33-Year-Old Goalie – Columbus Blue Jackets
Curtis McElhinney Contract Information:
Re-signed with the Blue Jackets on a two-year, $1.6 million contract in June 2015.
McElhinney will miss the rest of the 2015-16 campaign after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.
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Curtis McElhinney: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
McElhinney received his biggest workload ever last year due to Sergei Bobrovsky's injury woes, and he delivered a surprisingly solid .914 save percentage, making him a roughly average NHL netminder. He returns in a backup role this season, and with Bobrovsky currently healthy, McElhinney's workload is expected to dip back toward 20 starts. Of course, the Russian netminder has certainly not been immune to injury throughout his career, so McElhinney will surely be ready on standby as necessary.
McElhinney did yeoman's work as Sergei Bobrovsky's backup last season, seeing action in 28 games with a 2.70 GAA and .909 save percentage. The Blue Jackets seem content to let him caddy for the Russian starter until one of their younger netminders proves they are ready for the NHL. Unless Bobrovsky gets hurt, McElhinney won't have much fantasy relevance.
After a stellar season for AHL Springfield last season, McElhinney enters camp as the favorite to back up reigning Vezina winner Sergei Bobrovsky. Barring an injury or major regression by Bobrovsky though, McElhinney won't see much action in that role.
The veteran netminder will provide AHL depth for Columbus, and could see spot duty with the big club if injuries pile up to Sergei Bobrovsky and Steve Mason. McElhinney has played a total of 30 NHL games over the past three seasons for three different clubs: Anaheim, Ottawa and Phoenix before landing in Columbus.
McElhinney spent time in both Anaheim and Ottawa last season, posting a combined 9-13-1 record (including two shutouts) to complement a 3.18 GAA and .897 save percentage. McElhinney will likely not win a considerable netminding role in the desert, but with the Coyotes losing trusted veteran Ilya Bryzgalov to the Flyers, the former Duck will provide experienced depth at the position.
McElhinney was traded to the Ducks last March in a swap of backup netminders. After years of backing up Miikka Kiprusoff in Calgary and seeing very little playing time, McElhinney could be in position to make a career-high number of starts behind Ducks No. 1 Jonas Hiller. In leagues that count total saves rather than save percentage, McElhinney may have some value in deeper formats since the Ducks' blue-line corps has significantly regressed following the retirement of Scott Niedermayer. At any rate, look for McElhinney to finish the year with something closer to 15-20 starts than the half dozen or so he was used for in Calgary.
Expect McElhinney to play more frequently this season as new Flames head coach Brent Sutter made it clear that he plans to rest starter Miikka Kiprusoff more often. The problem is that McElhinney was horrific in his limited work last season. He managed to win one game while losing six. He also posted an unsightly 3.59 goals against average and an .889 save percentage. With those numbers you wouldn't want him on your team even if he was a starter. If you own Kiprusoff you need to know his name but even if he is pressed into action you would need to be desperate to use him. Keep in mind that if he struggles he could be replaced by either Leland Irving or Matt Keetley who will be biding their time in Abbotsford (AHL).
McElhinney looks to be the frontrunner for the No. 2 goalie spot in Calgary, despite being replaced by Curtis Joseph late last season. McElhinney did not play terribly in five games with the Flames last season, putting together an 0-2 record with a 2.00 GAA. Even so, Miikka Kiprusoff rarely gets games off, so McElhinney will see 5-10 games at the very maximum.
McElhinney will battle with Leland Irving for the backup spot to Miikka Kiprusoff this preseason. However, even if he wins the spot, he wins a job similar to Brett Favre's backup, as Kipper has played 73 and 74 games the last two seasons. His job would be to keep the sky from falling when Kiprusoff needs a rest and nothing more. McElhinney could be a good starter in the future, but that is a way off.
McElhinney will likely toil in the minors for all of 2006-07; the Flames have enough depth at the goaltender position at the moment.