We are closing in on training camps beginning around the league. During this time, teams learn exactly where their players lie in terms of health for the upcoming season. Unfortunately for the Colorado Avalanche, they are facing an injury in goal:
The goalie market has dried up with signings and PTOs throughout the summer. So, the Avalanche don’t have many options. On the free agent market, there are a pair of older veteran goalies in Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. Halak has expressed his desire to play in the NHL this season, so that could make a lot of sense for the Avs. You know what you are getting with Halak, and you wouldn’t have to give up any assets like you would have to in any trade for a goalie.
The Montreal Canadiens present themselves as a trade option, with three NHL capable goalies in their ranks. The Habs still have their tandem of Jake Allan and Samuel Montembault from last year, but they also acquired Casey DeSmith from the Penguins in the Erik Karlsson deal. Having these three goaltenders at the same time will create chaos for playing time. DeSmith has a manageable $1.8M cap hit for this season, so that would be easily maneuverable.
However, the Calgary Flames are also a very intriguing option.
Is Dan Vladar a viable option?
One team with a three-headed goalie carousel at the moment is the Flames. Jacob Markstrom is still signed for another three seasons at a $6M cap hit, Dan Vladar sits for two more seasons at a $2.2M cap hit, and Dustin Wolf has another season left on his entry-level deal. With Wolf having another superb season in the AHL last year, it is time for the Flames to promote him to full-time NHL duties and seeing what they have.
Markstrom has a no-move clause, so he won’t be going anywhere without his approval. That leaves you with Vladar, who has a much more manageable cap hit and is much younger. Vladar’s cap hit is also very close to Francouz’s $2M cap hit, so it would be easy to fit in once the Avalanche place Francouz on LTIR. Vladar started out last season very strong and even looked like the starting goaltender at points, but that did fade. He finished off the 2022-23 season with a 14-6-5 record, 2.91 GAA, and .895 SV%. To be fair though, the entire roster lost steam as the season went on.
While the other options of Halak and DeSmith might be a little more viable, Vladar would add more security to the position, being extended for another season. Vladar is also much younger than both DeSmith and Halak, so there’s that to consider for the Avalanche as well.
Moving Vladar could be a benefit
The Flames are only able to carry a roster of 21 players due to cap constraints. This isn’t the end of the world since the Wranglers are also located in Calgary. However, moving Vladar’s cap would allow the team to carry more bodies on their NHL roster, or bank cap space to use for later. Craig Conroy has been huge on giving opportunities to younger players. So far, Wolf has done everything in his power to show he is ready for the NHL. Moving Vladar would help the team find out exactly what they have at the NHL level.
At the very least, the Flames should be exploring a Vladar trade option with Colorado in light of the recent news.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire