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 Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#51 Rick
March 19 2009, 08:39AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

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.

When Detroit won with Hasek, they were paying him $8 mil a season. There was no bargain there.

Last year Holland looked like a genious when he said what he did because last year they won the cup.

It's a huge leap to suggest that because you CAN win the cup without spending money on goaltending and saying it is the right way to do it.

Since the Wings won the cup with Hasek in '02 they have put up seasons of 110, 109 124, 113, 115 pts but only won 3 playoff rounds before winning the cup last season.

I thought Osgood was pretty good for them in the playoffs last year so that certainly supports your theory that you can get what you need out of bargain goaltending but 4 prior years probably points more clearly towards the gamble that you're taking in not spending at that position.

Based on the what the Wings have gotten out out of their goaltenders so far this season I would peg them as the most likely first round upset again this year.

They currently sit first in the league and yet they have the 19th rated goals against despite giving up the 4th fewest shots so far. Barring a huge turnaround in play by their goaltenders there is no way this ends well for the Wings in this years playoffs.

So the big question becomes, are you content with gambling away one of the few opportunities most teams get at building a contender for a cup run by cheaping out on the most key position on the team in a hope that they get hot at the right time?

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#52 jdrevenge
March 19 2009, 08:45AM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

What makes you so sure he wouldn't become available. Right now he's lost three in a row and Anderson has been on par with him for the majority of the season.

I suppose I'm not disputing the theory as much as I'm saying that it has to be evaluated and some other things need to fall into place for it to be successful. Take your post about Brodeur and his entourage in NJ. Clemmenson and Weekes have bounced around from team to team for the majority of their careers. If you took the theory and used stats to base your selections and Edmonton signed them both (hypothetical) would they be as successful here. I'm not that sure.

I'd say that Hollands theory needs to be expanded to include three sets. Top five goalies, goalies 5-10 and 10 through 30. With goalies 5-10 being elite (kiprusoff, Brodeur etc.), 5-10 being guys on the cusp(1A's) and 10-30 being guys that are replaceable and are guys that the Red Wings eat up. Its not as cut and dry as to say that theres 5 guys with a huge lead over the rest.

I see what you're saying about Harding but I'd guess hes not going to demand a massive contract and maybe signs for one or two years with a promise to increase his playing time. Minny has the money to match an offer sheet if thats the way it plays out. Especially if Gaborik takes off.

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#53 Ender the Dragon
March 19 2009, 08:49AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Why not run with a pair of cheap veterans who know the ropes and could catch fire?

jdrevenge wrote:

You can’t be saying that you forget Conkanen.

I was just about to bring up this point and JD beat me to it. The Oilers have been down this road before, signing two or even three reasonably good goalies and hoping one of them takes the reins.

Ty Conklyn and/or Jussi Markkanen should have been good enough, right? Or when that doesn't work, you could even add a hot Mike Morrison to the mix, right?

Didn't work. No matter who MacTavish gave the nod to, someone (usually everyone) was screaming that he'd picked the wrong guy, yet no matter who he picked, that goalie seemed to inevitably let him down. No one 'caught fire'. And Kevin Lowe was publicly castigated for not signing a top-end goalie. 'Cheap' was the label I think most people put on the Oilers. Do you honestly think any of the Oilers brass are anxious to go down that road again?

If one of your bargain gaolies 'catches fire', you look like a bloody genius. And good on Detroit, it's worked out for them. But if you gamble and lose, you look like an idiot. I'd rather see a Luongo or Kipper (don't give me Kipper's numbers; I'm making a point) or Brodeur or some other solid top-10 guy so that if the team starts to lose the battle in net, there's no questions as to where the fault lies.

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#54 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 09:10AM
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@ Ender the Dragon:

But you're just as likely to look like an idiot giving a 5-10 goalie a big contract. I wouldn't want to be stuck with Kipper's contract right now, but he's at least been OK. Martin Gerber was arguably in that category when Ottawa signed him, and Nikolai Khabibulin certainly was, and both of those signings backfired in an ugly way. Cam Ward was widely acclaimed after 2005-06, but he's been bad for most of the time period since. Jose Theodore won the Hart Trophy and then wound up as a terribly expensive alternate with Budaj.

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#55 Ender the Dragon
March 19 2009, 09:35AM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

All good points, but the game in Edmonton is all about fan support.

If we signed a top-10 goalie in Edmonton, the first thing that would happen is that everyone on the Nation would let out a big cheer. (OK, someone would inevitably scream about the salary, but you get the idea.) People would be happy.

And 20 games in when the goalie was obviously struggling, Oiler fans would get upset. But they wouldn't be mad at management, they'd be mad at the goalie. They'd still watch the games, they'd still offer their opinions about our back-ups, but Tambo and K-Lowe wouldn't get ridden into the ground over why the team was losing, and even the coach (whoever that might be then) wouldn't get ridden so hard for starting his 'starter', even when not playing top-flight hockey. It would be percieved as a case of 'We went and signed the best guy we could, and he's not doing his job for us. What else could we have done?'

I think that with management coming under fire every day from all corners in Edmonton, especially this season, they are much more likely to go this 'safe' route rather than run the risk of bringing in two or three guys that potentially give the optics of 'poor signings' later in the season. The potential reward does not equal the tangible risk, for the Oilers GM anyway.

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#56 topshelf FMNF
March 19 2009, 09:46AM
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So if we resign Roloson and sign mediocre goalie X and they play decent enough next year, what do you do at the end of next year? Do we sign 2 more mediocre goalies and hope for another break out year? Because if that is the plan we already have a back up goalie who may be mediocre or he may be ready to take the next step. I just don't see what the point of all this is?

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#57 topshelf FMNF
March 19 2009, 09:56AM
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Eventually this franchise needs to start looking farther forward and that means taking the necessary steps to set the franchise up for long term success.

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#58 Ender the Dragon
March 19 2009, 10:10AM
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@ topshelf FMNF:

Jon's argument is that signing two reasonably good goalies is the required step to long-term success, and that JDD hasn't shown himself to fall into that catagory yet. I can't argue the JDD point (there really are other affordable options with a better and more proven record than our personal home-grown guy) but I do think that the 'pick-two-and-pray' concept might be a difficult row to hoe in the Edmonton market.

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#59 Peter Pan
March 19 2009, 10:18AM
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Gene's Pubes wrote:

FMNF

Pardon my lack of computer jibber, but what does FMNF stand for?

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#60 Rick
March 19 2009, 10:25AM
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topshelf FMNF wrote:

So if we resign Roloson and sign mediocre goalie X and they play decent enough next year, what do you do at the end of next year? Do we sign 2 more mediocre goalies and hope for another break out year? Because if that is the plan we already have a back up goalie who may be mediocre or he may be ready to take the next step. I just don’t see what the point of all this is?

Roloson is a good stop gap for one more year. I would like to see the Oilers go big for a tender but if there is no market at getting one then bring back Rollie and hope that something presents itself in the next year.

The worst thing the Oilers could do is go out and settle for the first guy available simply because they are eager to fill the position long term.

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#61 Ender the Dragon
March 19 2009, 10:35AM
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Rick wrote:

The worst thing the Oilers could do is go out and settle for the first guy available simply because they are eager to fill the position long term.

I would shorten that statement.

Tyler wrote:

Some years the pucks hit you, some years they don’t.

In my mind, then, I would simply say that the worst thing the Oilers could do is go out and sign any guy to the position long-term. With the uncertainty for most of these guys year-to-year, I don't think we'll ever see anything close to the Rick DiPietro signing ever again, and damn good thing. The Oilers need to stick to 2-year deals in net, and if you end up losing a guy to free agency, you sign someone else. It's the safest way to get what you're paying for with the fewest (and shortest) nasty surprises.

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#62 speeds
March 19 2009, 10:51AM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

@ topshelf FMNF: Jon’s argument is that signing two reasonably good goalies is the required step to long-term success, and that JDD hasn’t shown himself to fall into that catagory yet. I can’t argue the JDD point (there really are other affordable options with a better and more proven record than our personal home-grown guy) but I do think that the ‘pick-two-and-pray’ concept might be a difficult row to hoe in the Edmonton market.

So it's not that you think the "pick two and pray" theory is a bad one, just that you think management probably won't make that move, even if they think it's the right one, because of how it will be perceived (by the average Oilers fan) if things don't happen to work out?

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#63 Ender the Dragon
March 19 2009, 11:18AM
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@ speeds: I couldn't say that. I'm not a dark-horse kind of guy. I don't often bet on the long-shot. I'm more comfortable eating up $6M in cap space per year on a proven commoditity (and then still praying, but now it's that he doesn't get hurt) than I am picking two names out of the hat that might rise to the occassion.

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#64 Tombo
March 19 2009, 11:45AM
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@ Ender the Dragon:

I can see where you're coming from, but looking ahead to next season who exactly are these "6M commodities" you're refering to? There are only a handful of those types of goalies in the league as JW has already pointed out, there won't be any in this year's UFA pool and I'm willing to bet most teams aren't in a big hurry to trade their starting goaltender. What are you suggesting the Oilers do in order to give themselves the best chance to win next season?

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#65 joe
March 19 2009, 11:46AM
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Might be the worse article I have ever read.

1st- Hiller wasn't a mistake at the time. He was sought after by a quite a few teams including the Oilers.

2nd- Rinne is eligible for calder To be eligible for the award, a player cannot have played more than 25 games in any single preceding season nor in six or more games in each of any two preceding seasons in any major professional league. The player must not be older than 26 years before September 15 of the season in which he is eligible.

His birthday is in Novemeber

So not even part way through and you already loss my interest.

All those teams with medicore goals are all looking for that better goalie, so your theory once again is BS.

Why do people continue to use Detroit as all reasoning? They are a one of kind club. You know why they don't need a top goalie? It's because they have top players at every other position that have bought into a system.

As mentioned two goalie system that would be in Edmonton would be a bandaid solution.

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#66 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 11:50AM
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joe wrote:

Why do people continue to use Detroit as all reasoning? They are a one of kind club. You know why they don’t need a top goalie? It’s because they have top players at every other position that have bought into a system.

They're a one-of-a-kind club because of the reasoning they use. Sure, they've been successful for years now, but they weren't when Ken Holland took over - he used mediocre goaltenders well before they were a success every year and they did just fine.

If you need to pick someone to imitate, Detroit's the team.

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#67 Tombo
March 19 2009, 11:52AM
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@ joe:

Similar question for you as the one I asked Ender above. If we don't go this route what exactly are you suggesting is the Oilers best alternative in order to have a chance to win next year?

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#68 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 11:52AM
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joe wrote:

2nd- Rinne is eligible for calder To be eligible for the award, a player cannot have played more than 25 games in any single preceding season nor in six or more games in each of any two preceding seasons in any major professional league. The player must not be older than 26 years before September 15 of the season in which he is eligible.

My mistake - I saw 25 games and thought 25 years of age. I had a long post written to explain that to you and then I realized 26 years of age was the cut-off.

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#69 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 11:54AM
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joe wrote:

1st- Hiller wasn’t a mistake at the time. He was sought after by a quite a few teams including the Oilers.

I never said Hiller was a mistake - I said the Burke was criticized for grabbing a third goaltender when he already had two, which he was.

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#70 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 11:57AM
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joe wrote:

All those teams with medicore goals are all looking for that better goalie, so your theory once again is BS

Detroit didn't bother upgrading, did they? Were the Oilers looking for an alternative to Garon/Roloson at the start of the season? Your mileage may vary on Cam Ward, but Carolina's stuck with him through a bunch of crap years. Colorado happily (and stupidly) went into this season with Budaj/Raycroft. L.A dumped Labarbera and gave the job to Quick/Ersberg. Nashville seems pretty happy with their tandem. Ditto St. Louis. Washington chose not to upgrade Theodore/Johnson.

I think it's clear you're wrong on this point.

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#71 topshelf FMNF
March 19 2009, 11:59AM
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Rick wrote:

Roloson is a good stop gap for one more year. I would like to see the Oilers go big for a tender but if there is no market at getting one then bring back Rollie and hope that something presents itself in the next year.

Is that the same kind of hope we had for the kid line this year? Just asking..

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#72 chirp
March 19 2009, 12:01PM
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ONe problem, IMO 2 decent goalies may get you a good record in the regular season, but show me when it brought playoff success, I would say the Detroit model might be an anomoly. It would create second guessing and uncertainty amongst the team,

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#73 joe
March 19 2009, 12:05PM
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@ Tombo: Next year we probably have no choice, but they have to look at acquiring someone with the potential of being a #1. As of right now I'd stay status quo.

Everyone is quick to give JDD the boot, but why? Lets give this kid some chances next year and see if he is the future

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#74 Tombo
March 19 2009, 12:05PM
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@ chirp:

Edmonton Oilers - 2006 Cup Run

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#75 Tim S
March 19 2009, 12:06PM
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At least JDD in some capacity gives hope. A 40 year old and a fill in the blank journeyman backup tells me there is no hope. I could live through a Roloson JDD combo, or a Biron JDD combo or even a Niitymakki combo. But if I see Roloson and Labarbera as #1-2 on the depth chart then I cancel my season tickets.

As much as AHL save %'s are nice to look at, where does the fact that guys like Gerber, Denis, Legace, Labarbera were all cast aside in one way shape or form by their teams come into play.

What about Clemmenson's awful sv% this season in the AHL, does that mean he went from AHL goalie to NHL goalie in no time only to go back to a AHL goalie just as fast??

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#76 Tombo
March 19 2009, 12:09PM
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@ joe:

Yeah, it's hard to know what to do about JDD... Can't argue the fact that he hasn't had success at the AHL level yet and at that point do you sacrifice the playing time of our other prospects for his sake or cut your losses? I haven't really seen much of any of our goaltending prospects, so I really can't say what the best course of action would be there.

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#77 joe
March 19 2009, 12:11PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

joe wrote: All those teams with medicore goals are all looking for that better goalie, so your theory once again is BS Detroit didn’t bother upgrading, did they? Were the Oilers looking for an alternative to Garon/Roloson at the start of the season? Your mileage may vary on Cam Ward, but Carolina’s stuck with him through a bunch of crap years. Colorado happily (and stupidly) went into this season with Budaj/Raycroft. L.A dumped Labarbera and gave the job to Quick/Ersberg. Nashville seems pretty happy with their tandem. Ditto St. Louis. Washington chose not to upgrade Theodore/Johnson. I think it’s clear you’re wrong on this point.

Again Detroit can't be included.

Edmonton had no choise and after all Garon was affordable at 1mil.

St.Louis is only using one goalie.

LA isn't going anywhere this year so they are playing the kids.

NSH didn't plan on spliting time this year it just happened due to Rinne stepping up.

COL will be looking at different options this off-season as it failed miserably

WSH did upgrade. They went from Kolzig to huet to Theodore. When Theodore was brought in he was to be the #1 outright.

2 Teams wanted to do the goalie duos. Det and Bos, next year Boston won't be

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#78 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 12:14PM
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joe wrote:

Again Detroit can’t be included. Edmonton had no choise and after all Garon was affordable at 1mil. St.Louis is only using one goalie. LA isn’t going anywhere this year so they are playing the kids. NSH didn’t plan on spliting time this year it just happened due to Rinne stepping up. COL will be looking at different options this off-season as it failed miserably WSH did upgrade. They went from Kolzig to huet to Theodore. When Theodore was brought in he was to be the #1 outright.

St. Louis entered the year with Manny Legace/Chris Mason as a tandem (which is what I'm advocating). Legace bombed and Mason outperformed - which is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.. Nashville entered the year with two goaltenders, and were lucky they did because of the struggles of Ellis.

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#79 joe
March 19 2009, 12:17PM
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@ Tombo: Apparently Dubynk will be ready after next season.

Thing with JDD is we hurt him by not having a farm team when we first had him. If he isn't what this team needs then get rid of him.

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#80 joe
March 19 2009, 12:18PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: So in cap world and economic decline what do you do with that extra goalie when he drops off.

STL/NSH probably aren't the best example either. Both could miss the playoffs, so is that a good system or not?

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#81 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 12:21PM
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joe wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: So in cap world and economic decline what do you do with that extra goalie when he drops off. STL/NSH probably aren’t the best example either. Both could miss the playoffs, so is that a good system or not?

That's the beauty of the system - because you're signing two cheap goaltenders to short-term contracts, you aren't handcuffed the way you would be if you signed, say Nikolai Khabibulin to a big-money, long-term contract. It's a system that works better in a cap world than a non-cap world.

As for STL/NSH, I'd say they might miss the playoffs inspite of their goaltending, not because of it. Would you agree?

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#82 joe
March 19 2009, 12:25PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Still going to be paying someone 2mil to do nothing.

STL will miss because the injuries on D.

As for NSH there because problem is the road.

Are any of the bubble teams going to miss because of goaltending? In the west anyways.

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#83 Rick
March 19 2009, 12:25PM
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topshelf FMNF wrote:

Is that the same kind of hope we had for the kid line this year? Just asking..

Yeah pretty much, still better than going with the sure thing that was Dustin Penner.

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#84 joe
March 19 2009, 12:27PM
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Edit: Dallas might miss because Turco took 40 games to get going.

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#85 joe
March 19 2009, 12:28PM
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@ Rick: Penner was never a sure thing, but he should be better. Seems to be doing better in a smaller role

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#86 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 12:37PM
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joe wrote:

Edit: Dallas might miss because Turco took 40 games to get going.

Which is another good example of why placing your hope in a 5-10 ranked "sure thing" goaltender can get you into trouble.

With a competent backup, Dallas would not have had to struggle the way they did.

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#87 joe
March 19 2009, 12:57PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: While somewhat true, how many games has Turco stole for them since he re-gained form. Both have there hits and misses, but I think a system would be the best bet.

Why aren't the Oilers playing the way they did when they went to the cup final?

Truthfully goaltending isn't an issue in Edmonton right now, maybe not playing the backup is but that's about it. The problem is it will be in another year or two and we need to start looking at having a youger goalie that can step in and take over from Rollie.

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#88 topshelf FMNF
March 19 2009, 01:45PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: Avery might've had something to do with there slide, not just Turco.

@ joe: Thats just it. By never playing JDD the Oilers handcuffed themselves because they, like us, have no idea if JDD is capable of taking over.

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#89 Mike
March 19 2009, 01:52PM
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@Jonathan Willis

The idea of Roli splitting duties with JDD is purely dreaming. As long as MacT is head coach, Roli will start 60-70 games. He proved that last year as Roli struggled mightily and it took MacT 50-60 games to figure that out.

I seem to be in a bit of a minority in that I am not comfortable with Roli as a starter. Period. He's showing his 39 year old legs in his poor movement across the crease, poor edge control and at times poor anticipation of the play. He made some decent saves against the Blues but got lucky when a few shots that he was sliding wide on, hit him.

On average, he's given up 1-2 soft goals a game this year. Sure he's made forty saves in a game but when you give up one or two backbreakers in that game too...

He can get hot but when he's cold, he's frozen solid.

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#90 oilerdiehard
March 19 2009, 02:28PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: What are your thoughts on Perugini going forward (down the road). At the time we signed Pitton to a 2 way deal. I wondered if it was not Perugini that was the better bet to give that contract. Perugini had consistently better numbers in the same junior league and I think he is about 6 months younger too.

Do you think Perugini's size at 5'11 played into things here? He is certainly out performing Pitton in the ECHL this year by a comfortable margin. He will probably finish the year with numbers not too far behind Dubnyk's rookie pro year. As he seems to be picking up momentum as the season goes along.

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#91 joe
March 19 2009, 02:36PM
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@ Mike: Rollie is not to play at all. He lets the odd soft one in and not 1-2 a game, but how about all the great saves he makes on 40 shots?

Why not play Rollie 60 and JDD 20. You don't need to play your rookie backup 40 games.

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#92 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 02:39PM
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@ oilerdiehard:

I've been a big fan of Perugini, but his performance in the ECHL this season hasn't sold me on him as a future NHL 'tender. His numbers are a little bit back of Deslauriers/Dubnyk at the same age.

He's clearly better than Pitton, but Pitton has bombed miserably thus far this season. I'd give Perugini another year in the ECHL, and if he excels than I'd find an AHL team for him.

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#93 joe
March 19 2009, 02:43PM
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So I got confused here with this talk of Bjurling and Perugini.

I looked up Bjurling and found that he is 30 years old, also do we have him signed to a contract anymore?

Perugini while he is young at 20 isn't drafted. Is he signed by us or just playing for our farm team.

And seriously are either of these two guys the any better than what we have already in the system?

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#94 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 02:59PM
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@ joe:

Perugini's better than Pitton/Fisher, but he's singed to an AHL/ECHL contract, not an entry-level deal.

According to Guy Flaming Bjurling is still Oilers' property; I think that he isn't signed but they still own his rights (although off the top of my head I'm not sure). He's had a very nice career in Europe, and it would be nice to see him in North America.

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#95 joe
March 19 2009, 03:04PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ joe: Perugini’s better than Pitton/Fisher, but he’s singed to an AHL/ECHL contract, not an entry-level deal. According to Guy Flaming Bjurling is still Oilers’ property; I think that he isn’t signed but they still own his rights (although off the top of my head I’m not sure). He’s had a very nice career in Europe, and it would be nice to see him in North America.

Maybe Bjurling could be one of these wonders that don't excel until most are thinking about retiring. With that said if the Oilers are high on him they better get him into the AHL next year. How many years can they wait for him? Find out if he can play if not next project.

We need to start cleaning the prospect closet, too many mediocore prospects in the system. I am getting pissed of that we can't sign so and so because we only have one roster spot left and they don't want to lose it. Kinda like that Russian the other year. They said he would've went higher then Cherpanov but didn't want to play in NA. He then decides to play in the WHL and we invite him to camp, sure he didn't excel but the guy obviously had some talent to be ranked that high.

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#96 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 03:11PM
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@ joe:

I remember the guy you mean - although as I recall he bombed over here and is back in Russia now. I just can't remember his name - although I remember that one scout called him a "greasy" player because he didn't shy from contact.

Neither Bjurling nor Perugini count against the roster spot cap because neither is signed to an NHL contract.

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#97 joe
March 19 2009, 03:16PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ joe: I remember the guy you mean - although as I recall he bombed over here and is back in Russia now. I just can’t remember his name - although I remember that one scout called him a “greasy” player because he didn’t shy from contact. Neither Bjurling nor Perugini count against the roster spot cap because neither is signed to an NHL contract.

I thought it was pro contracts of 50, which includes AHL contracts? And if I am wrong, who are those 50 players anyways? I never seem to be able to find a list.

So a greasy player that doesn't shy away from contact. Geez we don't need a guy like that in the system.

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#98 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 03:22PM
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@ joe:

I'm going to try and put that list together sometime this week, because I haven't seen a complete listing either. But it can't include AHL contracts too; the Oilers have two affiliates (AHL and ECHL) and most of the ECHL guys are on AHL-ECHL contracts - there's way more than fifty players there.

I wish I could remember the name of that Russian.

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#99 Jonathan Willis
March 19 2009, 03:26PM
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Vitali Karamnov! Nothing special, although I suppose he could be a late-bloomer.

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#100 joe
March 19 2009, 03:38PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Vitali Karamnov! Nothing special, although I suppose he could be a late-bloomer.

By that as it may. The fact of the matter is he was highly ranked and we couldn't take him because we had too many contracts. Now I know we ended up giving that spot to Gagner that year, but when waivers came around we couldn't take anyone either.

It wouldn't have hurt to give him a contract and then if he wanted to go back to Russia for a couple years so be it. Odds are next year players will be coming back from Russia anyways. Would've been the time to sell him to comeback.

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