Hand the No. 1 job to Gustavsson next season and sign a good backup from the list of free agents. Look for a veteran free agent who can act as a mentor to the 25-year-old Gustavsson and be capable of playing as many as 50 games if the youngster’s development still lags. Sign or trade for the best possible goaltender money and cap space can buy. Gustavsson can either back up and wait his turn or be traded for another asset.
One option that might present itself is that if the Florida Panthers are out of playoff contention, they might put Tomas Vokoun on the trade block. Vokoun has 1 year left at $5.7 million. There’s JS Giguere at $7 million ($6 million cap hit) for next year. Jonas Hiller is also a UFA at seasons end. Nashville has 2 UFA goalies in Dan Ellis and Pekka Rinne, and they won’t be re-signing both. Other free agent goalies are Martin Biron (Isles), Chris Mason (Blues) and Marty Turco (Stars)