Trade Deadline Goaltenders

The trade deadline was a dud in a lot of ways.  There were very few impact trades, and despite rumours that the Florida Panthers might move Tomas Vokoun, the only goaltenders dealt at the deadline were ones having incredibly bad seasons:

  • Craig Anderson: 13-15-3, 0.897 SV%
  • Brian Elliott: 13-19-11, 0.894 SV%
  • Dan Ellis: 13-7-8, 0.889 SV%
  • Curtis McElhinney: 6-9-1, 0.890 SV%

How have they done since the trade deadline?

It’s been evenly split.

Curtis McElhinney was dealt to Tampa Bay in exchange for Dan Ellis in a move of one goaltender the Lightning didn’t want in exchange for a much cheaper goaltender they didn’t want.  He was sent to the minors and then picked up by Ottawa; he has yet to play a game.  Still, that’s better than Brian Elliott, who has yet to win for the Avalanche and has posted an 0.890 SV% in four games since being dealt by Ottawa.

On the other hand, Craig Anderson has been tremendous, posting an 0.952 SV% for the Senators, and Dan Ellis has filled in capably for the injured Jonas Hiller with an 0.905 SV% over five games.

How likely are any of these performances to continue?

Craig Anderson is not an elite NHL goaltender.  In other words, he will not be able to maintain a save percentage slightly better than Dominik Hasek in his prime.  He is, however, a pretty good one.  His career save percentage (0.912) is slightly better than that of an average NHL starter.  If the Senators can take advantage of his poor performance early with Colorado and negotiate a low-end contract, they could come away very well.

Dan Ellis is slightly more complicated.  Tampa Bay entered 2010-11 with a pair of competent but unspectacular goaltenders, in the hopes that one would emerge as a starter; unfortunately, neither did.  Ellis has a decent NHL record, ranging from superb (0.924 SV% in 2007-08) to lousy (0.900 SV% in 2008-09) to right around NHL average (0.909 SV% in 2009-10) but his minor league numbers are less impressive.  Over four AHL seasons between 2003 and 2007, Ellis’ save percentage never rose above 0.911 and at points was much worse (0.894 SV% in 2006-07, his last AHL season).  I know I wouldn’t want him on my team for any position higher than clear-cut backup.

I’ve never been overly enamoured with Brian Elliott, but I have to admit that despite his present performance with the Avs the deal that brought him in wasn’t totally lopsided.  Elliott had a strong college career, his AHL numbers are very strong, and in 2009-10 he put up an 0.909 SV% at the NHL level.  He’s also only 25.

Finally, Curtis McElhinney is a decent AHL goaltender, and the kind of guy who sits in the number three spot on an NHL depth chart for a long, long time.