The free agent frenzy in the National Hockey League has died down considerably over the last few days and although there are still some notable names out there, the pickings are starting to get slim. Perhaps this is more true at the goaltending position than any other with very few unrestricted free agent goaltenders still on the market, and even fewer good ones to choose from.
This list alone will show that teams in search of a quality backup for next season will be struggling to find an answer on the free agent market, given that perhaps all of the names on this list will merely be hoping for an NHL contract of any kind come next season. Again there aren't many names to choose from, but here are what I believe to be the 3 best remaining options in terms of goaltenders.
At 40 years of age Miller is the oldest man on this list but I have to give the guy credit, he's not a terrible backup despite his advanced age by the standards of the NHL. Miller is coming off a decent season with the Anaheim Ducks, who were not amazing by any stretch of the imagination this past season, and in 23 games with that organization he recorded a 3.10 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. Retirement has to be on the table for Miller as well, but we will see where this goes.
The longtime face of Detroit Red Wings goaltending has been allowed to walk away from his former team after a whopping 543 games with that organization. Howard is coming off a bad season in which he recorded a 4.20 goals against average and .882 save percentage over 27 games, but his team was also a disaster last season. Howard wants a chance to show that the drop off wasn't entirely on him, and given his performance over the two prior seasons I do believe he may prove to be a serviceable backup next season.
I have to be honest I don't think Craig Anderson has a great deal left to offer but it was either him or Michael Hutchinson getting this spot and given Anderson's body of work I feel more comfortable putting him here, perhaps a cop out. Anderson struggled with off ice issues this season so perhaps that impacted his performance and I could see him serving as a veteran backup much in the same way that I could see Jimmy Howard doing.
If all 3 of these men do decide to come back for one more season they will no doubt be competing with one another for the same jobs, limited opportunities that will no doubt result in one or more of them failing to secure a contract next season.