LeBrun: Grading the NHL’s best and worst offseason goalie moves

The summer goalie carousel is so fascinating.

It happens every summer in about a two-week period, and if we’re going to be honest, no one really knows how it’s going to work out from there.

There are more gambles than ever going on at the position, and I’ve never heard NHL front offices be less confident about the position.

Four months ago, I took an early look at how things were playing out for the goalies that changed teams last summer.

It’s time to revisit that. And we’ve got a clearer picture of how each situation turned out, so I’ve added grades.

I’ve also asked TSN colleague and former NHL goalie and goalie coach Jamie McLennan to share his take on each masked man.

Here we go.

(Note: Stats through Monday.)

Grade: A-plus

One of the most surprising moves from last summer’s goalie carousel is turning into perhaps the best.

Unable to re-sign Darcy Kuemper, the Avs pivoted July 7 at the draft in Montreal and acquired the Rangers backup for two third-round picks and a fifth-rounder. They then signed him to a three-year deal at a $3.4 million average annual value — that coming off a season in which he put up an .898 save percentage and a 2.92 goals-against average with the Rangers.

Now? With a career-high 54 starts backed up by a top-five .919 save percentage, Georgiev has looked the part of a No. 1 goalie in every fashion.

Stick tap to the Avs’ front office on that leap of faith.

“He’s been real solid. That was a credit to our scouts, to our analytics department, but ultimately a credit to (Avs goalie coach) Jussi Parkkila and the players,” Avs general manager Chris MacFarland told The Athletic last month. “We all recognized or thought he had this kind of ability to be part of a real solid tandem with Pavel Francouz and give us a chance to win every night. To Alex’s credit, that’s what he’s done this year. And hopefully he’ll continue to only get better.”

Goals saved above expected, through Monday (per MoneyPuck): 18.7 (eighth in the NHL, sandwiched between Andrei Vasilevskiy and Igor Shesterkin).

Expert goalie view from McLennan: “I like him. He’s had to learn on the job as a starter, and I don’t know if there’s been a game all season long where that team has been healthy. He’s exceeded the most starts in a season for his career. He just had to be good for that team, nothing more, and that’s what he’s been.”

Alexandar Georgiev celebrates with teammates. (Dan Hamilton / USA Today)

Grade: A

The only reason Gustavsson doesn’t get an A-plus like Georgiev is that he hasn’t won the No. 1 job outright but has shared the net with Marc-Andre Fleury. But a .932 save percentage that’s second in the NHL and a career-high 32 starts has been an outstanding story for the Wild. Remember that Cam Talbot’s camp kind of fueled the trade, too, unhappy after the Wild re-signed Fleury as far as where it left Talbot.

And so, Gustavsson was acquired one-for-one, and it’s been a terrific…

Read More: LeBrun: Grading the NHL’s best and worst offseason goalie moves 2023-03-29 11:29:34

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