SUN Hockey Pool

Lookin' out for No. 2

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:37 AM ET

CHICAGO -- A Stanley Cup title is more than just a dream for the Calgary Flames.

GM/head coach Darryl Sutter believes he has built a realistic contender for the crown.

Should No. 1 goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff go down to a long-term injury, however, those expectations would evaporate.

By placing backup goaltender Philippe Sauve on waivers, and then calling him out, Sutter doesn't appear to believe he has a reliable No. 2 man.

That leaves plenty of questions about where he may turn for

insurance.

Here's a peek at a half-dozen netminders Sutter may have his eye on:

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ANDREW RAYCROFT

BOSTON BRUINS

Two years ago, Raycroft won the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie.

Now, he's sliding down the depth chart thanks to a disappointing season -- 3.68 goals-against average and .882 save percentage -- combined with the strong performances from Hannu Toivonen and journeyman Tim Thomas.

Due to become a restricted free agent after his one-year, $1.35-million US contract expires, Raycroft started the year on a bad note by reporting late to training camp because of the time it took to sign a new deal.

The Bruins may want more in return than Flames wish to give up but Sutter would be wise to investigate the possibility of acquiring Raycroft.

Calgary doesn't appear certain either prospects Brent Krahn or Curtis McElhinney will develop into No. 1 goalies, whereas Raycroft could bounce back and eventually take over starting duties if needed.

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PATRICK LALIME

ST. LOUIS BLUES

In the minors after a disastrous first half with the Blues, Lalime has a couple of strikes against him: His $2.4-million US contract and his performance in the NHL this season -- a 3.97 GAA, .866 save percentage and 3-11-4 record before being dispatched to the AHL.

Undoubtedly the Blues would love to clear Lalime's salary from the books and they may be willing to pick up half his remaining salary should a team claim him off waivers.

The Flames could guarantee the Blues they'd claim Lalime but another team might intervene.

Lalime has plenty of playoff experience from his days in Ottawa -- success, too, in spells.

Plus, he's shown signs of regaining his form with AHL Peoria.

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MIKA NORONEN

BUFFALO SABRES

It sounds perfect -- The Miikka and Mika Show.

Languishing as a third-stringer for the Sabres, Noronen and his $665,000 US salary would be an attractive option for plenty of teams needing a goalie.

For some reason, though, Noronen remains in limbo.

His numbers aren't appealing -- a 4.26 GAA and .844 save percentage in four outings.

And his playoff experience is non-existent.

But Noronen has shown flashes of becoming a solid NHLer.

Buffalo GM Darcy Regier will eventually make a move with one of his goalies but nobody is sure what it'll be.

It's likely Martin Biron, with a $2.13-million salary, or Noronen will be traded but Regier has been happy to hold firm until the deal he wants is offered. Keep in mind, Sutter has swung a couple of trades with Regier. Another one isn't out of the question.

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DWAYNE ROLOSON

MINNESOTA WILD

Both of Minnesota's goaltenders are due to become unrestricted free agents and a common theory is the Wild will target Manny Fernandez as the one to keep.

Roloson -- whose deal is worth $1.672 million US -- is older and has put up weaker numbers this season, especially in the win-loss column. He has posted only five wins in 20 games.

His veteran presence would benefit the Flames but Roloson's playoff experience is limited.

Nobody is certain what the price tag will be for pending unrestricted free agents in the new NHL.

The Flames can ill afford to deal a key roster players for what would be a rental.

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VESA TOSKALA

SAN JOSE SHARKS

It worked well for Calgary last time a goalie came from Silicon Valley. Why not try again?

Toskala, due to be an unrestricted free agent with a $684,000 US contract, comes with the right salary and has a history with Kiprusoff.

Again, what would have to be sent the other way isn't certain.

Toskala has posted a 3.20 GAA and .875 save percentage in an injury-riddled season.

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JAMIE MCLENNAN

FLORIDA PANTHERS

The former Flame, soon to be a UFA, earned Sutter's respect by playing through a cracked sternum in the middle of the 2003-04 season.

With his $513,000 contract and the Panthers need for everything, a pitch for McLennan and his 3.09 GAA wouldn't be hard.

The question is whether the Flames believe he could withstand a playoff barrage.


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