The New York Rangers have avoided a date with the arbitrator and goaltender.
The Rangers have agreed to terms with goaltender Alexandar Georgiev on a two-year contract.
The new contract is a two-year bridge that will see Georgiev earn $2.425 annual average value for the next two years.
When Henrik Lundqvist was bought out and signed as a free agent by the Washington Capitals, the urgency rose on getting Georgiev signed to his new contract. Georgiev and Igor Shesterkin will likely split the net for the Rangers when the 2021 season finally kicks off in late January or early February.
Georgiev was scheduled to have his case heard by the arbitrator on October 31.
Rangers GM Jeff Gorton seemingly headed off an arbitrator ruling that likely would have landed at or just north of $3M AAV for a restricted free agent goalie of Georgiev's experience.
The Rangers are still tasked with re-signing three restricted free agents in Ryan Strome, Brendan Lemieux, and Tony DeAngelo.
In Buffalo, restricted free agent Linus Ullmark has a date scheduled with the NHL arbitrator on October 27.
Ullmark, 27, earned $1,325,000 last season. The big Swede's is hopeful that the arbitrator will award him a $3 million annual average value on a 2-3 year contract.
Ullmark's NHL body of work is very similar to that of Georgiev:
Ullmark: 97 Games Played, 92 Starts, 41-41-10 Record, 2.81 GAA, .911 SV%
Georgiev: 77 Games Played, 71 Starts, 35-31-7 Record, 3.00 GAA, .913 SV%
Sabres General Manager Kevyn Adams has been been patiently trying to upgrade his goaltending. Two weeks ago, the market was flush with excellent goalie options. The Robin Lehner contract extension with the Vegas Golden Knights was the catalyst that kicked off the tidal wave of NHL goalie signings.
Today, there are very few quality goaltenders left to choose from. It's slim pickins.
Might the Georgiev signing force Adams to call Ullmark's agent to hammer out a new contract before the goalie's scheduled arbitration date? I think its fair to offer Ullmark $5 million over the next two seasons ($2.5M AAV). Its nearly a 50% pay raise from last season which is breat for Ullmark in a cash-strapped NHL economy.
Adams can lock up Ullmark then aggressive pursue a trade partner for the other goaltender.
When the NHL season begins in mid-January or early February, schedule of games will be tightly compacted. The teams that have two capable goaltenders will be the ones that qualify for the playoffs.
I'm on record as saying that i believe the Sabres need to upgrade their starting goaltending. I like Ullmark. He's made progress at the NHL level. However, I think he has improvements to make in his game. I feel strongly that Ullmark will perform at his peak consistency when he is locked in a battle for his starts. I would like to see more peer pressure applied to Ullmark. Do I wish for him to be traded? No. I prefer to have Ullmark play hungry. I want him to get pissed off when he is forced to sit and watch. I want Ullmark to start playing with some anger in his game the way that Jhonas Enroth had for years in Buffalo.
I think it's time for Carter Hutton to move along. I was hoping that Kevyn Adams was going to make a trade for Matt Murray. I also thought highly of Thomas Greiss. Murray is now in Ottawa and Greiss is a Detroit Red Wing.
If they are to acquire a new goaltender, Adams and Ralph Kreuger will have to do so via trade. I would like to see Adams trade for Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo or Arizona Coyotes tendy Antii Ranta. I want a veteran Finnish goalie to split starts now with Ullmark, who is warming the seat for future starting goalie Ukko Pekka Luukkonen. UPL is a Finn. I like the idea of having UPL and Korpisalo or Ranta as Sabres goalies in two seasons.
Ullmark, Samson Reinhart and Victor Olofsson are Buffalo's three arbitration eligible restricted free agents.