The Seattle Kraken have found their franchise goalie for the foreseeable future, signing Vezina finalist Philipp Grubauer to a six-year contract.
The Seattle Kraken flipped NHL free agency on its head on Wednesday by signing Vezina finalist Philipp Grubauer to a six-year contract, getting their franchise goalie by stealing him right out from under the Colorado Avalanche’s nose.
Following rumors that negotiations between Grubauer and Avalanche were in danger of falling apart, Seattle was able to swoop in and give Grubauer what he wanted. Grubauer’s contract with the Kraken is a six-year deal with a cap hit of $5.9M, paying him $35.4M over the course of the deal. After this signing, the Kraken still has $15,676,667 remaining in cap space.
Seattle Krakken sign Philipp Grubauer after Avalanche get priced out of bidding
The 29-year old Grubauer had a career year last season with the Avalanche, going 30-9-1 while posting a .922 save percentage and 1.95 goals-against average. He did all of that without having proper backup goaltending support for most of the season, earning him a Vezina nomination for the first time in his career.
Though it likely didn’t hurt that the Avalanche were the league’s best defensive team during the regular season. Regardless, Seattle has much-needed security at goaltending if Grubauer is able to repeat last season’s performance.
Following the Kraken’s expansion draft, it appeared that Seattle was going to go ahead with a goaltending duo of Chris Driedger and Vitek Vanecek, but now the unexpected addition of Grubauer gives the Kraken a lot of options for their goaltending. Grubauer is undoubtedly their starting goalie now, but having Driedger as a backup gives Seattle a surprisingly strong goaltending tandem for the next several seasons.
This signing also raises the possibility that Vanecek could be expendable and moved before too long. Rumors have begun to circulate that the Washington Capitals could be interested in re-acquiring him after losing him in the expansion draft.
As for the Avalanche, this is a painful departure of their starting goaltender that will leave them scrambling for a replacement. Most of the free agent goalie market has already dried up, and odds are they’ll have to turn to the trade market in order to find a starting goalie. Names like Darcy Kuemper, Linus Ullmark, Alex Georgiev, and even Marc-Andre Fleury could be possibilities for them, but they’ll have to move fast in order to not be left without a dance partner when the music stops.