No. 1: Jack Campbell
The most obvious choice (and probably most popular) would be to skip your entre and order the “SOUPPPP” again.
I know Campbell is 30-years-old, but that’s still very young as a goaltender. Realistically, he probably has another five good seasons left in him before we’d expect to see a major decline.
Also, because of his age, we seem to forget that he’s only been a starter in this league for one season. That should be looked at in a positive more than a negative, because if you think about it, Campbell technically just finished his rookie season.
If he made the NHL All-Star team in his “rookie” season, you should expect him to keep this up for this sophomore campaign and beyond.
Campbell has leverage as an Unrestricted Free Agent, but it’s not like some team is going to pay him $6 or $7M-plus to play for them. Matt Murray is obviously a few years younger than him, but he won two Stanley Cup’s and only received a $6.25M contract.
I’d be shocked if another market offered him more than $5M. Also, what team is better for him than the Toronto Maple Leafs? If a team needs a goaltender, it usually means they’re not a good team, so Campbell could take a few more bucks to play on a terrible team, or he could take somewhat of a discount to play in a city that loves him and that he’s familiar with.
Obviously the next two options are great too, but I’d be shocked if Campbell isn’t the Leafs goaltender next year.