Thomas Greiss was a shot in the arm for the Phoenix Coyotes: he's was capable backup who simply never had a fair shake in San Jose. Although his 10-8-5 record was not particularly decent, his .920 save percentage and his two shutouts are more than enough to justify his spot on the Coyotes' roster. Phoenix would love to have him continue to back up Mike Smith, but how likely is that?
If Greiss decides he wants more playing time, it seems like there would be more than a few potentially interested suitors for his talents. While most teams are always looking for a serviceable backup, a few franchises currently have quite a bit of flux in their systems that would potentially enable Greiss to either compete for a No. 1 job or more equitably split time in a tandem system. Let's see who some of these teams might be.
- Evgeni Nabokov (15-14-8, 2.74 GAA, .905 SV%, UFA)
- Anders Nilsson (8-7-2, 3.11 GAA, .896 SV%, RFA)
- Karri Ramo (17-15-4, 2.65 GAA, .911 SV%, UFA after 2014-15 season)
- Joni Ortio (4-4-0, 2.52 GAA, .891 SV%, RFA)
- Ondrej Pavelec (22-26-7, 3.01 GAA, .901 SV%, UFA after 2016-17 season)
- Al Montoya (13-8-3, 2.30 GAA, .920 SV%, UFA)
- Michael Hutchinson (2-1-0, 1.64 GAA, .943 SV%, RFA)
Other Non-Starting Roles
There are a variety of teams that would love to improve their fortunes in the backup role. The Carolina Hurricanes, the Florida Panthers, the New Jersey Devils, the Dallas Stars and the Washington Capitals are all teams that could potentially be shopping for a No. 2 goaltender in the open market this summer.
Each of these teams appears to be pretty set in terms of their starter, but all have pending UFA backups that for a variety of reasons may not be brought back into the fold.
Both Mark Visentin and Louis Domingue are still not quite at the point where they can reliably earn NHL minutes, and the fact that Mike Smith plays the lion's share of games in Phoenix makes someone looking for ice time hesitant to sign on the dotted line.
Greiss has been the best backup the team has had in a long time, and General Manager Don Maloney should make a concerted effort to keep him in the Valley until Domingue or Visentin prove they are ready for the big show.