If Semyon Varlamov represents the gold standard for what a team might achieve with sparkling (even if unexpected) netminding there are a handful of NHL teams that are salivating at the prospect of simply getting a decent start or two out of their starting netminders.

Not surprisingly these teams are languishing in the early-season standings. That combined with the increased competition for playoff spots given the NHL’s realignment has amped up discussion about alternatives and most specifically how the dominoes might fall vis-à-vis a couple of high-profile netminders -- Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres and erstwhile free agent netminder Ilya Bryzgalov.

While there are other potential options Brian Elliott is the odd man out in St. Louis with Jaroslav Halak playing well and Jake Allen waiting in the wings and veteran Jose Theodore is still without a job. But both Miller and Bryzgalov represent the most interesting options for teams looking to shore up their goaltending with proven players although both come with their own sets of pros and cons.

Bryzgalov of course was bought out of the remaining seven years of his nine-year $51 million contract by the Philadelphia Flyers this offseason and did not find a new NHL home. Instead of returning to the Kontinental Hockey League as many believed he would Bryzgalov is currently working out with the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL and focusing on returning to the NHL. In theory money shouldn’t be much of an issue for Bryzgalov but opportunity and as they say in the real estate business location location location might dictate where he ends up.

Because Bryzgalov’s issues with the Flyers were as much about personality as anything people forget that for long stretches of time Bryzgalov turned in quality starts for the Flyers. The problem was that these stretches were often bookended by bouts of uneven play and the notion that this poor play might have been prompted by the fact that he appeared at times to be whole big universe off his rocker.

Nonetheless Bryzgalov is a former Vezina Trophy nominee he costs nothing but money and term and only requires some NHL team to be able to persuade him to come to town.

Miller represents something entirely different in terms of a goaltending asset. First as a former Vezina Trophy winner who's currently playing at a high level for one of the NHL’s worst teams the Buffalo Sabres Miller is arguably the more attractive asset in terms of pure goaltending. But the veteran netminder and the MVP of the 2010 Olympic tournament in Vancouver also has a limited no-trade clause. And even though he is in the final year of his contract he won’t come cheap in terms of the kinds of assets Buffalo GM Darcy Regier will require in return assuming he can find a team that meets Miller’s requirements.