Where Will The Monster Land?

Jonathan Willis
May 10 2009 11:58AM

monster

If the ancient Chinese curse (which may not have been an ancient Chinese curse) is true, than Jonas Gustavsson has done something offensive because he's definitely living in interesting times.  The undrafted free agent had a brilliant regular season and a better playoff run, and is now being pursued by at least four NHL teams (more on that in a moment).  His national team has also dropped out of contention for the gold medal at the World Championships and his mother is seriously ill.

I had a look at Gustavsson's career to date on my other site, and suffice to say he looks like the kind of goaltender who can step in and perform at a high level immediately.  He should be of interest to the Oilers, and The Pieline Show's interview with Kevin Prendergast indicated that the Oilers brain trust is actively pursuing him.  The Canucks are in a similar situation, with Mike Gillis having admitted to interest in the goaltender.  Unfortunately for both the Oilers and Canucks, it is unclear what chance those clubs have of acquiring him, as there are conflicting reports on the subject. 

First, courtesy of Bruce Garrioch (h/t Lowetide):

Highly touted Swedish goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who has earned the nickname "The Monster" for his performance this season with five shutouts in 13 games for Farjestad, will decide in the next couple of weeks where he's going to play next season. Though the Leafs are considered the front-runner to land the unrestricted free agent netminder, the word is the Oilers, Canucks and Kings have all held talks with Gustavsson's agent.

That's encouraging, but it's hardly the final word, since Wayne Scanlan also weighed in on the matter today:

Speaking of Maple Leafs, or at least a potential Leaf, Jonas ``The Monster'' Gustavsson is expected to visit North America in two weeks. A 24-year-old free agent goaltender from Sweden, Gustavsson says he has narrowed his choice of NHL clubs to four: Dallas, Colorado, San Jose and Toronto.

 Obviously the reports indicate different things, although both could be correct; a team such as Edmonton or Vancouver could have talks with Gustavsson's agent, but not be of interest to the goaltender.  Scanlan claims that his information comes directly from Gustavsson, and I'm not sure there's any reason to doubt his veracity.  It's unfortunate; Gustavsson would have been a useful piece of the puzzle for Edmonton or Vancouver.

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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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#1 Ogden Brother
May 10 2009, 12:16PM
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Too bad, he'd have been a nice gamble to take.

Just another pipe dream for Oiler fans I guess.

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#2 misfit
May 10 2009, 12:49PM
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Whenever there are conflicting reports, and one of those reports is coming from Bruce Garrioch, I often find myself believing the other source.

I definitely agree that Gustavsson is a player we should be looking at, and retaining Roloson to platoon with him would seem like a pretty smart move too. Even if it means giving him 2 years on his contract.

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#3 Cam
May 10 2009, 03:01PM
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misfit wrote:

Whenever there are conflicting reports, and one of those reports is coming from Bruce Garrioch, I often find myself believing the other source. I definitely agree that Gustavsson is a player we should be looking at, and retaining Roloson to platoon with him would seem like a pretty smart move too. Even if it means giving him 2 years on his contract.

I agree with misfit. Roloson appears to still be in top form, and the price will be about right for our cap room, and it gives the Oilers time to figure out if Deslauriers is the A-league material.

Would love to get someone nicknamed Monster who is supposedly great, but we do have options one way or another.

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#4 Wanye Gretz
May 10 2009, 03:09PM
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Isn't Vancouver already stacked at goal? Why would they need this dude?

He's a monster. I like him having no more knowledge than this article and it's linked pieces and a thorough review of YouTube.

This would seriously solve a big problem with the Oilers taking it to the next level. Gustavsson plus Roloson for a year or two in tandem would be sweet.

If there is a guy the Oilers should make a serious push for in the offseason this should be it over a Jagr-type carnival attraction.

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#5 Lofty
May 10 2009, 03:27PM
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Goaltenders are a dime a dozen. Every year you can go on the waiver wire or FA market and pick up a good tender for a low price. You arnt gonna get Luongo or Brodeur but something that you can compete with.

That being said, the oils best player this past year was Roli and they would have lost more games without him.

I think the Oil need to spend the $$$ on some scoring and take some of the pressure off the D and tender. They finished 18th in the league with 228 goals for. 2 teams had less goals than the oil and still made the second season. Not very good odds

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#6 Falcon
May 10 2009, 03:53PM
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Edmonton Journal, http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/edmonton-oilers/Western+Conference/1581768/story.html:

Prize free-agent goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who played for Sweden against Canada in the world hockey championship semifinal on Friday, says he's coming to North America on a look-see basis before deciding which NHL club he wants to sign with. It's likely he'll opt for the Dallas Stars, who have three Swedes on their roster -- Loui Eriksson, Nicklas Grossman and Fabian Brunnstrom. Marty Turco, the Stars' No. 1 goalie, turns 34 in August and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2010.
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#7 Archaeologuy
May 10 2009, 04:12PM
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I dont know why he would go to Dallas, Vancouver, or San Jose. He wont be guaranteed to start at any of those locations. Since we're talking about a UFA goalie who hasnt played in the NHL the guy will want to prove that he can play for at least 2 years as a starter so he can earn a big contract before he's 30. The best opportunities to play (of the teams listed above) are on the Kings, Avalanche, Maple Leafs, and Oilers.

Toskala is making 4 mill next year, but Burke has never seemed to have a problem finding replacements for his Goalies. Still, I wonder if Gustavsson would be leary of signing there because of Tosk.

That leaves (IMO) 3 teams with better prospects at getting the starting gig. I think LA has the most Cap space so i wouldnt be surprised, if a bidding war started, if Gus would end up in LA. However, this might be a good way for Tambi to make a stamp on this team that is unquestionably his own.

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#8 Jonathan Willis
May 10 2009, 04:18PM
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Lofty wrote:

Goaltenders are a dime a dozen. Every year you can go on the waiver wire or FA market and pick up a good tender for a low price.

I've made this point myself a time or two and I agree. The thing with Gustavsson though is that he may well be from the Nik Backstrom/Jonas Hiller mold of goaltender and be a cheap top-end guy.

Archaeologuy wrote:

I think LA has the most Cap space so i wouldnt be surprised, if a bidding war started, if Gus would end up in LA.

Since he'd be on entry level deal, cap space isn't a big concern.

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#9 Archaeologuy
May 10 2009, 04:25PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: I thought as a UFA he wasnt constrained to an entry level contract.

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#10 Rice
May 10 2009, 04:48PM
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why not go after clemmenson he is a cheap idea for a tender and he has had some success at the NHL level

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#11 Quinn
May 10 2009, 05:26PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: I thought as a UFA he wasnt constrained to an entry level contract.

If you are right and the Oil need to outbid to get his services, then I prefer a Clemmenson, Anderson, Halak or Harding. But if all they have to do is promise 60 games in the show on an entry-level then by all means, do it!

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#12 Chris
May 10 2009, 05:57PM
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It might be fun just to drive the bid up a bit on old man Burke.

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#13 Lofty
May 10 2009, 06:50PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I’ve made this point myself a time or two and I agree. The thing with Gustavsson though is that he may well be from the Nik Backstrom/Jonas Hiller mold of goaltender and be a cheap top-end guy.

I think people underestimate the crap-shute that is NHL personnel. If he is the next Hiller is it worth waiting till the end of next season and getting in on the UAF sweepstakes for him?

In my opinion I would let Roli go, start JD for the first game of the season and go from there. If he doesn’t cut it then you go shopping on waivers. It seems so many tenders are endowed their starting position based on the last season or their reputation.

Hell, the oil could probably pick Garon back up for a bag of pucks next year if they need to. We need scoring. If we can find it and hold our defense core in-tact we could be a very dynamic squad scoring with not only our defensemen but our forwards too!

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#14 Harlie
May 10 2009, 07:32PM
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I wonder if Omark not signing here had anything to do with Gustav snubbing his nose at the oil ;)

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#15 RossCreek
May 10 2009, 07:35PM
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Ahh... huh?

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#16 RossCreek
May 10 2009, 07:35PM
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@ Lofty Ahh... huh?

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#17 Lofty
May 10 2009, 08:01PM
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@ RossCreek: well said?

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#18 Harlie
May 10 2009, 08:15PM
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Omark finished 11th in scoring at the WC and his teammate on the Moscow Dynamo (who is also Swedish) Matthias Weinhandel finished 3rd in scoring. The Pardubice Prince finished in 39th and Horcoff didn't crack the top 50 (he got 2 points). So on paper the Dynamo's first line would eat the Oil for breakfast even if we did have Jagr. (He finished in 14th)

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#19 Brian O'Neill
May 10 2009, 09:52PM
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Don't worry the Canucks will have a contract in front of him, but before he signs it, ownership will fire Gillis, and Gustavsson will go somewhere gay like Dallas.

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#20 jeanshorts
May 10 2009, 10:53PM
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@ Brian O'Neill:

Yeah what is with that franchises penchant for firing their GM's? I still have no idea why they tossed Nonis.

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#21 RossCreek
May 10 2009, 11:01PM
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@ Lofty sorry for the double post. Posting from my cell phone on the jobsite lately. I don't understand what you're saying about waiting til after next season when he's a UFA in your earlier post. I'd quote it, but apparently i can't on a cel. "If he is the next Hiller is it worth waiting til the end of next season..." Elaborate?

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#22 Travis Dakin
May 11 2009, 12:50AM
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jeanshorts wrote:

I still have no idea why they tossed Nonis.

Because the Canucks had the audacity to have a record season with him at the helm and then miss the playoffs the next year because of injuries and crappy goaltending. For shame. If there is one group of fans I feel sorry for its the Canucks. 39 years of poorly run teams.

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#23 roughneck
May 11 2009, 01:07AM
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didnt horc score on him?

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#24 humantorch
May 11 2009, 02:26AM
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I saw this article title and assumed it was looking at the possibility of Pierre Maguire ending up in Minnesota.

Imagine my disappointment.

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#25 Jonathan Willis
May 11 2009, 08:25AM
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In fairness to the Canucks organization, I'm fairly sure that Mike Gillis is going to be a very good GM (and that wasn't something I was saying when he was hired).

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#26 Colin
May 11 2009, 08:55AM
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@ humantorch:

Me too, I want him off my TV forever.

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#27 Lofty
May 11 2009, 11:10AM
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@ RossCreek:

Gotcha,

I meant Hiller is making 1.2 a year right now and will be a UFA at the end of next season. If the Ducks decide to pay him then forget about it, but they have Giguere on the books for 13 mill over the next two seasons and it will be impossible for them to hold 2 goalies that are making that kind of $$$

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#28 Steve
May 11 2009, 11:24AM
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We should start a fan blog with comments to try to encourage him to consider Edmonton.

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#29 Chris
May 11 2009, 11:25AM
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@ humantorch: @ Colin:

I totally agree. With Gustavsson NHL bound It is imperative that McGuire land a management position immediately... I don't want Pierre to ever have the satisfaction of making "The Monster" his "Monster" performer.

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#30 Dale
May 11 2009, 11:31AM
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Harlie wrote:

Omark finished 11th in scoring at the WC and his teammate on the Moscow Dynamo (who is also Swedish) Matthias Weinhandel finished 3rd in scoring. The Pardubice Prince finished in 39th and Horcoff didn’t crack the top 50 (he got 2 points). So on paper the Dynamo’s first line would eat the Oil for breakfast even if we did have Jagr. (He finished in 14th)

Maybe the dumbest comment of the year...How come Atlanta and Tampa aren't in the playoffs then, because St. Louis and Kovalchuk were 1,2 in scoring?

Horcoff never played PP...if these players are so good how come none are in the NHL??? Weinhandl couldn't crack the Wild or Islanders...

Try to make at least a somewhat intellectual comparison next time.

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#31 Traktor
May 11 2009, 11:50AM
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"He should be of interest to the Oilers, and The Pieline Show’s interview with Kevin Prendergast indicated that the Oilers brain trust is actively pursuing him."

Actually, KP said that "Roli would be the first priority."

Hard to imagine Edmonton signs Gustavsson when Burke will fly to Sweden to give the Monster's mother a blood transfusion and Edmonton looks at him as insurance in case they can't sign Roli to a 1 year deal.

Not a chance he signs in Edmonton, especially when all of Sweden is bad mouthing Edmonton over the Omark (non) signing.

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#32 RossCreek
May 11 2009, 12:05PM
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@ lofty oh i c, now i gotcha

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#33 The Menace
May 11 2009, 01:15PM
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Chris wrote:

@ humantorch: @ Colin: I totally agree. With Gustavsson NHL bound It is imperative that McGuire land a management position immediately… I don’t want Pierre to ever have the satisfaction of making “The Monster” his “Monster” performer.

roof-daddy! Actually, I thought this was going to be about McGuire too. Count me among the people that never want to hear him declare, "the Monster-Monster!"

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#34 RossCreek
May 11 2009, 01:28PM
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I don't get the Pierre hate. The guy's on the fan 960 twice a week much like McKenzie is here in Edmonton. Great stuff from both! I'd like to see him get the GM job in Minny just to shut all the hater's up. There's no doubt in my mind that he'd turn the Wild into a force. Count me as one who'd miss him on TSN, but I'd like to see what he could do as a GM. Who would he hire as his coach, I wonder?

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#35 The Menace
May 11 2009, 02:18PM
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RossCreek wrote:

I don’t get the Pierre hate. The guy’s on the fan 960 twice a week much like McKenzie is here in Edmonton. Great stuff from both! I’d like to see him get the GM job in Minny just to shut all the hater’s up. There’s no doubt in my mind that he’d turn the Wild into a force. Count me as one who’d miss him on TSN, but I’d like to see what he could do as a GM. Who would he hire as his coach, I wonder?

I'd love to see him get the job in Minny too - just so we don't have to watch him get a visable boner on TV whenever he talks about Dion Phaneuf. Can I say "boner" on this site? I think I would still write "boner" if my mom was looking over my shoulder. Also, he's intolerable on trade deadline day. I just about lost it this year when his analysis included how edmonton basically traded Eric Cole AND Pitkanen for O'Sullivan. He gets so excited that I think he forgets what he's actually saying. That said, I like him for the Minny job!

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#36 RossCreek
May 11 2009, 02:37PM
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@ The Menace A wise man once said be careful what you wish for. Pierre would do a lot better with Minny than Risebrough IMO. Could make the NW tougher in the long run. Oh... I get it... Oil fan hates Pierre so much because he loves Dion. ~makes sense~

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#37 The Menace
May 11 2009, 03:34PM
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@ RossCreek: not everyone swings multiple directions.

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#38 topshelf
May 11 2009, 04:34PM
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@ RossCreek: We "hate" Pierre because sometimes, no wait, most of the time he acts like a blundering idiot. I couldn't care less if he was dating Dion to be honest with you. That doesn't change the fact that he says ridiculous and outrageous things every broadcast that make him sound like an moron.

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