Let's Explore: Backup Goalies
It's no secret that the VHL is changing. I'd wager to say that the VHL has changed more over the past 10 seasons then any other time I've been in this league. Thanks to the hard work of multiple people in this league, the member base of the VHL is (most likely) at an all-time high. This is resulting in a change to what is considered the "standard" roster. Previously, a roster generally consisted of 6 forwards, 4ish defensemen, and 1 goalies. However, it wasn't completely uncommon to see teams 3 defensemen, and it was a little more uncommon to see 5 forwards. What was always consistent was the 1 goalie. However, that is not the case today. More and more often, teams are keeping back up goalies on the roster, usually young draftees who either aren't ready to be a full time starter yet, or don't have the potential to become a starter on a contending team. Let's look how we got here.
The Rule Book
So I'm sort of going to toot my own horn here - I originally proposed the idea of a backup goalie salary cap exemption in the Board of Governors all the way back on June 22, 2015. At the time, we had a large number of goalies (not necessarily skaters, but goalies specifically) coming into the league and were really going to run out of starting goalie spots. Eventually, this rule was implemented (if I had to guess I'd say some time in late 2017 or early 2018, but I can't be bothered to actually look up when) and back up goalies saw their salary cap reduced by up to $2 million for the goalie with the lowest cap hit on the team. Even so, it wasn't something that was used that often. However, within the past 5 seasons or so, the use of a back up goalie has become more and more prominent. These goalies are almost always mid to late round draft picks from their own team. Now let's take a look at who is and who is not using an active back up goalie in Season 67
No Backup Goalie
Toronto Legion -
The only goalie currently on Toronto is JB Rift, a veteran goaltender drafted in S64 with 565 practice hours. They currently show no draft picks or prospects, so it's unlikely they'll have one next season either. Given who the GM is, this is the least surprising thing of this whole media spot.
Calgary Wranglers -
Calgary is manned between the pipes by star goalie Brick Wahl. A S64 goalie that is a legitimate star, there's no one else currently on the roster to share the crease with. There are no prospects currently affiliated with the team that play goalie.
Moscow Menace -
The goaltending situation in Moscow is a little complicated, but it's a good problem for the team to have. Currently, there are two goalies on the roster - veteran Roger Sterling and youngster Owen May. Currently, it appears that Sterling is the starter, as he has started 12 game to May's 8, and also has roughly 200 more practice hours than the second year player. Given May's improvement throughout the year and the fact that Sterling is currently scheduled to become a free agent going into the last season of his career, May may (heh) get the starting spot back next season. Justin Cole is the only other goaltender affiliated with the organisation, but his development appeared to have stalled out, and it's unlikely that he'll ever make the majors.
Malmo Nighthawks -
Malmo currently has two young goalies on the team, but neither of them can be considered true starting calibre goalies at this point in time. Michael Johnson is a rookie goaltender who has a bright future ahead of him, but he currently only has 344 practice hours to his name. Juan Jandice is a rookie as well who just barely made the major league team this year. Based on games played (1 for Jandice and 19 for Johnson) it's apparent who the starter is. As long as he keeps up his good development, the net should be Johnson's for years to come. There are no other goalies affiliated with the team.
Riga Reign -
Riga has one of the most defined starter/backup pairings in the league. Star goalie Kallis Kriketers is the starter, and Clayton Park is the backup. Given that Kriketers is only in the 5th year of his career and will most likely have enough practice hours to at least reduce the impact of the worst years of his depreciation, it's very unlikely that Park will be anything more than a backup over the next couple of seasons if he remains in Riga. Depending on his development, it's possible that Park is able to take over a starting spot for another team during the later stages of his career. Riga also has 3 other goalie prospects - Colin Conklin, Sean McGee, and Sunny Burst. While Burst is the most developed of the 3, he has trained within the past couple of months. Conklin and McGee are slowly but surely improving, but don't appear to have the potential to be more than a backup.
Helsink Titans -
Helsinki is another team that has a defined starter and backup. Star goalie Alexander Pepper is the starter, and rookie Kolur Bjoernsson is the backup. I could copy and paste everything from Riga's goalie situation and paste it here, and most of it would apply. Similar to Park, Bjoernsson could develop into a passable starter, but it most likely won't be any time soon if he stays in Helsinki. There are no other goalies affiliated with the Titans.
Seattle Bears -
Seattle is a rebuilding team that currently has two young goalies, Chase and Rayz Funk. Funk was recently selected 2nd overall by the Bears and is currently well on his way to becoming a star goalie in this league. Chase is currently on his second team in his second VHL season and his development appears to have stalled. Barring a major trade, it appears Funk will be manning the crease in Seattle for years to come. There are no other goalies affiliated with the Bears.
Vancouver Wolves -
The future in net for the Wolves is somewhat murky, but I wouldn't call it a "bad" situation. Current starter Ismond Kingfisher is in the 6th year of his career, while his backup, Greg Eagles, was selected 19th overall in the most recent draft. The net is Kingfisher's this year, but given that he will soon start seeing his skills decline and has had very uneven development at best over the past season, it's entirely possible that Eagles takes over the reigns next season, and almost certainly will no later than the season after that. There are no other goalies affiliated with the Wolves
It's a Crowded Net
HC Davos Dynamo -
This much is certain - Finn Davison is the starter in net going forward. However, after that, it gets a little complicated. The Dynamo are one of two teams that has two backup goalies on their roster. Pekka Pouta was a long-term development project who, although considered a rookie in the VHL, is in his 3rd year of career eligibility. Pouta has developed well recently and may eventually become a mid-range starting calibre goalie, but like many other current backups, it most likely won't be in the immediate future or with his current team. The other goalie on the roster is fellow rookie Wrike Chyrnoble. Chyrnoble has not appeared in a game yet this season and has had spotty development over the past month, so his future in Davos and the league itself is uncertain, but he has plenty of time to improve. To crowd things even more, Davos also has Virgil Ligriv in the minors, and based on his development, it appears that he will reach the VHL next year as well.
New York Americans -
While New York may have three goalies on their roster, in reality, they have none. Tristan Iseult and Arvid Aamo are older goalies who aren't long for this league, while once promising prospect Joe Nixon has seen his development stall over the past two months. It's entirely possible that Nixon's development gets back on track, but as of now, the Americans do not have a viable starting goalie on their roster, and don't appear to have one going forward either. New York may be the perfect landing spot for one of the backup goalies that will soon be pushing for a starting role. Thorvald Gunnarsson will make the VHL next year, but it's uncertain if his upside is that of an above average starter for a contending team.
The majority of the league has backup goalies, but it's uncertain if this is by choice or solely due to necessity. There are a couple of backups who may be pushing for a starting spot soon. At the same time, it's rumored that there may be expansion within the next couple of seasons, so that will add some additional spots as well.