Random stuff: KHL goaltenders

Jonathan Willis
January 17 2009 06:00AM

So I’ll admit off the top that this post has almost nothing to do with the Edmonton Oilers specifically, beyond the fact that it could count as beating the dead “Garon has no trade value at all” horse. It is hockey-related though, and features Ray Emery!

Since I mentioned Ray Emery, let’s start with him. He recently played in the incredibly cool looking KHL All-Star game, and his rather nice KHL numbers have sparked rumours of an NHL return next season. Still, for any GMs with an interest in Emery, I’d advise that they at least check out another goalie.

  • Emery: 19-6-0, 1.99 GAA, 0.929 SV%
  • Other Guy: 11-4-6, 1.69 GAA, 0.941 SV%

The other guy is Vitaly Kolesnik, a Kazakh goaltender who has spent the last two seasons in Russia after coming to North America in 2005-06. Kolesnik was fairly good; he went 3-3 for Colorado (3.24 GAA, .888 SV%) and outplayed the other six goaltenders on his AHL team, posting a .917 SV% and being the only goaltender with a better than .500 record (it may also be worth noting that Cam Ward went 0-2 with a .915 SV% on that team).

I don’t mean to take anything away from Emery, because Kolesnik is a good goaltender too, but I think it’s probably fair to say that the gaudy statistics Emery has put up have more to do with the quality of his team than a superhuman performance on his part.

Of course, NHL GMs make funny decisions all the time with goaltenders. Consider the New York Islanders, who decided to bring back Wade Dubielewicz, who had been recently bought out of his KHL contract. Here’s Dubielewicz, compared to his teammate Stanislav Galimov:

  • Dubielewicz: 11-8-3, 2.77 GAA, 0.892 SV%
  • Galimov: 17-3-1, 1.91 GAA, 0.924 SV%

Obviously, there’s a transition involved to playing in Russia. Perhaps Dubielewicz’s play was affected by off-ice issues. Still, it seems odd to me that the Islanders would chose to sign Dubielewicz over, say, claiming Curtis Sanford, when Dubielewicz was massively outplayed by Galimov, an undrafted player who only established himself as a KHL-level netminder this season (last season, he’d sunk as low as the third-tier Russian league at one point). Would it have been that hard to finagle Mathieu Garon or Jeff Deslauriers out of Edmonton?

Another North American player over in the KHL right now is Tyler Moss. Moss was once Oilers’ property (acquired for Peter Sarno) and he played for the Roadrunners during the NHL lockout. He’s had cups of coffee in the NHL (most notably with the 1998-99 Calgary Flames), but mostly he’s been an above-average AHL net-minder. Here’s Moss, compared to his teammate Sergei Borisov:

  • Moss: 8-13-3, 2.77 GAA, .903 SV%
  • Borisov: 8-10-1, 2.33 GAA, .916 SV%

I point this out because Borisov is an undrafted 23-year old, and right now he’s one of the better goaltenders in what is either the second-best or third-best league in the world. Galimov, who I pointed out above, is an undrafted 20-year old, and he’s right in Emery territory stats-wise.

I believe this is a big part of the reason why top-level AHL goalies and NHL backups have minimal trade value -- there are a ton of capable goaltenders over in Europe right now. Often, they come over to North America and immediately post incredible numbers. If I were an NHL GM, I’d never draft a goaltender, with the exception of those franchise-level talents that typically go within the first five picks.

Most teams have a goaltenders in Europe who could step in immediately at the backup level -- we’ve seen Jussi Markkanen do it here in Edmonton, and I’m fairly sure that Bjorn Bjurling would be decent as a backup/AHL-level goalie if the Oilers system wasn’t already jammed.

There’s no upside to drafting and developing average goaltenders. They’re available as free agents (Mathieu Garon), for low cost in the trade market (Jason Labarbera) or off the waiver wire (Curtis Sanford). That’s a big part of the reason why I don’t understand the Oilers’ reluctance to waive Garon, or trade away Jeff Deslauriers. Do either offer anything not cheaply available on the free agent market, or in Europe, this summer?

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Jonathan Willis
January 17 2009, 01:13PM
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Jason: Sincerely, thanks for the updates here. That inside information is gold.

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#52 Jonathan Willis
January 17 2009, 01:16PM
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Speaking of a different kind of inside information, I now have a 3-0 lead on Eklund. I made a couple fo bad bets, though; if Eklund does it again, I suggest a reader contest where we all submit lists, and at deadline time, the closest person gets a prize.

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#53 Travis Dakin
January 17 2009, 01:19PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: @ Jason Gregor:

You guys rock.

@ jono: @ Chris:

Exactly! holy crap people.

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#54 Darcy
January 17 2009, 01:22PM
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@ Jason Gregor: "Once Hemsky, Nilsson, Stortini and Pisani are back some bodies have to go and I’d suspect Brule will be one of them. Brule can only play four more games before he has to clear waivers."

Don't forget that JF Jacques takes a roster spot when he comes off the IR. He can go down for conditioning without clearing waivers, but he will still have to be on the Oiler's roster.

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#55 Jason Gregor
January 17 2009, 01:22PM
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rindog wrote:

I wonder how may other NHL clubs have traded the away their MVP from the previous season for a couple of AHL players and 4th round draft pick??

Just to clarify Ales Hemsky wasn't traded and he was named their MVP last season. Garon only played in 47 games. He won 26 of them. Not close to being a team MVP. 10 of those wins came in the shootout. Yes he was stellar in the shootout, but his GAA (2.66) and save% (.913)were both decent, but ranked 25th and 17th respectively.

I think you might be over blowing the value of Garon. But you wouldn't be the first Oiler fan to think the players are better than they actually are. Sorry, but that is a problem in this town from time-to-time.

Garon is now on his 4th NHL team, and probably will sign with his 5th in the summer. That makes him a journeyman goaltender. He can be great for stretches, but he never has been able to maintain #1 status in his eight years in the NHL.

In case you forgot who the other award winners for the Oilers last season:

First year Oiler: Cogliano and Gagner D-Man of the year: Gilbert Defensive forward: Pisani Most Popular: Hemsky Unsung Hero: Staios

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#56 Jason Gregor
January 17 2009, 01:24PM
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Darcy wrote:

Don’t forget that JF Jacques takes a roster spot when he comes off the IR. He can go down for conditioning without clearing waivers, but he will still have to be on the Oiler’s roster.

He won't be a factor until February, and late February at that. He is still a ways away from even considering body contact.

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#57 Jason Gregor
January 17 2009, 01:29PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Speaking of a different kind of inside information, I now have a 3-0 lead on Eklund. I made a couple fo bad bets, though; if Eklund does it again, I suggest a reader contest where we all submit lists, and at deadline time, the closest person gets a prize.

I hope you beat him by 10...He is a joke...some of the writers on there are very good, while others have no access to the team and no real sources, so why anyone would believe a word of what they write amazes me. Since Jokinen and Gratton were both put on waivers, shouldn't you get 1/2 points for those...haha

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#58 Mike
January 17 2009, 01:30PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Since Jokinen and Gratton were both put on waivers, shouldn’t you get 1/2 points for those…haha

F. Kaberle too, wasn't he?

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#59 CurtisS
January 17 2009, 01:46PM
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Just curious.....Did Gregor and Pookie make up in the Oilers Dressing room??

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#60 Jason Gregor
January 17 2009, 01:48PM
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CurtisS wrote:

Just curious…..Did Gregor and Pookie make up in the Oilers Dressing room??

Sober up man...The guy isn't in the room...we all know that...

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#61 Jonathan Willis
January 17 2009, 01:50PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

I hope you beat him by 10…He is a joke…some of the writers on there are very good, while others have no access to the team and no real sources, so why anyone would believe a word of what they write amazes me.

Yeah, he's pretty out there. He really has some pretty legitimate writers on his site (I like Tolensky, but Strickland and others are good) but he's so full of crap that I'm continually amazed he can hang on to them.

Seriously, I think we should have a reader contest next time - I bet half the folks who comment here can do as good a job as Eklund over the long term.

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#62 Jonathan Willis
January 17 2009, 01:50PM
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@ Mike:

Pretty sure Kaberle was too.

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#63 raged
January 17 2009, 01:52PM
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someone please post a post, i cant handle looking at tencers mug anymore on the main page.

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#64 CurtisS
January 17 2009, 01:59PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

Hey, I was just asking....I know im not in the room to see.

I like the trade. I honestly didnt think we could get more than a pick for him. We also got rid of the 3 goaltender situation. We can worry about the goaltending next year in the summer. That is not our concern right now.

Stone, well I am a hitmen fan and have seen lots of stone in the WHL. I always thought he was one hella a junior player. He could come into Calgary and shut down Getzlaf and also appear on the score sheet. I dont know what happened to him since but should at least help out down in Springfield for the rest of the year.

1 thing I dont like is we are at 49 contracts now.

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#65 OilersNinja
January 17 2009, 02:11PM
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Man all this activity is too much for me right now, I was at the game night party last night and and hung over, Wanye and Co. got me wasted!

Peace Garon, you didnt do it for me

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#66 Cam
January 17 2009, 04:00PM
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@ Jason Gregor: I agree completely. This is a good trade.

We free up about a half mil of cap room, get some help for Springfield and some potential in Stone and a draft pick. A draft pick is never a bad thing... even a fourth rounder.

Tambellini got rid of the three headed and monster and has gotten himself a little more cap breathing room to make another trade. I don't think he is done dealing.

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#67 Pokie Reddik
January 17 2009, 04:53PM
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looks like Nilson is being shopped, Brule will stay with the big club, Poulty will also be staying. Schremp is also being shopped

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#68 Kent W
January 17 2009, 05:13PM
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Jon:

here's the link to the article in question.

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#69 Travis Dakin
January 17 2009, 05:37PM
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Pokie Reddik wrote:

looks like Nilson is being shopped, Brule will stay with the big club, Poulty will also be staying. Schremp is also being shopped

What? Where?

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#70 rindog
January 18 2009, 01:21PM
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@ Jason Gregor:

I guess if you are going to use the fans voting as your argument there is nothing we can debate.

Just like we can't debate that fact that Mike Komisarek is an allstar???

Hemmer is BY FAR the best Oiler we have had in years (better than Dougie), but even I know that Garon kept us in way more games (and got us way more points) than Hemsky did. Even if we look at this year, no one will dispute that Hemsky was our best player up until he got hurt (some arguments for Souray). But since he has been out, our team is doing okay (5-5). Hemsky had a great year offensively last year, but it still doesn't change the fact that we lost a lot more than we won when Roli was in net. With the same Hemsky production (as with Roli), we won more games with Garon between the pipes.

Garon gave us a chance to win virtually every game he started last year. You can use shoot out wins as a knock against and I can use them as proof as to how he stole us points that we didn't deserve.

The fact of the matter is, any sane coach would not cut a guy loose like MacT did to Garon. I don't even know if Garon was going to be our guy (we will never know). I do know that Roli IS NOT our guy going forward. If the Oilers have some plans to land a better goalie ASAP, then fine. Roll the dice and see what happens. But why give up on Garon when it is clear that Roli is not long for this league?

But for anyone to tell me that this deal makes our club better this year is dreaming.

Can you honestly tell me that any club is going to pick JDD up off waivers and keep him on their roster all year? I guess the Islanders might be in a position to now, but not 20 games ago.

If management thinks we are going to contend for the playoffs (which they do), can they really be comfortable with an aging (and tiring) Roloson and a raw rookie that really hasn’t shown that much?

If this was really a move to free up cap room, we should have dumped Roli (would have freed up even more room). If you’re saying that no one would have taken Roli off our hands – what does that tell you about his worth??

You can tell me that Garon is now considered a journeyman goalie. I can tell you that as a rookie he was playing behind the former Vezina winner (Theodore) and the veteran (Hackett) in Montreal and had a new coach (Crawford) bring in his own guy (Cloutier) in LA.

I’m an Oiler fan. I like the fact that Roli is playing well (this year). Getting wins is very important and Roli is winning. It bothers me that our coaching staff did not give Garon a chance to play even though he earned it (as much a Roli earned it from 05/06).

But hey – all you potential free agents out there!! Come sign with the Oilers, they treat you great……

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#71 Wilson
February 06 2009, 03:13PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Darcy wrote: Don’t forget that JF Jacques takes a roster spot when he comes off the IR. He can go down for conditioning without clearing waivers, but he will still have to be on the Oiler’s roster. He won’t be a factor until February, and late February at that. He is still a ways away from even considering body contact.

Anybody help me out here? JFJ's off IR, down for conditioning. How'd they make room on the roster? (Potulny's been sent down, but Peckham's up so that's a wash. Neither Horc nor Gilbert's been IR'd).

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