Cats forward Greg Campbell (far left) chooses his favorite Panthers netminder. No, not really.
Been quite a bit of talk recently surrounding the Cats' goaltending tandem of starter Tomas Vokoun and backup Craig Anderson. Perhaps not surprisingly.
Specifically, what to do with them? The Miami Herald and Sun-Sentinel have both commented this week on the possibility that one of the duo may not be in Sunrise next season. Could that someone be T-Vo?
Fans have been immunized to the idea of Andy testing the free agent waters; he's earned it, and word on the street says he wishes to be a club's number one. Can he withstand 65-70 nights per year? Doesn't matter at this stage. $omeone will give him that opportunity, and rightly so.
But what of 33 year-old Vokoun, Florida's so-called "money guy"? Wasn't he a lock to stay with the organization at least through the end of his contract.
Cap Hit: $5.7 million. 2008-09: $5.5 million. 2009-10: $5.7 million. 2010-11: $6.3 million. 2011-12: UFA
That's big coin, but he's a gamer who can carry a club, minus a few stinkers from time to time. And considering the shots he's faced, his importance to the team is inestimable.
Anderson, on the other hand, is younger (29 in May), has proven his stamina and durability (for stretches), and will be far cheaper than T-Vo. I can't begin to guess (well okay: $2M? $2.5M?) what he may be ultimately offered, but let's call it two bones and add it to the savings general manager Jacques Martin will almost certainly see from the loss of Jay Bouwmeester and the seven million he will command.
In essence, here's the deal: pending approval of a NTC waive, trade Vokoun (Los Angeles, anyone?), sign Anderson and hope for the best with whatever backup can be found (this much is certain: he ain't comin' from Rochester, and Jacob Markstrom is at the very least a year away. Guaranteed.)
Lose Bouw and the potential savings skyrocket to over $10M.
Of course this doesn't account for whatever assets are returned in the Vokoun deal, but the goal for this summer has been set at acquiring scoring - thankfully! - and dollars like those above can unquestionably change a franchise if spent wisely.
On the other hand, GM JM may simply hang on to his starter, allow Andy to walk, and search for another #2. But make no mistake: fans in Sunrise have been mightily spoiled with the performance of Anderson over the past two seasons. It's unrealistic to expect the same juice out of his replacement, and his desire to be a team's go-to guy virtually eliminates his return to Florida if Vokoun remains.
I'm not advocating dealing T-Vo by any stretch, simply getting prepared for the - growing - possibility that it may happen.