Assessing emergency goalie plans

When Florida Panthers goaltenders Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya were both injured in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, it forced the team into panic mode.

In a bizarre but not unique set of circumstances, the Panthers scrambled to find a goalie, eventually suiting up goalie coach Robb Tallas as their emergency backup.

Ultimately, Tallas wasn't pressed into action. Luongo returned to the game after undergoing a CT scan and went back in for Montoya, who was limping through a groin injury.

The situation made us wonder whether each team has a contingency plan for such an incident, so we reached out to all 30 to find out who would play net if both goalies go down. In many instances, it would be the goaltending coach. But for a non-roster goaltender to play, the team would need to sign him to a professional-tryout agreement (PTO) and the league needs to approve it. In some cases, it would be a former Marine, video coach or equipment guy.

"Obviously, the Florida situation was unique," a Predators spokesman said via email. "It will likely lead to more discussion on a league-wide basis as to possible options should the situation present itself somewhere else, and we will await further direction." The GMs discussed the matter further at their meetings this week in Boca Raton, Fla.

So, here's a list of teams, with a fun possibility to consider for the emergency replacement as well as the designated goalie, where applicable. Not all teams have a contingency plan in place and not all teams responded to our inquiry.


Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks found themselves in this situation earlier this season, and goaltending consultant Dwayne Roloson was on standby. The 45-year-old former NHLer is in his second season in his current role with the team. He played 16 seasons in the NHL with six different teams -- Calgary, Buffalo, Minnesota, Edmonton, the New York Islanders and Tampa Bay. He finished his career with a 227-257-42 record, a 2.72 goals-against average, a .908 save percentage and 29 shutouts in 606 NHL games.


Arizona Coyotes: The desert wouldn't need to freeze over for Sean Burke to get between the pipes. The Coyotes goaltending coach hasn't played in the NHL since 2006-07, but Burke, 48, is the go-to guy if needed today. Burke spent 18 seasons in the NHL and was a three-time All-Star. He posted a 324-341-101-9 record, with a 2.96 GAA and a .902 save percentage in 820 games with New Jersey, Hartford/Carolina, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Florida, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles and Phoenix.


Boston Bruins: As cool as it would be to watch the team's longtime goaltending coach Bob Essensa put on the pads again there's no way Essensa, 50, would play in a game if needed. He played 14 seasons in the NHL for six teams -- Winnipeg, Detroit, Edmonton, Phoenix, Vancouver and Buffalo. He's been the Bruins' goalie coach for 12 seasons and occasionally will practice with the team if needed, but there's no way he would play in a game. Next in line for the Bruins would be the team's massage therapist Derek Repucci. He's in his ninth season with the Bruins as the assistant athletic trainer and massage therapist.


Buffalo Sabres:The Sabres did not respond (they have more to worry about), so we've picked goaltending coach Arturs Irbe as a cool choice to play net. The 48-year-old played 13 seasons with the San Jose Sharks, Dallas Stars, Vancouver Canucks and Carolina Hurricanes.


Calgary Flames: Flames goaltending coach Jordan Sigalet would go in if his team needs a goalie. After Sigalet was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis while at Bowling Green, doctors told him his dream of playing professional hockey was not realistic. He defied those odds and turned pro, playing for the Boston Bruins' AHL affiliate in Providence. Sigalet played one game for the Bruins. He was called up from the minors and served as Boston's backup on Jan. 7, 2006. Then-Bruins starter Andrew Raycroft suffered an injury in the final minute of regulation, so Sigalet played the final 43 seconds, which was the only time he would play in the NHL. Sigalet, now 34, is in his first season as the Flames' goalie coach.


Carolina Hurricanes: When all else fails, you can always count on a Marine. Jorge Alves has been the team's equipment manager for the past three seasons, and was the assistant equipment manager for the previous seven seasons. After serving in the United States Marine Corps from 1997-2001, Alves, a Stoughton, Massachusetts, native, attended North Carolina State University from 2002-04 and was the starting goalie for the Wolfpack's club hockey team. After graduation, he played professionally in the ECHL and the SPHL. He has served as the practice goalie for the Hurricanes during his tenure with the team and would get the nod.


Chicago Blackhawks: It shouldn't matter that Tony Esposito is 71 because the Hall-of-Fame goaltender would once again look terrifying if he dusted off his legendary mask and suited up. Unfortunately, he wouldn't be the choice. That job would likely fall on Blackhawks goalie coach Jimmy Waite. Waite, now 45, played 11 seasons for Chicago, San Jose and Phoenix. In his first season as goalie coach for the Blackhawks, Waite has practiced with team when needed.


Colorado Avalanche: It would be awesome to see former Avs goalie and current coach Patrick Roy strap on the pads. A Hall of Fame goaltender and four-time Stanley Cup champion, "Saint Patrick" would no doubt make his presence felt. He'd probably finish with 30-plus saves for the win, too. However, that won't be happening. Because the Avalanche have three goalies on the active roster -- Reto Berra, Calvin Pickard, Semyon Varlamov -- it shouldn't be an issue. If there were a scenario in which all three goalies were injured, Roy would use one of the position players to fill the void.

Blue Jackets

Columbus Blue Jackets: The perfect candidate would be the team's president of hockey operations, former NHL goalie John Davidson. The 62-year-old played 10 seasons in the NHL, but his career ended during 1982-83 season. Realistically, goaltender coach Ian Clark would be the go-to guy in Columbus. During the 2013-14 season, Clark actually signed a PTO when one of the team's goaltenders suffered back spasms during warm-ups, but Clark was never needed. Columbus also could use the services of pro video scout Mike Battaglia, who played college hockey and has signed a PTO with the team in the past but was not needed.


Dallas Stars: Deep in the heart of Texas, the Stars have plenty of depth. Coach Lindy Ruff tossed around a few names recently if the team needed a goalie in an emergency: former Stars goalie Marty Turco or goaltending coach Mike Valley.

Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings: The Red Wings did not reply to our inquiry. Let's cut to the chase and assign this role to Dominik Hasek. The Hall of Famer is only 50 and his body should be well rested by now.


Edmonton Oilers: Since it's such a rare occurrence, the Oilers declined to participate in this story. But the organization should go with goalie coach Dustin Schwartz. In his first season with his current role, the 35-year-old played junior and collegiate hockey but never professionally. A chance to suit up in an NHL game would probably be a dream come true for Schwartz.


Florida Panthers: Tallas would be the guy in Florida. The 41-year-old has been the team's goaltending coach for the past six seasons, and he's had to dress as the team's backup goalie in the past. He last played in an NHL game on Feb. 19, 2001. During his 13-year playing career, Tallas appeared in 99 games with the Bruins (1995-2000) and the Blackhawks (2000-01). Also, the team's recent contest winner to sign an amateur tryout agreement was to be decided in the second intermission of Tuesday's game against the Canadiens.


Los Angeles Kings: The defending Stanley Cup champions decided not to divulge their secret weapon, but goaltending coach and former NHL goalie Bill Ranford would be the obvious choice. The 47-year-old won a pair of Stanley Cups with the Oilers in 1988 and 1990.


Minnesota Wild: The Wild have three goalies -- Niklas Backstrom, Devan Dubnyk, Darcy Kuemper -- on their active roster, so if they are all in the building, Minnesota is safe. If that doesn't work, let's go with goaltending coach Bob Mason. The 53-year-old has been the team's coaching staff for 13 seasons. He played in 145 career NHL games from 1984 to 1991 and posted a 55-65-16 record.


Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens did not respond with a plan. So, since Patrick Roy is not available, we decided the Habs should bring back Jose Theodore for a goof.


Nashville Predators: The Predators replied and said the team is currently discussing a contingency plan. While they figure that out, we figure they should look no further than first-year goalie coach Ben Vanderklok. During his playing career, Vanderklok, 32, spent four seasons with the Amsterdam Tigers of the Netherlands Elite League. He also played two seasons for the OHL's Barrie Colts.


New Jersey Devils: The Devils did not respond to this inquiry, but what about goaltending coach Chris Terreri? The 49-year-old played 13 seasons for the Devils, Sharks, Blackhawks and Islanders. He's been a member of the Devils' coaching staff for the past 14 seasons.


New York Islanders: The Islanders did not participate but their choice would likely be goalie coach and former NHLer and Team USA Olympian Mike Dunham. Dunham, 42, played 10 seasons with the Devils -- sharing a Jennings Trophy with Martin Brodeur in 1996-97 -- Predators, Rangers, Atlanta Thrashers and Islanders, and has been the Islanders goalie coach since 2008-09.


New York Rangers: The Rangers declined to participate. Former NHLer Mike Richter spent 14 seasons with the Rangers, winning the Stanley Cup in 1994, and could be a good candidate to don the pads once again.


Ottawa Senators: The Senators routinely have a goalie on standby, usually a college player or former junior player on game nights in Ottawa. The team also tries to identify one or two goalies in road cities whom they could use in case of an emergency.


Philadelphia Flyers: The Flyers did not to participate, but let's just say general manager Ron Hextall would be brave enough to play once again. Hextall, 50, a former Conn Smythe and Vezina trophy winner, played for 13 seasons, making stops with the Flyers, Islanders and Nordiques.


Pittsburgh Penguins: The Penguins didn't share their plan. In this case, we think goalie coach Mike Bales, 43, should get the nod. An 18-year pro, Bales played 23 games in the NHL: one with the Bruins and 22 with the Senators.


San Jose Sharks: The Sharks responded that their goaltender contingency plan would depend on where the team was playing and who was available to fill the role.


St. Louis Blues: The Blues did not respond, but this one is easy. Martin Brodeur could be taken out of the front office and asked to don the pads once again. After 21 seasons with the Devils, Brodeur, 42, played seven games for the Blues this season before he retired and was named senior adviser to general manager Doug Armstrong.


Tampa Bay Lightning: The Lightning don't designate a third goalie for this situation, but it would be PR guy Brian Breseman. Goalie coach Frantz Jean would also be an option.

Maple Leafs

Toronto Maple Leafs: I don't care that Johnny Bower is 90. I would choose him as my emergency goaltender and I would at least give him a mask. A season ago, it would have been then-assistant coach Scott Gordon. This season it would be ... Oh, wait, the team is busy with other issues.


Vancouver Canucks: The Canucks did not respond. So, we'll give the job to goalie coach Roland Melanson, 54. The three-time Stanley Cup champion played 12 seasons with the Islanders, Minnesota North Stars, Kings, Devils and Canadiens.


Washington Capitals: The Capitals did not participate, but Olaf Kolzig would be an interesting choice. Kolzig played 16 seasons for the Capitals (1989-2008) and finished his career with the Lightning during the 2008-09 season. Currently, the 44-year-old is the professional development coach for the Capitals.


Winnipeg Jets: The Jets have designated Wade Flaherty as their emergency choice. Currently in his fourth season as the team's goalie coach, Flaherty, 47, retired from playing in 2008 after 19 pro seasons. He played in the NHL, AHL, ECHL and IHL.