Finding a Backup Goalie for Thiessen

Saturday, July 9, 2011
Who will the goaltending tandem be in 2011-12?
One of the glaring needs that still exists for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins is finding a suitable backup goaltender for Brad Thiessen, who was re-signed to a one-year deal on Tuesday.

There are two in-house options available in Mattias Modig and Patrick Killeen, but both are relatively green and untested. While one of those two could very well be the backup in 2011-12, I think the Penguins are actively pursuing a veteran to back up Thiessen in case of injury or recall.

After the jump, a look at some of the remaining free agent goaltenders and who might be a good fit for Wilkes-Barre.

Joey MacDonald: 2010-11 team - Grand Rapids/Detroit

MacDonald went 10-9-1 last season with the Grand Rapids Griffins, posting a 2.78 GAA, a .894 SV% and one shutout up until January before spending the rest of the season in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings. While in the NHL, MacDonald appeared in 15 games and finished with a record of 5-5-3. His NHL statistics were actually better than his numbers in the AHL (2.58 GAA, .917 SV%, 1 SO).

MacDonald is the definition of a veteran goaltender and he isn't too old either, as he will turn 32 during the 2011-12 season. He's a journeyman goalie who has seen NHL time with Detroit, Boston, New York Islanders and Toronto. He has signed one-year, two-way deals each of the last two seasons. Could this be the third straight season he signs a short term two-way contract?

Martin Gerber: 2010-11 team - Oklahoma City/Edmonton

Gerber is another guy who would fit the bill as a solid veteran goaltender. He's seen time in the NHL with Anaheim, Carolina, Ottawa, Toronto and Edmonton. He was a two-time 30 game winner in the NHL and at 36, his career seems to be winding down. But that's not a knock against him, he's still very capable and his stats from last season prove it.
2010-11 AHL Reg. Season: 42 games played, 20-16-4, 2.60 GAA, .911 SV%, 4 SO 
2010-11 AHL Playoff Stats: 6 games played, 2-3, 1.79 GAA, .931 SV%, 1 SO    
2010-11 NHL Reg. Season: 3 games played, 3-0-0, 1.30 GAA, .958 SV%, 0 SO
Nolan Schaefer: 2010-11 team - Providence/Hershey

A career AHL goalie, former Penguin Nolan Schaefer has a lot of experience at this level.  Schaefer was acquired by the Penguins from the San Jose Sharks during the 2006-07 season. He spent two seasons with the Houston Aeros after leaving the Penguins, posting 45 wins there.

He spent last season with the Providence Bruins appearing in 30 games, before being loaned to the Hershey Bears and appearing in 10 more games with the Bears. Schaefer hasn't played in the NHL since the 2005-06 season, but has appeared in over 200 AHL games and definitely should be labeled as an AHL-veteran goalie. Might he be interested in returning to Wilkes-Barre? I guess time will tell.
2010-11 AHL Regular Season: 40 total games played, 2.90 GAA, .902 SV%, 0 SO

What are your thoughts on what the Penguins should do with their goaltending situation for the 2011-12 season? Post your comments below!


Anonymous said...

I don't care for either Killeen or Modig, but if no one else is brought in, it will be Killeen. Schaefer is a good choice and he has played for the WBS Penguins before, 15 games in 2006-07 and played well. I think he would rather be an AHL starter, but that is unlikely; he is 31 and still unsigned though. MacDonald resigned with Grand Rapids/Detroit and Gerber signed to play in Sweden. For future reference, keep an eye on University of Vermont senior and Pittsburgh native Rob Madore. He was invited to the Penguins' prospect development camp and could end up being signed once his college career is over.

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