Ville Husso’s 4 Likeliest Free-Agent Destinations if He Leaves the Blues

St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong has a goaltending dilemma. After a struggle-filled regular season, Jordan Binnington, the same goalie he paid handsomely after he helped win the team’s first Stanley Cup, lost his starting role to Ville Husso. After a few bad playoff games, Husso was benched in favor of Binnington, and now, he is an unrestricted free agent and may be gone for good.

Armstrong certainly wants to keep Husso if he can. He said it himself, but he also knows that given the quality of regular season Husso had, has the opportunity to secure both more money and more playing time by going elsewhere, as reported by Lou Korac of NHL.com.

There are two main issues in the way of Armstrong re-signing Husso. First, this year’s free-agent class is very thin on goalie talent. Excluding Jake Oettinger, who’s a restricted free agent, the only other notable goalies on the market are Darcy Kuemper, Jack Campbell, and Marc-Andre Fleury, all of whom don’t have much reason to leave their current teams. After them, Husso and Washington’s Vitek Vanecek are the only remaining free agents who both won at least 15 games and had a better save percentage than the league average last season.

Husso is projected to get a contract around $5 million in average annual value (AAV), which would put him in the neighborhood of Thatcher Demko and Linus Ullmark.

The second issue is Binnington, who’s entering the second season of his six-year contract worth $6 million AAV. It doesn’t make much sense for the Blues to spend nearly $11 million per year on goaltending, especially with more pressing needs on the team, particularly on defense. Furthermore, with his outstanding performance in the playoffs, it seems that he has re-established himself as the starter. Given that, it would be much more reasonable to let Husso walk and spend that money elsewhere.

So, in the event that the Blues don’t keep Husso, where would he go? Let’s take a look at what would be the most likely spots for the Finnish netminder to end up.

 

Buffalo Sabres

Current Cap Space: $35.6 million

For the first time in a long time, there are reasons for optimism with the Buffalo Sabres. The overall record may not indicate it, but they quietly had a very good second half of the season for a rebuilding team. Since the beginning of March, head coach Don Granato’s squad went 16-9-3, and that was thanks to the development of the young core, as budding stars like Tage Thompson, Owen Power, and Rasmus Dahlin all have proved they can be pillars the franchise can continue to build around.

The only position group that doesn’t have one of those pillars is in goal. While Husso, 27, isn’t particularly young, he’s significantly younger than those Buffalo started last season. Both 41-year-old Craig Anderson and 32-year-old Dustin Tokarski are unrestricted free agents (UFA).

Author: Lucy Green