NHL Goalie Battles: Who Will Secure the Backup Jobs 2023-24

As the NHL prepares for training camp and preseason games, one of the most exciting storylines to watch is the battle for backup goalie positions. In this blog, I’ll dive into several teams’ goaltending situations and the friendly competition to secure those coveted backup roles.

Each franchise faces unique challenges in determining their backup netminder for the upcoming season, from cap-strapped teams like Toronto to those with more flexibility, like Anaheim.

Los Angeles Kings

In Los Angeles, you’ve got a good competition between Pheonix Copley and David Rittich for the coveted backup goalie role.

Both goaltenders, aged 31, boast impressive resumes as reliable backups, having demonstrated their skills and expertise in the past.

The Kings face the challenging task of deciding which goalie to retain and who might be waived, weighing their options carefully to ensure they secure the strongest goaltending support for the team.

Montreal Canadiens

Rumors have been going around for weeks about Casey DeSmith, the goalie for the Canadiens.

It is believed he might not be with the team for long and could be traded, ending up in a different jersey. But he’s still with Montreal, possibly serving as the backup.

They’ve got Jack Allen and Sam Montembeault on the team, too, so whoever doesn’t secure the backup job might be part of a trade-off.

There seems to be a lot of buzz around Casey DeSmith, so there’s a good chance those rumors might turn out to be true.

Seattle Kraken

We’ve got an exciting goalie showdown in Seattle between Joey Daccord and Chris Driedger.

Daccord, who’s 27, earned his shot after impressing with the Firebirds last season. On the other hand, 29-year-old Driedger has a solid contract at four and a half million dollars per year.

As training camp unfolds, all eyes are on this battle. Will Driedger’s experience and contract give him the edge, or will Daccord’s recent standout performances tip the scales? The waiver process adds another layer to the mix.

If Driedger clears waivers, it could free up valuable cap space for Seattle to strengthen other areas of the team. The backup goalie verdict in Seattle promises to be a captivating storyline as the Kraken kick off their first NHL season.

Anaheim Ducks

The Anaheim Ducks face an interesting goaltending situation with Lukáš Dostál and Alex Stalock.

Many folks believe that Dostál is the future of Anaheim, showing great potential as a long-term solution.

On the other hand, Stalock, at 36, might not secure a permanent spot and could find himself in the AHL. We’ve seen similar paths for goalies like Devan Dubnyk—some time in the minors before making a comeback in the NHL.

If Anaheim decides to wave Stalock, teams like Vancouver could swoop in and create a strong tandem with Thatcher Demko in Abbotsford.

This goalie shuffle is a common theme in the NHL, and with many teams already set, it’s shaping up to be an exciting season for these netminders.

Tampa Bay Lightning

So, here’s the thing: who will be the backup goalie for the Tampa Bay Lightning? Well, we’ve got two contenders. First up, we’ve got Jonas Johansson, who just celebrated his 28th birthday today (September 19th).

On the other hand, we’ve got the young and talented 22-year-old Hugo Alnefelt.

I think they’ll give the nod to Jonas Johansson. His numbers from last season were good, and he could really step up as the goalie behind Andrei Vasilevskiy. What do you think?

Carolina Hurricanes

The Hurricanes are likely to have three goalies on their roster. They have Antti Raanta, who’s 34, Pyotr Kochetkov, who’s 24, and Frederik Andersen, who’s 33.

It was quite a surprise to see Raanta make a comeback, and Kochetkov just landed a new contract worth two million a year.

Now, the big question is who will earn the backup role and whether there’s a chance to trade the other two.

If we decide to keep just one backup, there could be some money to gain from a trade. So, is Carolina interested in that? Only time will tell.

Philadelphia Flyers

For the Philadelphia Flyers, Carter Hart will be the starting goalie. As for the backup position, there’s a three-way competition going on.

We’ve got Cal Petersen, who brings experience but has a challenging contract. Then there’s Felix Sandstrom and Samuel Ersson, both younger options.

Coach John Tortorella seems to trust Ersson. So, we’ll just have to wait and see. Who knows, Ersson might just beat both players for the backup job!

NHL Goalie

Vancouver Canucks

Thatcher Demko has solidified himself as Vancouver’s starter, but now the big question is who will be his backup, right? Well, we’ve got a couple of strong contenders in Artūrs Šilovs and Spencer Martin.

Let’s start with Artūrs Šilovs, a talented 22-year-old who impressed when he played for Abbotsford and even stepped up for Vancouver when needed.

So, you know, he might just be ready for the job. And then we’ve got Spencer Martin, who’s 28 years old. He’s definitely a solid option if, you know, heaven forbid, Demko gets hurt or injured.

Personally, I think they might lean towards Silovs, but having Martin as a backup adds some valuable depth to the team.

Chicago Blackhawks

You’ve got two highly talented 24-year-old goaltenders in Chicago, Arvid Söderblom and Jaxson Stauber. Both goaltenders possess exceptional skills and are vying for the coveted role of being the backup to Petr Mrázek.

The Blackhawks face a crucial decision that could potentially impact their entire season.

The outcome of this selection process will determine who will serve as the backup goalie and carry significant implications for the team’s performance and success going forward.

The pressure is on as the Blackhawks carefully evaluate and assess the abilities and potential of both Söderblom and Stauber, knowing that their final choice will shape the dynamics of their goaltending lineup and potentially influence the outcome of their upcoming season.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Toronto has this talented young goalie, Joseph Woll, who’s only 25 years old. This could be his year to shine and make it to the NHL. But check this out: the Maple Leafs signed Martin Jones on a one-year contract worth $875,000.

Martin is 33 years old, and I wonder if he’ll be the one starting with all that experience under his belt. Or will they give the nod to young Joseph Woll and let him prove himself?

Oh, and by the way, I haven’t forgotten about Ilya Samsonov. He could definitely be a great choice to start with, right? A lot is happening with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and you keep an eye on them!

Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo faces an intriguing situation, with three goalies vying for two positions. Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen and Devon Levi are both young and talented, but Eric Comrie, 28, could provide a steadying presence.

While there’s potential for a three-way battle, it’s essential to consider experience. Trusting inexperienced goalies as a tandem might be a risk, especially if Buffalo aims for the playoffs this year.

Rumor sites suggest Buffalo might be in the market for a veteran goalie, potentially trading Luukkonen for stability. Levi has the edge for the backup job. Buffalo’s goalie situation is one to watch this season with heightened expectations.

Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames find themselves in a favorable situation regarding their goaltending prospects.

One of their rising stars, Dustin Wolf, had an exceptional year in the AHL at just 22. His performance has raised the question: is he ready for the backup role?

On the other hand, the Flames also have Dan Vladar, a seasoned goalie at 26, who is coming off a challenging season.

The Flames now face the crucial task of evaluating whether Wolf is prepared for the demands of the NHL or if Vladar should serve as the reliable backup. Let’s see what they do.  

Detroit Red Wings

Regarding the backup goalie job in Detroit, James Reimer has the edge. He’s got the experience at 35 years old. While Alex Lyon showed promise last season and in the playoffs at 30, it’s unlikely he’ll surpass Reimer.

Some might question this decision, but let’s not forget that Reimer would need a disastrous preseason not to secure one of the top two spots.

He did have his ups and downs in performance, but there’s hope he’ll bounce back with Detroit. Although I have to admit, his age does raise some valid concerns.

Final Thoughts

As NHL teams prepare for training camp and the upcoming season, the battles for backup goaltender positions are heating up. Each team faces unique challenges, from cap constraints to the need for experienced backups.

These decisions will significantly impact the team’s performance throughout the season. It’s an exciting time for hockey fans as we eagerly await the outcomes of these goalie battles and the start of another thrilling NHL season.

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