several other teams are in the mix.
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