Top Twenty Goaltenders and the Oilers Biggest Summer Decision

Jonathan Willis
March 18 2009 04:33PM

Roloson

Most people here are probably familiar with the policy of Ken Holland in Detroit regarding goaltenders. For those of you who aren’t, here’s the quote that makes it crystal clear:

My feeling is if you can get one of the five or six best goalies in the league you can spend the money. We can’t get into those guys, and the difference between the eighth goalie in the league and the 15th goalie, it’s a big difference in money. It’s not a big difference in performance.

Occasional commenter Tyler referenced that comment in a post he did at his website. He made a related point, something that would seem to apply to the Oilers’ goaltenders this season:

I think that the line between the tenth best goalie in the NHL and the twenty fifth best goalie in the NHL is a pretty hazy one and that there’s an awful lot of movement around that line from year to year. Some years the pucks hit you, some years they don’t.

I was reading some of my old stuff when I came across that quote of Tyler, so I decided to take a look at the top-twenty goaltenders in the league by save percentage, and see how much movement there was. Here are some of the more interesting names on the list:

3. Craig Anderson (12-6-5, 2.75 GAA, .923 SV%) - Anderson is in his third season as the Florida Panthers’ backup goaltender, and he’s been putting up great numbers each year (last season’s .935 SV% was even better than this year’s mark). Prior to that, he was a very good AHL goaltender for a number of seasons, and put up some ugly numbers in a little over 50 games with Chicago. He’s an example of how a very good AHL goaltender can become a good NHL goaltender in no-time flat; it’s also entirely possible that he’s a very good example of how a little-used backup can put up numbers well beyond his actual level of ability. Given that he’s almost assured of a chance at a starting job next season, we’ll find out. His performance this season has been unexpected given his lack of reputation.

4. Pekka Rinne (24-11-1, 2.23 GAA, .922 SV%) - Pekka Rinne is an interesting case. Nashville grabbed him as an overage (22) European in the 8th round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft (the Oilers’ selected Devan Dubnyk 14th overall that year). He’s had three seasons in Milwaukee of the AHL, putting up good numbers in two of his three seasons (the exception being a phenomenal year in 2006-07 as Karl Goerhing’s backup). Back in Finland though, he served as a very capable backup to Niklas Backstrom, who has had some success here in North America.

7. Jonas Hiller (15-14-1, 2.33 GAA, .920 SV%) - Brian Burke was mocked in some quarters for handing an undrafted Swiss goaltender a three year contract averaging 1.3-million per season when he already had J-S Giguere and Ilya Bryzgalov under contract. After two years with great numbers, I doubt that anyone is still under the impression that he made a mistake in this instance, as Hiller’s turned into one of the best bargains in the NHL. Hiller had a nice career with Davos of the top Swiss league before coming to North America.

8. Steve Mason (28-17-3, 2.24 GAA, .919 SV%)- The front-runner for the Calder Trophy (Pekka Rinne’s too old to win) came to the NHL right out of junior, with only three AHL games in between. He had solid numbers for three seasons in the OHL.

10. Scott Clemmensen (25-13-1, 2.39 GAA, .917 SV%) - The 31-year old Clemmensen was called on to take the starting role in New Jersey after Martin Brodeur was injured and did an admirable job holding the fort. Clemmensen spent the vast majority of his career in the Devils organization, with the exception of last season which he spent in Toronto. He’s had five solid seasons in the AHL in addition to some nice seasons at Boston College, but nothing remotely resembling this breakthrough campaign.

12. Mike Smith (14-18-9, 2.62 GAA, .916 SV%) - Smith’s inclusion on this list should surprise nobody. A solid AHL goaltender for several seasons, Smith put up solid numbers as Marty Turco’s backup in Dallas for two years running before being dealt to Tampa Bay in the Brad Richards trade. Consistently underrated, Smith has been one of the few bright spots on the Lightning this season.

13. Chris Mason (18-19-6, 2.48 GAA, .916 SV%) - Unceremoniously dumped by the Predators for a fourth-round draft pick after struggling as a starter in 2007-08, Mason has performed well for the often-struggling St. Louis Blues. He’s yet another goaltender with very nice AHL numbers who also had success as an NHL backup before getting a starting job.

16. Dwayne Roloson (24-17-9, 2.76 GAA, .915 SV%) – Roloson requested a trade last season after a tough year in Edmonton, a year where his kids were mocked at school for his poor play. When Mathieu Garon struggled at the start of this season, Craig MacTavish gave Roloson back the starting job (a decision he was harshly criticized for, criticism that still continues in some cases) that he had lost, and the 39-year old has excelled. It’s revived Roloson’s career and may end up saving both the Oilers’ season and MacTavish’s job.

20. Antero Niittymaki (15-7-5, 2.75 GAA, .912 SV%) - Once half of one of the worst goaltending duos in the NHL (Robert Esche was the other half), Niittymaki has had an excellent season as Martin Biron’s partner in Philadelphia. The Flyers struggled through two weak NHL seasons with the Finn, but he’s now showing the form that made him an excellent goaltender in the AHL and the SM-Liiga.

Those nine names make my point – how many of them would anyone have expected to see on this list last season? Some had struggled after previous success, while others were complete unknowns or minor-league journeymen. It’s an open question how many will be on this list next year.

It also tells me that Ken Holland has the right idea, and that Tyler (who argued this summer that signing Mathieu Garon to a big-money contract would be a mistake, despite popular opinion) was correct that there is a ton of movement on this list season-to-season.

Ideally, I’d like to see the Edmonton Oilers embrace Ken Holland’s method by signing two cheap goaltenders who both have the ability to be a starter. It’s too much of a risk to give one of those jobs to Jeff Deslauriers; the prospect is still a question mark and only has one good AHL season to his credit. If he won’t clear waivers, than the organization should do their best to move him to another team because it’s a bad idea to test these guys out at the NHL level, and goaltenders with a better track record than Deslauriers are a dime a dozen.

My personal solution would be to bring back Dwayne Roloson on a one-year contract, and then bring in a second goaltender as insurance. The second goaltender should be somebody inexpensive with a solid track record; here are the guys I would be taking a long look at it (in alphabetical order):

  • Martin Biron
  • Brian Boucher
  • Marc Denis
  • Ray Emery
  • Martin Gerber
  • Vitaly Kolesnik
  • Jason Labarbera
  • Manny Legace
  • Antero Niittymaki
  • Kevin Weekes

None of those players should be overly expensive; all of them have had good track records on the whole in the past. I’d prefer somebody with previous NHL success – ideally Labarabera or Legace, but Vitaly Kolesnik rates highly to (he’s outplayed Emery in the KHL this season).

Lastly, as insurance for the starters, I’d like to see the Oilers bring prospect Bjorn Bjurling over from Europe to split time in Springfield with Devan Dubnyk. Bjurling was drafted as an overage player in the 9th round of the 2004 draft, and he’s put together some very successful seasons in the Swedish Elite League.

That would make the Oilers goaltending depth chart look something like this:

  • NHL: Roloson/*Labarbera*
  • AHL: Dubnyk/Bjurling
  • ECHL: Two of Fisher/Perugini/Pitton

With the exception of Pitton, all of the players on that list have some ability to move up one league if their play warrants it or if slumps/injuries hit the tier above them, and that to me is exactly how goaltending should be in a cap world: inexpensive, redundant, and likely effective. The other alternative is putting money in one starter, but that only makes sense if that goaltender is one of the league’s best, and none of those players are likely to be available this summer.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, 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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#1 Gene's Pubes
March 18 2009, 04:47PM
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FMNF

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#2 Rick
March 18 2009, 04:54PM
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Ken Holland's method also allows for you to spend on a top flight goaltender so he isn't necessarily discounting their value.

The Red Wings can't spend on top goaltending because they are spending on players. They don't need to because their players are probabaly the best collection in the league...top three for sure.

The Oiler are also spending skaters but their skaters fall into the 'meh' category at this point. The same Holland approach is more likely to sink them than save them as a result.

Based on where the Oilers are at development wise, I would think they would be further ahead in the win column to blow out some salaries and stagnant talent if possible (selectively emerging talent if necessary) and spend on that on a top flight goaltender long term.

Too bad those guys are almost impossible to come by though.

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#3 Ducey
March 18 2009, 05:09PM
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You can add Ty Conklin to the list too.

Add in the number of goalies that get the big payday and then stink and I agree, its a crapshoot.

Even the math is a not helpful. A goalie that gets 30 shots a game for 60 games and saves .915 % of them will stop 1647 shots(give up 153 goals). If he saves just 13 more shots of those 1800 shots, he is at a .922 save percentage. It is likely that a fair amount of this additional 13 saves has to do with luck, team play etc.

One extra save every third night can turn a bad goalie into a good one.

You would think a good defensive team would make the goalie look better as they likely would not be getting a bunch of 2 on 1's all night.

Maybe shootout performance is a good way to judge goaltending ability? It seems to be a more pure way to judge ability in some ways(not in relation to rebounds, sceening).

The Oil are clearly holding onto JDD for the future. If they put him on waivers and someone claimed him, couldn't they just claim him back when he gets sent down at some point by the new team? It seems really unlikely he would stick and never go down to the minors again. Let someone else pay for his development.

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#4 yo
March 18 2009, 05:20PM
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Interesting line of thought. I think I will reserve judgement until I see how Detroit's goalies fare in the playoffs. If any team can get away with average goaltenders it's Detroit.

I don't think it is overly wise to over-pay anyone. Especially with cap considerations in play. Overpaying like the Oilers have done is folly. It is more a function of a desperate GM (Lowe) who throws millions of dollars (someone else's) at a problem. When your scouting is weak and player development is in reverse the only way to go is what the Oil have done...overpay players and throw caution to the winds. What is the difference between the Devils organization and the Oil? Their success in the draft and trades shows they have figured something out that has eluded Lowe and his staff. The Devils are no flash in the pan so I think there is something functionally different about the way these two teams build their respective organizations.

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#5 airbag
March 18 2009, 05:47PM
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JW-on your depth chart you traded JDD? I would keep him over all those guys on your alphabetical list. Why are you low on him? Detroit has the best, most experienced team in the league, and goaltending, has, and may still cost them a series. IMO that just proves that the G is the most important player on the ice. Why dont we just trade for Loungo? Or if Vancouver doesnt want penner, Florida has two pretty good goalies, one is too expensive though.

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#6 TV
March 18 2009, 05:54PM
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While both of the Philly Tenders look like a plausible option, (although IMO, Biron would cost too much) I would rather go down the Trade route & go for Ondrej Pavelec (Hotlanta) or Jonas Hiller (Fowl). Or if Waddell finally decides to pull the trigger on his #1 guy & the Oiler can afford it, bring in Lehtnonen next season. (He would cost a minimum of $3.3 mill though)

I don't see a Band-Aid fix helping this Club next season, they need to make a longer term decision on a Tender IMO Jonathan.

BTW... Let's keep Manny Legace off any list that has him joining the Oilers in ANY type of fashion..!

x6

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#7 misfit
March 18 2009, 06:03PM
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"Jeff Deslauriers; the prospect is still a question mark and only has one good AHL season to his credit. If he won’t clear waivers, than the organization should do their best to move him to another team because it’s a bad idea to test these guys out at the NHL level, and goaltenders with a better track record than Deslauriers are a dime a dozen."

I've been saying the same thing all year. Needless to say, I couldn't agree more.

If we can't trade for a top flight guy, then I'm completely on board with your plan to re-sign Roli for a year (or two if it greatly reduces his cap hit) and a serviceable backup with experience and a solid track record. Someone who could conceivably take the starting role. Much like we did when we picked up Garon.

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#8 misfit
March 18 2009, 06:04PM
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I also like the idea of trading for Halak if he doesn't cost us an arm and a leg. He's had terrific numbers at every level, and I don't doubt he'll be a starter in this league.

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#9 Jonathan Willis
March 18 2009, 06:16PM
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That list of goalies I had was just UFA's; I'd be happy to see a Lehtonen, Pavelec or Halak come here if they became available and the trade was reasonable.

Obviously, a top-five goalie would be great too, I just don't see one being available.

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#10 Poo Czar
March 18 2009, 06:16PM
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Growing up I always expected the Oil to have a bona fide Superstar goaltender. In this city we've had a pretty rich history of goalies straight up stealing playoff series wins. I was raised on Fuhr, Moog, Ranford. Then to a lesser extent Cujo came along, and Roli caught his lighting too.

I still can't get over the idea that the very first thing a team needs is a Top 5 goalie. I say this knowing without a doubt we would be screwed without Roli this year, and that Bobby Lu hasn't exactly won a lot of playoff games. Hell, Luongo's got 5 career playoff wins, Roli's got 12.

You done some good work here Willis, that's some food for thought. When do we get a Brodeur type on this team???

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#11 Jonathan Willis
March 18 2009, 06:19PM
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TV wrote:

I don’t see a Band-Aid fix helping this Club next season, they need to make a longer term decision on a Tender IMO Jonathan.

yo wrote:

I think I will reserve judgement until I see how Detroit’s goalies fare in the playoffs. If any team can get away with average goaltenders it’s Detroit.

Just on this point - people have been critical of Detroit's goaltending for years, but they've won three cups with a cheap tandem (two of those with Chris Osgood as the starter). I don't need any further convincing; I'm sold.

A tandem of UFA veterans isn't a bandaid solution - these guys show up every year, or are available via trade relatively cheap. I'd be very happy with a rotating tandem (much like Detroit or Minnesota has employed for years) going forward; it makes cap sense and the odds are that you'll get goaltending just as good as anybody else.

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#12 W.T
March 18 2009, 06:19PM
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W.T. back in Canada for a bit. Oilers should sign Roli and JDD as the goalie of the future. Seems if it was good enough for Oil this year why would it not be for next year?

Oil are hanging in there in 8th spot, good for them. W.T. suggests the run to the final day will be full of ups and downs. Can they make it, W.T. doubts it.

W.T. still does not see the drive and effort required to make a serious run.

W.T. is glad to be back.

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#13 W.T
March 18 2009, 06:21PM
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How could W.T. come back and forget to tell his audience he saw Fred Stauffer at his favorite Pizza sponser location last week. What a treat to see him up close and in person.

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#14 Jonathan Willis
March 18 2009, 06:26PM
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Poo Czar wrote:

Growing up I always expected the Oil to have a bona fide Superstar goaltender. In this city we’ve had a pretty rich history of goalies straight up stealing playoff series wins. I was raised on Fuhr, Moog, Ranford. Then to a lesser extent Cujo came along, and Roli caught his lighting too.

Yeah, but even average goaltenders get hot. The goaltending in the finals over the past few seasons:

Osgood vs. Fleury Giguere vs. Emery Ward vs. Roloson Khabibulin vs. Kiprusoff Brodeur vs. Giguere Hasek vs. Irbe

Hasek was an elite goaltender, but when Detroit won with him he was injury-prone and on a bargain deal because he'd been a mess in previous starting gigs. Giguere was still young and unproven, while both Khabibulin and Kiprusoff have failed to play with the same fire that got them to the finals.

In other words, of the twelve cases listed over the last six seasons, there are three cases (Brodeur in '03, Giguere in '07 and Khabibulin in '04) has it been a guy who was arguably a top-five NHL goaltender going into that season.

It's definitely an advantage to have one of those elite guys, but let's face it - anybody can catch fire, and there are plenty of cases of journeymen tenders (Osgood, Emery, Roloson, Kiprusoff, Irbe) or unproven youngsters (Fleury, Ward, Giguere) getting hot at the right time. Why not run with a pair of cheap veterans who know the ropes and could catch fire?

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#15 Jonathan Willis
March 18 2009, 06:27PM
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W.T wrote:

Oilers should sign Roli and JDD as the goalie of the future. Seems if it was good enough for Oil this year why would it not be for next year?

Last year Garon was good enough as the starter - in other words, year to year you don't want to bet everything on one of these guys, because stuff changes.

Which was basically the point of the article, Al.

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#16 Jonathan Willis
March 18 2009, 06:29PM
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airbag wrote:

JW-on your depth chart you traded JDD? I would keep him over all those guys on your alphabetical list. Why are you low on him?

JDD will have an NHL career, I think. He's had a .908 and .912 SV% season in the AHL, but year over year he just doesn't have the track record in the AHL of even, say, Jason Labarbera.

Point is, he's probably going to be a decent goalie, but we don't know when and it would be a sucker's bet to wager the future of your NHL team on a 40-year old and a question mark.

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#17 Dizzle
March 18 2009, 06:32PM
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I think the Oil have an opportunity to land an amazing goalie, who is young, cheap, with an excellent track record.

That goalie is Josh Harding

Minnesota has already locked up Backstrom and Harding is an RFA

Trade for him or an offer sheet. He is going to be the real deal

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#18 Jonathan Willis
March 18 2009, 06:37PM
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@ Dizzle:

I like Harding too. That was actually my first thought when Minnesota gave Backstrom that pile of cash.

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#19 Ogden Brother
March 18 2009, 06:38PM
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I don't know if I'd want to give up on JDD so quick. Seems. We really blew it on this guy, no AHL team his one year, 3rd head of a 3 headed monster another.

From the short amount of time he's had, he's looked good. I'd roll the dice with him and Roli next year.

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#20 airbag
March 18 2009, 06:44PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Yeah I kinda agree but to me a 40 year old and Labarbera, the best name on that list probably, is a wager too. When I think of JDD this season I think of NY, Calgary and I think it was Jersey, id like to see his stats minus the games he came in in relief.

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#21 Dizzle
March 18 2009, 06:45PM
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Josh Harding stats

GP GAA W L T SV% 2004-05 Houston Aeros AHL 42 2.01 21 16 3 0.930

2005-06 Houston Aeros AHL 38 2.68 29 8 0 0.919

2006-07 Houston Aeros AHL 38 2.48 17 16 4 0.920

2006-07 Minnesota Wild NHL 7 1.16 3 2 1 0.960

2007-08 Minnesota Wild NHL 29 2.94 11 15 2 0.908

2008-09 Minnesota Wild NHL 17 2.15 2 9 1 0.931

Pretty amazing potential

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#22 Jonathan Willis
March 18 2009, 06:47PM
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@ Ogden Brother:

It's all about risk vs. benefit. Best case scenario, based on JDD's track record, seems to be that he turns into a decent 1B type next season. The fact that Roli's played 300-straight games though tells us exactly how much faith in him the coaching staff has (and they've been right on goalies this year). Even if JDD works out, you're still gambling that Roli can be a 1A, which is likely but hardly assured given his age and his performance last year.

If you ship out JDD and bring in Labarbera, even if one goalie struggles, you're okay. If Roli struggles next season, this team is in a pile of trouble - particularly if JDD isn't ready to be a 1B, which is a fair question based on this season.

Anyhow, even if JDD turns out long term, he's (based on AHL/junior numbers) unlikely to ever be significantly better than a Labarbera or Garon - both of whom are cheaply available as free agents. Why risk playing JDD when you can get what he might ultimately turn into for cheap right now?

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#23 Jonathan Willis
March 18 2009, 06:48PM
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@ airbag:

I'm not too worried about Deslaurier's performance this season - it's his rather middling AHL/QMJHL career that worries me.

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#24 Jonathan Willis
March 18 2009, 06:50PM
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Dizzle wrote:

Josh Harding stats GP GAA W L T SV% 2004-05 Houston Aeros AHL 42 2.01 21 16 3 0.930 2005-06 Houston Aeros AHL 38 2.68 29 8 0 0.919 2006-07 Houston Aeros AHL 38 2.48 17 16 4 0.920 2006-07 Minnesota Wild NHL 7 1.16 3 2 1 0.960 2007-08 Minnesota Wild NHL 29 2.94 11 15 2 0.908 2008-09 Minnesota Wild NHL 17 2.15 2 9 1 0.931 Pretty amazing potential

This is a key example - compare Harding's AHL numbers with those of Deslauriers. Goalies with Deslaurier's minor-league performance typically turn out to be decent backups over the long haul. If the GM feels a need to gamble on a prospect, it makes more sense to gamble on a guy like Josh Harding like Minnesota did last season, because he's had the AHL results.

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#25 airbag
March 18 2009, 06:50PM
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Im surprised he hasnt played more this season, but Roli keeps on proving me wrong.

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#26 TV
March 18 2009, 06:58PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

TV wrote: I don’t see a Band-Aid fix helping this Club next season, they need to make a longer term decision on a Tender IMO Jonathan. yo wrote: I think I will reserve judgement until I see how Detroit’s goalies fare in the playoffs. If any team can get away with average goaltenders it’s Detroit. Just on this point - people have been critical of Detroit’s goaltending for years, but they’ve won three cups with a cheap tandem (two of those with Chris Osgood as the starter). I don’t need any further convincing; I’m sold. A tandem of UFA veterans isn’t a bandaid solution - these guys show up every year, or are available via trade relatively cheap. I’d be very happy with a rotating tandem (much like Detroit or Minnesota has employed for years) going forward; it makes cap sense and the odds are that you’ll get goaltending just as good as anybody else.

Other than the 2 Philly Tenders mentioned & maybe Emery, I don't consider those other Tenders on par with even Osgood, & that is saying something.

Going with a longer term Tender such as the 2 I mentioned, would also make Cap sense & give the Club a hell of a lot more stability at the position for many years to come. (not that I'm saying it's that easy to do)

I understand & agree with you to a point JW, I just don't think the choice of Tenders this summer (other than the few quoted) could get the job done.

If I had my dithers, I go for a Halak or Rask, but I don't see that as being feasible this summer at all, so I'd prefer to make a push for a younger cheaper Tender with more upside than 96% of those day-old bread versions on that list.

They need to be more stable in the cage, Winning starts from the net out. The Oilers are no Winged Wheel who can afford mediocre Tending over the course of a season & a long playoff run.

Fixing the pipes every season is not good long term management IMO, they have to find a longer term solution.

x6

x6

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#27 Jonathan Willis
March 18 2009, 07:41PM
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TV wrote:

Other than the 2 Philly Tenders mentioned & maybe Emery, I don’t consider those other Tenders on par with even Osgood, & that is saying something.

Legace's outplayed Osgood a time or two, and Labarbera's been hidden on awful teams.

Vitaly Kolesnik's the guy who has been splitting duty in Russia with Emery. He's had a better season. Of course, he's also spent most of his career in Russia, so he's nowhere near as well known, but if I had to take one of them I'd probably take him.

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#28 Fiveandagame
March 18 2009, 07:52PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

Aren't you contradicting yourself in your judgement in JDD?

You say he'll never be an NHL goalie based on his numbers, yet you claim a great goaltenders can come out of nowhere.

I am actually shocked you are so quick to cut JDD out of the system in a RB style prognostication about a young player's potential.

Where in JDD's 5 starts this year have you seen enough to say he will never be an NHL goaltender?

The reason JDD isn't playing right now is Roli is playing well and plays good with more work. and after SO much time off it's not fair to throw JDD to the wolves when games are so tight.

Do be so quick to write him off. He's big and quick and even though he may never be a starter in the league, they said the same thing about Roloson.

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#29 TV
March 18 2009, 08:01PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote: Legace’s outplayed Osgood a time or two, and Labarbera’s been hidden on awful teams. Vitaly Kolesnik’s the guy who has been splitting duty in Russia with Emery. He’s had a better season. Of course, he’s also spent most of his career in Russia, so he’s nowhere near as well known, but if I had to take one of them I’d probably take him.

Trust me on this 1 JW, I've seen plenty of Labarbera in the past 3 1/2 seasons & he's not the answer. He had the best Kings team that gave up the lowest amount of shots in the league this year & he just could not get the job done again. He was let go for a reason. While I'm not dissing Ersberg or Quick, they're not the 2nd coming of Rogie Vachon. Labarbera would be a Band-Aid & a wet 1 a that.

I'm not too up on this Vitaly Kolesnik guy, but his age (while 30 is not old for a Tender) gives me a little bit of hesistation. I'll take your word on him though...

~Legace... (See above)

x6

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#30 TV
March 18 2009, 08:02PM
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Damn Quote box, my apologies on that...

x6

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#31 AlBundy
March 18 2009, 08:57PM
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Don't matter what you boys and girls say, Steve has a plan and will make his move when he is ready. Look at the moves he has made so far, all well thought out and well planned. Give the guy time.

Remember when the Oilers used to be known for producing strong NHL goalies, I wonder what happened?

My question for everyone tonight, usually when you send someone to the press box and he comes back in, it would normally be in a 3rd or 4th line opportunity. How can you pull Penner and Nilsson out and then put them back in on the power play? What does that really say to the kids.

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#32 BarryS
March 18 2009, 09:02PM
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The only way they give up on JDD is if Dubnic steals his job in training camp. While it is possible Rolli pulls a Dave Dryden and totally loses it over the summer it is unlikely given he is in far better mental and physical shape than those old time goalies were. The purpose of the minor leagues is to ready players. If some don't get to come up, then the system will disintigrate.

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#33 Harlie Chuddy
March 18 2009, 09:07PM
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"Roloson requested a trade last season after a tough year in Edmonton, a year where his kids were mocked at school for his poor play."

if that's true I feel sorry for the guy and can see why he has a scowl on his face half the time. That's gotta hurt. I remember when I was a kid the Oilers were heros to us. I lived in a small hockey town and my cousin lived in Edmonton in the Capilano area and his neighbor happened to be Andy Moog. He told me how a few times him and some of the neighbor kids would play street hockey and Mooger would come out and play if he was home. My cousin said the weird thing was that he never wanted to play goal! Anyways, so my cousin would always invite me to come stay and I would PRAY that when I stayed over Mooger was around and we could have a game! Nowadays a kid would probably clown on something like that. That is done f'd up.

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#34 Jasmine
March 18 2009, 09:51PM
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Dizzle wrote:

I think the Oil have an opportunity to land an amazing goalie, who is young, cheap, with an excellent track record. That goalie is Josh Harding Minnesota has already locked up Backstrom and Harding is an RFA Trade for him or an offer sheet. He is going to be the real deal

I don't see the Oilers going the OS route, especially not against Minnesota. I don't see any team tendering an OS against a team in their own division. After the crap the Oilers had to put up with after the Penner OS, I can see the Oilers making a trade for Harding. Minnesota is one of the teams I can see the Oilers trading with.

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#35 Jonathan Willis
March 18 2009, 10:00PM
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@ Fiveandagame:

No, I'm not contradicting myself. It's entirely possible that Jeff Deslauriers has a nice career.

But if you compare his track record in junior and the AHL with Jason Labarbera, or Manny Legace, or half a dozen other run-of-the-mill tenders, you realize that it's unlikely he'll ever be much better than average.

Those goalies didn't come out of nowhere - they had solid careers in other leagues. Deslaurier's AHL record is only average - if that.

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#36 Ender
March 18 2009, 10:00PM
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Just a quick thought on JDD. The Oilers died that first game without Roli in the finals, and it had nothing to do with Markannen being cold. It was a team confidence issue. Regardless of how good JDD has been in games and practice, and given MacT's osession with having *something* consistent on a floundering team year after year, maybe he's worried that putting in JDD will make the team even more tense and hurt their chances further.

Let's face it, MacT doesn't *get* goalies, but maybe it's less an issue of distrust and more an issue of Roli already being a rallying point for the team.

Stranger things have happened.

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#37 jeanshorts
March 18 2009, 10:14PM
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@ Dizzle: @ Jonathan Willis:

Amen boys. I'm all over the Harding train. I think a tandem of him and Rolli, with Rolli playing the role of the wise old man guiding the way would be stellar.

How the hell does Minnesota always seem to luck out with goalies? They can't get rid of these guys fast enough it seems before another one comes in and steals the show. Unreal.

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#38 jdrevenge
March 18 2009, 10:22PM
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What about Vokoun?

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#39 jdrevenge
March 18 2009, 10:24PM
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I would guess that Florida will be looking for a young puck mover. Would only make sense that the Oilers would look that way if Florida was willing. We have a plethora of puck moving dmen that would fit well over there.

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#40 Jonathan Willis
March 18 2009, 10:33PM
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Fun with numbers - let's have a gander at JDD and some of the other goalies on that list:

At Age 22 (in the AHL)

Weekes: .918 SV% Legace: .917 SV% Labarbera: .912 SV% Deslauriers: .908 SV% Mason: .906 SV% Niittymaki: .903 SV%

At Age 23 (in the AHL)

Niittymaki: .924 SV% Weekes: .919 SV% Labarbera: .915 SV% Deslauriers: .912 SV% Mason: .904 SV% Legace: .897 SV%

At Age 24 (in the AHL)

Labarbera: .936 SV% Niittymaki: .924 SV% Mason: .920 SV% Legace: .911 SV% Deslauriers: .906 SV%

By the time they're 24, most legitimate goaltending prospects have had a dominant year in the AHL or IHL. Desluariers has not; probably because he's not ever going to be much more than a career backup.

The numbers don't tell us the future; they do tell us what's happened in the past. And in the past, goaltending prospects with JDD's AHL track record don't become NHL starters very often.

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#41 TIM S
March 18 2009, 10:37PM
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I am not sure why you have a 40 year old Roloson around unless he is there to mentor a young goalie. Bringing back Roloson and signing a 30 something insurance policy makes no sense to me. You should either be grooming a goalie or sign one that might be the answer. I would take a chance on a Biron or Niittymaki but I would do with JDD sticking around.

I don't think it is a slam dunk that Roloson will want to come back next season. He has been linked to Detroit right before he resigned, earlier this year Stauffer suggested that Det had interest in Roloson. Next year Det will be pressed against the cap and will be looking for another deal between the pipes, would Roloson be such a deal??

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#42 Darcy
March 18 2009, 10:55PM
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Everyone says "Sign Rollie for one more year"

What makes you think he will sign here?

There was a rumour from Stauffer this year that the Red Wings would trade a good pick for Rollie.

If the Wings hold true to form and sign the best cheap UFA goalie available, then I bet Rollie is a Wing next year.

Notice I said best, CHEAP goalie.

Rollie isn't close to the best UFA goalie this year, but he will be the best of the 2M/yr or so goalies. He'll be the best in that bunch by a long shot, with his 17th overall SV% this year.....

Don't count on Rollie wanting to stay here next year, or even his best offer (in terms of $$$) coming from the Oilers.

I love the idea of Harding for 4 years at 3M/yr or so.

Good Regina kid.

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#43 Jonathan Willis
March 18 2009, 11:06PM
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TIM S wrote:

You should either be grooming a goalie or sign one that might be the answer.

I'm probably belabouring the point - but if your 30ish goaltender works out, he will of course be discussed ad nauseum as your starter for the next five years.

Or did I misinterpret the stretch drive where Mathieu Garon went from journeyman 1A/1B goalie to Edmonton's anointed starting goalie?

Minnesota's been doing this since their inception - they've signed or traded for journeymen and Euro veterans, and they've done just fine in the goaltending department. In point of fact, they seem to trade those guys away once they hit their mid-thirties - I even recall one team giving up a first-round pick for one of their castoffs. What a silly idea that was...

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#44 Jonathan Willis
March 18 2009, 11:19PM
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To make it crystal clear: look at the names on that list. Pekka Rinne. Craig Anderson. Scott Clemmensen.

How many of those guys would have qualified, one season ago, as being guys worth signing top help solidify the starting position? Would the answer "none" be accurate? I think it would.

On the other hand a guy like Mathieu Garon, one season ago, certainly would qualify. Despite the fact that this season he's struggling.

In other words: There's no need to get an expensive guy coming off a good year when you're as likely to get the same quality of goaltending from two inexpensive guys.

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#45 Fiveandagame
March 18 2009, 11:48PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

Fair enough. But how badly were JDD's AHL numbers skewed because of the Oilers lack of a farm team and complete mismanagement?

My thinking in this has is two fold, he must be showing something that Oilers were willing to run with three Goalies for a large chunk of this year and then rid themselves of Garon who was stellar the year before.

I have to think that Kevin Lowe (despite what some people around here say) is not a complete retard and they must have a good sense of this kids head and potential.

I think I recall them saying, it was never a question of his ability, it was his head that needed training. Not uncommon for a Goalie.

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#46 Phil
March 19 2009, 01:28AM
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If you re-sign Roli, guaranteed he's gonna sh*t the bed next year. Guaran-f*ckin-teed. Shoulda held on to Garon, poor play or not and re-signed them both for cheap.

JDD is not a top flight goalie prospect. What a mess the goaltending is.

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#47 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 07:25AM
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Phil wrote:

If you re-sign Roli, guaranteed he’s gonna sh*t the bed next year. Guaran-f*ckin-teed. Shoulda held on to Garon, poor play or not and re-signed them both for cheap.

Roloson's had one bad season in the past seven.

While it's certainly possible he reverts to 2007-08 form, I'd say it's far from guaranteed.

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#48 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 07:28AM
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@ Fiveandagame:

Part of the reason I think JDD will have a career is because he's put up OK AHL numbers despite the mess the development system was in. At the same time, I do think his development was probably warped by the process, and while it's unfair it means that he's less valuable as a result.

Secondly, I don't think this organization is completely clueless about goalies, but they haven't exactly shown that they know what they're doing, either, so I'm leery of trusting their evaluation of JDD.

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#49 jdrevenge
March 19 2009, 07:42AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

In other words: There’s no need to get an expensive guy coming off a good year when you’re as likely to get the same quality of goaltending from two inexpensive guys.

Hollands a smart guy and obviously knows what he's doing but hes had the luxury of having teams that make goalies like Osgood look good.

You can't be saying that you forget Conkanen. Most of the guys on your list are unproven backups. Had fourty or so games wherein they play well but as we saw with Garon this year that doesnt mean anything. Is Jim Carey still playing hockey anywhere... The guy won a vezina and couldnt translate that into future success. 2 years of success is the rule for a goalie. While Dellows and Holland might be right I think the difference (7-15) is less when you can skate a team that can out score and out defend the rest of the teams in the league.

I really think Vokoun is in the top 6 so why not go after him with. Has one year left on his 5 million dollar contract. Bouwmeister is leaving and they will need some replacements.

No way the Oilers poach Harding out of Minny. He is their future and the Oilers are in the same Division. We got Roloson prior to the scheduling change and when parity wasnt where it is now.

If we can get Vokoun Roli leaves and JDD is the backup.

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#50 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 08:29AM
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@ jdrevenge:

I like Vokoun just fine; if he were available he'd be worth going after for sure.

As for Harding, the Wild may not trade him to a division rival, but they just signed Backstrom long-term so it's hard to see where he fits into their future; for the next five years their goaltending would seem to be covered.

I remember Conkkanen - and I liked the theory just fine then, too. The mistake was not addressing the goaltending when Conklin showed up injured, or at any point thereafter - waiting to the trade deadline almost cost them the season.

I am however convinced that the theory is sound. It's worked well in Minnesota too.

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