Oilers Negotiating With Dwayne Roloson

Jonathan Willis
June 17 2009 11:11AM

roli1

I’ve been watching the newswire pretty closely over the last few months for news on Dwayne Roloson. For all of the holes on the team, the most important one to address before next season is the currently empty number one goaltending slot.

This morning, Rob Tychowski gave all of us a rather vague update on the negotiations so far:

The Oilers also entered preliminary discussions with netminder Dwayne Roloson this week, but the talks are more about philosophy than contract mechanics. Roloson's camp considers him an elite-level netminder worthy of elite level money (and term) while the Oilers have to decide whether they're interested in entering a multi-year deal with a veteran netminder who'd be 41 in the second year of a contract. It's a tough call when they have Jeff Deslauriers in the wings and there are younger options out there on the trade and UFA fronts. They'll talk again later this week.

A few points, if I may:

1) Jeff Deslauriers is not an option for the starter’s job next season. He simply isn’t, and running out of the gates with him in the #1 role is as stupid as Colorado’s decision to roll with Budaj/Raycroft last season. Possibly stupider, since Budaj at least had a consistent NHL track record. He’s easily in the picture for the backup job, but he’s not close to supplanting Roloson.

2) I’d like to see Roloson come back. He’s a combative professional, and there’s never been any question about his effort in Edmonton. He was one of the few bright spots over this past season, and I can’t understand why so many people seem to dislike him so much.

3) That said, Dwayne Roloson is not an elite-level netminder. He’s not even the best UFA goaltender this summer - more on that in a moment.

4) Finally, there are plenty of available goaltenders and precious few starting jobs. Roloson isn’t likely to get a multi-year deal from anybody else, and Steve Tambellini shouldn’t give him one – even if it means that he walks.

Taking A Look At The Field

I did this ten days ago when discussing where Josh Harding might fit into the Oilers plans, but here’s another look at avg. save percentage over the past three years with Dwayne Roloson in bold:

  • Anderson: .928 SV% (.931, .935, .924)
  • Biron: .913 SV% (.899/.908, .918, .915)
  • Khabibulin: .909 SV% (.902, .909, .919)
  • Roloson: .909 SV% (.909, .901, .915)
  • Conklin: .909 SV% (.871/.892, .923, .909)
  • Clemmensen: .909 SV% (.889, .839, .917)
  • Garon: .908 SV% (.907, .913, .895/.894)
  • Gerber: .907 SV% (.906, .910, .899/.905)
  • Fernandez: .906 SV% (.911, .832, .910)
  • Labarbera: .906 SV% (.910, .893/.915)
  • Legace: .904 SV% (.907, .911, .885)
  • Boucher: .904 SV% (.884/.866, .932, .917)

Of goaltenders in the same range, Craig Anderson hasn’t been a starter, while Nikolai Khabibulin has been inconsistent since winning the Cup in Tampa Bay and frankly scares me a little given what his salary is likely to be. With Philadelphia apparently running out Emery/Esche as their tandem for next season (and good luck with that, by the way), Martin Biron is looking for a new home and given his age and track record I think he’d have to be considered a better option than Roloson.

In any case, there are at least three starting-calibre goalies out there (four if you include Anderson) and that doesn’t count guys like Harding, Halak or Lehtonen who might be available via trade. Steve Tambellini has all the leverage here; if Roloson balks at a one-year deal, he has plenty of options.

In other words, if, as Tychowski says, Roloson is looking for “elite level money (and term)”, it’s might help to point out to him that Martin Biron and Nikolai Khabibulin are both on the market.

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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 mattmarcin
June 17 2009, 11:15AM
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I would love if we got Khabi at a good price but he will demand too much. Please dont sign that clown Biron. If anything go with JDD and Anderson.

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#2 Ender the Dragon
June 17 2009, 11:18AM
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I wouldn't mind seeing Roli back on a two-year deal if the second year of the deal payed very low dollars (ie. the kind you could bury in the minors and not miss it). In the second year of the deal, Roli could be your very affordable #2 if he was still competitive or could be 'retired' at low-cost if you had someone better.

Where I balk is if Roli needs 'elite' money both both years of the contract.

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#3 Colin
June 17 2009, 11:23AM
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@ mattmarcin:

Why is Biron a clown, does he paint up his face and scare small children?

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#4 Archaeologuy
June 17 2009, 11:26AM
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I really like Biron, but someone will be offering him more money than the Oilers will, especially if they pick up some big salary player via trade.

Roloson is on glue if he thinks someone will be offering him a multi year deal at his age. It doesnt matter how good he is right now at all. Cap falling, player's almost 40, player thinks he's an elite performer. Someone is going to be disappointed in July, and he name rhymes with Hoboson.

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#5 Wanye Gretz
June 17 2009, 11:26AM
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Colin wrote:

does he paint up his face and scare small children?

Don't you dare bring Michael Jackson into this.

HEEE HEEEEEE!

*grabs groin and kicks*

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#6 ScubaSteve
June 17 2009, 11:27AM
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I would much rather go into the season with a guy like Harding or Anderson, than an ancient Roloson. I base this totally on his age, and the fact that his contract would likely be higher than any other 40 year old out there, goalie or not.

If his camp thinks he is an elite talent, they missed the bus. Goalie hit their stride later, yes, but not when they are 39. The best player on an average team is still just above average.

If we are gonna sign Roli, because he's "good enough", lets sing a 10 year younger "good enough".

Let him walk, go younger, and start working on the future of that position.

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#7 Archaeologuy
June 17 2009, 11:27AM
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@ Colin: clown ARE scary. Fact.

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#8 scorecoff hemmercules
June 17 2009, 11:30AM
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@ mattmarcin:

What makes Khabi so much better of an option than Biron?? I personally would rather have Roli at 3 mil than Khabi at 5 (which he will probably want). I have heard Biron is looking for something in the 5 mil range which is too much for him IMO but he's still a good option. The only other guys I would consider on that list are Clemmenson and Anderson.

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#9 Robin Brownlee
June 17 2009, 11:31AM
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How is Khabibulan even listed as an option coming off a good season and a ticket of $6.75 million? There's no chance, none, the Oilers spend a nickel over $4.5 million on both goaltenders combined because it'll tie their hands when it comes to addressing holes at forward and mute any pie-in-the-sky talk about chasing a big name FA or getting into the Heatley bidding.

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#10 ScubaSteve
June 17 2009, 11:34AM
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scorecoff hemmercules wrote:

I personally would rather have Roli at 3 mil

No way I would take Roli at anywhere close to 3m, I would be offering in the 2-2.5 range. He'll have limited options, there's not point in overspending here.

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#11 scorecoff hemmercules
June 17 2009, 11:34AM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

Exactly what I was thinking. Do you agree with trying to sign Roloson again?? I say let him walk unless its a 1 year deal, his reaction time and side to side movement are getting slower and slower every year IMO.

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#12 Archaeologuy
June 17 2009, 11:35AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

it’ll tie their hands when it comes to addressing holes at forward and mute any pie-in-the-sky talk about chasing a big name FA or getting into the Heatley bidding.

Speaking of the often unmentioned possibility of landing Heatley, it sure seems like there arent that many people contacting Murray about Heatley, advantage Oilers.

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#13 scorecoff hemmercules
June 17 2009, 11:38AM
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@ ScubaSteve:

If we want him for one year only, I don't think less than 3 mil will cut it for him and his agent. I'm not really saying I want Roli back, I just don't want the "Bhulin wall" (funny nickname considering the berlin wall is a pile of useless rubble).

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#14 Lofty
June 17 2009, 11:41AM
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1 year or no deal.

I dont think it would be too far fetched that Garon comes back. Like the article says there are only so many starting jobs out there and Garon would have to be a fool to not jump onto an open team.

The oil should not spend more than 2 million a year on whatever goalie they choose.

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#15 Colin
June 17 2009, 11:41AM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

Colin wrote: does he paint up his face and scare small children? Don’t you dare bring Michael Jackson into this. HEEE HEEEEEE! *grabs groin and kicks*

He might be a clown, but he scares everyone, I just Sh*t myself thinking about it.

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#16 Colin
June 17 2009, 11:42AM
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2-2.25 max.

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#17 Jonathan Willis
June 17 2009, 11:49AM
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RE: Big money goalies

So: 1. Biron wants 5MM+ 2. Khabibulin is coming off a good season and earned 6.75MM last year 3. Roloson wants "elite money" 4. A mess of backup types (Anderson,Clemmensen,Conklin) are coming off good years and will want raises

Who exactly is going to pay these guys? Only Colorado, Edmonton, the Islanders, maybe Toronto and Washington (they'd need to move Toskala and Theodore, respectively) are in the market. It makes no sense for Nw York to spend money; they'll stink anyway.

That leaves two spots for three good goaltenders: Edmonton and Colorado. And that assumes that one of them doesn't do something else, like trade for Giguere or Lehtonen.

At least one of KHabi/Roli/Biron is going to be unhappy soon.

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#18 Shifty203
June 17 2009, 11:51AM
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@ Lofty: Lofty wrote:

1 year or no deal. I dont think it would be too far fetched that Garon comes back. Like the article says there are only so many starting jobs out there and Garon would have to be a fool to not jump onto an open team. The oil should not spend more than 2 million a year on whatever goalie they choose.

After Garon crapped the bed last season when he had the starter job under his belt I would be surprised if anyone offers him a job in the Nhl this year. I see him heading over to Europe or Russia next year. We are looking for a starter, not another backup.

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#19 David S
June 17 2009, 11:54AM
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Roli's camp goes in high with the "elite level" pitch. That's just negotiation tactics to get the ball rolling. The Oiler's "yeah but" response is where he'll actually end up.

Better than him going in and saying he figures he'll be an OK option for next year. The Oilers would offer $1.5m and he'd have to take it because I think he knows there's not nearly as much interest in him due to the number of younger, good goalies out there.

The team has a history of doling out lots of "loyalty credits" in the past and Roli's agent knows it. Maybe it'll be different with Tambellini.

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#20 Jonathan Willis
June 17 2009, 11:58AM
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@ Robin Brownlee:

That 4.5MM number - are you using logic to get that, or have you heard that number from someone with the team?

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#21 myteammytown
June 17 2009, 12:03PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

I wouldn’t mind seeing Roli back on a two-year deal if the second year of the deal payed very low dollars (ie. the kind you could bury in the minors and not miss it). In the second year of the deal, Roli could be your very affordable #2 if he was still competitive or could be ‘retired’ at low-cost if you had someone better. Where I balk is if Roli needs ‘elite’ money both both years of the contract.

since roli is over 35, his cap hit would count, regardless if he is in the minors or retires.

it is a huge, huge risk to sign a guy over 35 to anything more than a 1 year deal, especially if the $$$$ is significant

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#22 Chris
June 17 2009, 12:11PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

That leaves two spots for three good goaltenders: Edmonton and Colorado. And that assumes that one of them doesn’t do something else, like trade for Giguere or Lehtonen. At least one of KHabi/Roli/Biron is going to be unhappy soon.

Could you forward this to Roli's agent? I'd love to see him back in a two year $4-5 million contract. Any cap hit above 2.5 is unacceptable for a 40 year old netminder who played really well for only half his previous contract.

What news of the "Monster"?

THAT might be a gamble worth taking. I value SEL tenders slightly higher than their AHL counterparts. Though the overall skill level in the AHL and SEL seems comparable; it would be wrong to forget that Gustavsson posted those numbers playing against MEN; SEL shooters are often patient and mature...

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#23 ted alexander
June 17 2009, 12:17PM
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Roli was a back up for most of his career, he didn't really start until he showed up in Edmonton. Meaning, not many miles on the body. Gretzky was on the ice all the time from age 2 - 32 and it seems that he got wore out. Roli was mostly on the bench and as a result may be good for five more years. Not like I know anything, but as for me I'd gamble on roli before any of the other names on this thread.

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#24 MrOiler
June 17 2009, 12:26PM
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I think Roloson had a hell of a year last season. I think he can still play. However, the 2 year deal spooks me. As well, the goalie market is flush on the supply-side.

I'd offer a one year deal with decent dollars say $2.5MM and low ball a 2 year deal: $3.5MM for both years.

The man is a battler, so he could play great for 2 more years. I wouldn't put it past him. If you look at his late start in the NHL and his last season's surprise, he's hardly had a conventional career.

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#25 Shifty203
June 17 2009, 12:31PM
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MrOiler wrote:

I think Roloson had a hell of a year last season. I think he can still play. However, the 2 year deal spooks me. As well, the goalie market is flush on the supply-side. I’d offer a one year deal with decent dollars say $2.5MM and low ball a 2 year deal: $3.5MM for both years. The man is a battler, so he could play great for 2 more years. I wouldn’t put it past him. If you look at his late start in the NHL and his last season’s surprise, he’s hardly had a conventional career.

This would be my plan as well.

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#26 BigE57
June 17 2009, 12:36PM
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One year plus a team option for Roli and if he wants elite level money it would have to come in the form of bonus money. Something for save percentage, GAA, wins and or games played, though the last one might be a little tough if the Oilers are going to try and give the back-up some games this year.

Otherwise I think I would chase Biron, Harding or Anderson.

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#27 Alon
June 17 2009, 12:55PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: 2) I’d like to see Roloson come back. He’s a combative professional, and there’s never been any question about his effort in Edmonton. He was one of the few bright spots over this past season, and I can’t understand why so many people seem to dislike him so much.

Well just putting it out there but maybe people don't like Roloson because he is inconsistent (I am sure you know his stats for 07-08), and over values himself. As for the combative part, unfortunately for him (and every team he plays for) most of the battling Roli does is with the puck.

For me personally, its not that I dislike Roli, but the truth is Roli is a 40 year old, inconsistent, journeyman (back up) goalie. There are a lot better options out there that will cost less, and are younger (Josh Harding).

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#28 Hunter
June 17 2009, 12:57PM
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I really like the Harding trade possiblity/rumour - JW, keep us posted on that front. Would Halak be a decent possiblity as well?

I agree with ScubaSteve... I'd like to see the Oilers get a little younger at this position. Roloson can take is "elite" demands to the KHL and replace Emery over there...

I'm guessing that Lehtonen and Giguere's names haven't been thrown around as much because they're making too much $?

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#29 The Menace
June 17 2009, 01:00PM
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@ Chris: hxxp://www.nationalpost.com/sports/story.html?id=1691510

edmonton not on that monster's short list. I don't know why these swedish guys like Dallas so much.

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#30 Victoria
June 17 2009, 01:02PM
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I don't see Biron handling the #1 role in Edmonton very well (heck, he didn't handle it well in Philly) and if he's asking for 5 mil there's no way he's worth the gamble. I could see the Aves going for him, though.

With Bulin, I'm getting the sense that Chicago will take him back. They can't be happy with the way Huet played last year and with them going back to Bulin, why would they want to just drop him now (unless he still wants the same money).

I'm happy to have Roli back on a two years deal *if*, like others said, it's at a 2-2.5 mil range. I'm amazed that a guy who knows he's at the tail end of his career would be considering himself elite. Mind you that is his agent talking. I doubt Roli's camp is going to be unwavering in their stance.

If the Oilers still believe JDD is the future of this team, it makes sense to keep Roli on for a couple of years and give the kid a gradually expanding role in net, then they can judge if he's good to go or not.

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#31 The Gloved One
June 17 2009, 01:03PM
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Wanye Gretz wrote:

Colin wrote: does he paint up his face and scare small children? Don’t you dare bring Michael Jackson into this. HEEE HEEEEEE! *grabs groin and kicks*

Jesus Juice anyone? Anyone??

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#32 Victoria
June 17 2009, 01:05PM
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The Menace wrote:

@ Chris: hxxp://www.nationalpost.com/sports/story.html?id=1691510 edmonton not on that monster’s short list. I don’t know why these swedish guys like Dallas so much.

I'm putting a case of Corona on Gustavsson going to Toronto. Burke getting Allaire is his way of baiting him (and that's some good bait)

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#33 Jonathan Willis
June 17 2009, 01:05PM
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Chris wrote:

What news of the “Monster”?

I wrote about it here. From the sounds of it today, it's between Colorado and Toronto.

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#34 Jonathan Willis
June 17 2009, 01:07PM
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Victoria wrote:

I don’t see Biron handling the #1 role in Edmonton very well (heck, he didn’t handle it well in Philly) and if he’s asking for 5 mil there’s no way he’s worth the gamble.

I don't think he's worth 5MM either, but I thought he handled things well in Philly. One long playoff run (and a .919 this year) plus two full seasons of .915 and .918 save percentages.

He's been a top-fifteen goalie over the last couple of seasons for sure I think, possibly top-10.

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#35 Tim S
June 17 2009, 01:09PM
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ted alexander wrote:

Roli was a back up for most of his career, he didn’t really start until he showed up in Edmonton. Meaning, not many miles on the body.

Roloson had 4 years in the minors, does that add any addition miles to the body?? Since 2000 he has played in a min of 43 games a year. He is what he is a 40 year old goalie.

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#36 blueoiler
June 17 2009, 01:13PM
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BigE57 wrote:

One year plus a team option for Roli and if he wants elite level money it would have to come in the form of bonus money. Something for save percentage, GAA, wins and or games played, though the last one might be a little tough if the Oilers are going to try and give the back-up some games this year. Otherwise I think I would chase Biron, Harding or Anderson.

remember there is no possibility of option contracts

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#37 BigE57
June 17 2009, 01:19PM
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blueoiler wrote:

remember there is no possibility of option contracts

@ blueoiler: Thanks.... I didn't remember and trying to keep up with this site and actually earn a living at the same time don't equate to checking over the CBA a whole lot.

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#38 Dan Tencer
June 17 2009, 01:24PM
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The Menace wrote:

I don’t know why these swedish guys like Dallas so much.

Gustavsson's girlfriend and Brunnstrom's girlfriend happen to be BFF's. I hate that I know that, but I do.

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#39 Victoria
June 17 2009, 01:26PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Victoria wrote: I don’t see Biron handling the #1 role in Edmonton very well (heck, he didn’t handle it well in Philly) and if he’s asking for 5 mil there’s no way he’s worth the gamble. I don’t think he’s worth 5MM either, but I thought he handled things well in Philly. One long playoff run (and a .919 this year) plus two full seasons of .915 and .918 save percentages. He’s been a top-fifteen goalie over the last couple of seasons for sure I think, possibly top-10.

Didn't he lose his starting position to Niittymaki this season? Also, his GAA over that last few years doesn't tell the same story as his save%, but then, no goalie in Oilers recent history has had a good GAA, either. Don't get me wrong, I actually like Biron. If we could get him for cheaper, I'd be more comfortable.

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#40 Archaeologuy
June 17 2009, 01:34PM
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Dan Tencer wrote:

Gustavsson’s girlfriend and Brunnstrom’s girlfriend happen to be BFF’s. I hate that I know that, but I do.

From an organizational standpoint isnt that like dating one girl to get closer to her even hotter friend? That doesnt seem to work in real life, but I'm all for it in Oilerville. We need to start scouting GFs of over seas guys. I begrudgingly volunteer for such an arduous task. Oilers, the ball is in your court.

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#41 DaveS
June 17 2009, 01:49PM
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Anybody know what Tommy Salo is up to these days?!

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#42 BigE57
June 17 2009, 02:00PM
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@ Archaeologuy: Wow, you're on a roll these days, the othe day you were pining for C-list celebreties and today you want us to send you to Sweden. Greedy..........desperate and greedy.

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#43 Lofty
June 17 2009, 02:07PM
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Shifty203 wrote:

After Garon crapped the bed last season when he had the starter job under his belt I would be surprised if anyone offers him a job in the Nhl this year. I see him heading over to Europe or Russia next year. We are looking for a starter, not another backup.

Backups become starters just as starters can become backups. Like most investments you want to buy low and sell high. I believe with the oils cap issues they have to save money and hope to get a guy for 2 million that is worth double that. Not easy to do but thats what the scouts are for.

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#44 Chris
June 17 2009, 02:08PM
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@ Dan Tencer:

Did you explain to Quinn off air that Hemsky is a winger..?. Brutal.

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#45 Lofty
June 17 2009, 02:13PM
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The Menace wrote:

edmonton not on that monster’s short list. I don’t know why these swedish guys like Dallas so much.

They probably still get the Baywatch and Dallas re-runs in Sweden... Oh that greedy J.R.

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#46 Ogden Brother
June 17 2009, 02:17PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

RE: Big money goalies So: 1. Biron wants 5MM+ 2. Khabibulin is coming off a good season and earned 6.75MM last year 3. Roloson wants “elite money” 4. A mess of backup types (Anderson,Clemmensen,Conklin) are coming off good years and will want raises Who exactly is going to pay these guys? Only Colorado, Edmonton, the Islanders, maybe Toronto and Washington (they’d need to move Toskala and Theodore, respectively) are in the market. It makes no sense for Nw York to spend money; they’ll stink anyway. That leaves two spots for three good goaltenders: Edmonton and Colorado. And that assumes that one of them doesn’t do something else, like trade for Giguere or Lehtonen. At least one of KHabi/Roli/Biron is going to be unhappy soon.

Speaking of Toskala, he might be a one year band-aid that we could likely get on the cheap.

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#47 ScubaSteve
June 17 2009, 02:33PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Speaking of Toskala, he might be a one year band-aid that we could likely get on the cheap.

That would be like a presidents choice adhesive band-age, not a band-aid brand bandage. Toskala was brutal in TO last year, really shows what a solid (SJ) team can do for a goalies numbers and value.

What we need to do is look forward, trade for or sign a guy that will be the #1 for 4-5 years (barring injury or him falling apart), not just year-to-year plans

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#48 I'm a Scientist!
June 17 2009, 02:39PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

From an organizational standpoint isnt that like dating one girl to get closer to her even hotter friend? That doesnt seem to work in real life, but I’m all for it in Oilerville. We need to start scouting GFs of over seas guys. I begrudgingly volunteer for such an arduous task. Oilers, the ball is in your court.

*shoots hand in air* DIBS on being Vice President of Hockey Girlfriend Operations!

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#49 Ogden Brother
June 17 2009, 02:40PM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: Speaking of Toskala, he might be a one year band-aid that we could likely get on the cheap. That would be like a presidents choice adhesive band-age, not a band-aid brand bandage. Toskala was brutal in TO last year, really shows what a solid (SJ) team can do for a goalies numbers and value. What we need to do is look forward, trade for or sign a guy that will be the #1 for 4-5 years (barring injury or him falling apart), not just year-to-year plans

Well this years crop is fairly weak, so a one year plan may be benificial. He was also good his first year in TO. I doubt it would take more then a salary dump to get him (Nilsson) and he has just as good a chance as putting up a solid year as any goalie available this summer.

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#50 OvenChicken8
June 17 2009, 03:17PM
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Dan Tencer wrote: Gustavsson’s girlfriend and Brunnstrom’s girlfriend happen to be BFF’s. I hate that I know that, but I do.

First... LOL! It's quite funny that you knew this.

Second... Dallas seems like a good option if you're in it for the money because I believe in Texas you do not pay state Tax on your money earned. Which in the case of these athletes means a lot more in the bank.

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