As The Dust Clears

Jonathan Willis
July 10 2009 10:22PM

Flyers Canadiens Hockey

It's been better than a week now since free agency opened, and some things have become readily apparent.  Among them: there were more goalies on the market than there were spots for goalies.

Jim Matheson's article in the Journal today does a nice job looking at the few high-end players left on the free agent, and he gets a few nice quotes in on the predicament facing the man pictured above.  First, Matheson's take on the situation:

Goalies are under the biggest gun. There are only 30 NHL starters. Biron is faced with that sobering reality of doors slamming on him the longer he goes without a new deal. He may have to sign a greatly reduced contract off last year’s $3.5 million, and he might only get work as a backup.

Matheson also talked to player agent Steve Bartlett, who had this to say about the goaltending market:

“Biron’s a good goalie. I’m surprised he’s still there ... but obviously there is a limit to the number of jobs for goalies. There’s six or seven goalies still looking for work (Manny Fernandez, Martin Gerber, Kevin Weekes, Brent Johnson, Marc Denis, Joey McDonald).  Thank God I don’t have any goalies, and I can sleep well at night."

The implications of the above paragraphs to the Oilers are obvious.  There was mixed reaction when the Oilers signed 36-year old Nikolai Khabibulin to a four year contract for 3.75 MM per season - money that will remain marked against the Oilers' salary cap for the next four years, even if Khabibulin were to retire next season.  On the one hand, Khabibulin has won a Stanley Cup as a starter and is certainly a top-15 NHL goaltender when he's on his game.  On the other hand, his performance has been erratic since the NHL lockout - even prompting the Chicago Blackhawks to go out and sign Cristobal Huet last season.

Khabibulin isn't clearly ahead of the 31-year old Biron either, even at this point.  He's posted a .909 SV% and .919 SV% over the past two seasons, while Biron has put up .918 SV% and .915 SV% in Philadelphia.  In two, three, or four years, the picture is likely to be even muddier.

None of this is to say that Khabibulin won't be a quality starter with the Oilers; he had a good season last year, and I'd guess he delivers decent goaltending for at least the first half of his contract.  Compared to other goaltenders in his peer group, the dollar figure on Khabibulin's contract isn't even all that bad.

But given the market this summer, it would have been nice to see the Oilers try a little harder for a bargain, or at the very least not commit themselves to Khabibulin for so long a term - because if Khabibulin's play drops off, the Oilers are going to be over a barrel.  The Oilers certainly failed to take advantage of a (relatively rare) strong bargaining position - a position which has been evident for at least a month.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 ScubaSteve
July 11 2009, 12:30AM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

Thanks for looking that up for me, Willis. The contract does look a touch bad right now, but hopefully we'll be proved wrong in 4 years.

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#52 Jonathan Willis
July 11 2009, 12:31AM
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David S wrote:

At the time, we needed a goalie - a good one.

How many games have we played in the past week, David? There was no pressing need - a simple look at the market and the number of spots (as I, and others have been saying for weeks) meant that a quality guy was going to be available regardless.

And as for the Heatley angle, aside from unsubstantiated conjecture, what evidence is there that Dany Heatley ever said - in any sense - to Steve Tambellini: 'look, get a goalie and I'll think about it'? None, as far as I can tell. And given that he hasn't waived his NMC since, I think it's pretty reasonable to assume that he never made such a statement to Tambellini or the Oilers.

David S wrote:

Who’s to say that the 4 year contract wasn’t Khabi’s line in the sand, or the he was the BPA (to us)?

Khabibulin himself. I quoted him above, but here he is again:

We had some one-year offers. But when I had such a long commitment from the Oilers, it was a pretty easy decision to make.
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#53 Heazues
July 11 2009, 12:39AM
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i think i would rather roli at 2.5/year for 2 more, than khabibulin for 4 years at 3.75/year.

roloson may have been older, but he also had much less mileage on him than most guys his age. he spent a long time as a backup. i think he might have 2 years left in him. but khabi has been a bonifide starter for a while now, and has wracked up alot of playtime.

i dont mind khabi, but the length of that contract scares me.

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#54 Sandra
July 11 2009, 12:42AM
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@ Jonathan Willis: isn't the loop hole is they can send him to the minors before he retires.

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#55 ScubaSteve
July 11 2009, 12:48AM
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Heazues wrote:

roloson may have been older, but he also had much less mileage on him than most guys his age.

I am fed up with this argument. It's not factual, does that mean a forward would always be able to play longer b/c it's the defense that play the big minutes?

Does it mean that Brodeur or Luongo will have shorter careers than Clemmenson, b/c they have more miles?

It has nothing to do with how much he played, a 40 year old is a 40 year old. PERIOD. He still skated everyday, he still practiced everyday, he still worked out everyday.

"I know Grandpa is old, but he didn't play much in his younger days, his hip should hold up better than Uncle Ted's did."

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#56 Jonathan Willis
July 11 2009, 12:53AM
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Sandra wrote:

@ Jonathan Willis: isn’t the loop hole is they can send him to the minors before he retires.

I don't believe so, but then again I really am not an expert. Still, if there was a way you'd think Lou Lamoriello would have used it rather than sending S.J. a first round pick to take Vladimir Malakhov off of his hands.

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#57 greenlightning86
July 11 2009, 12:54AM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

“I know Grandpa is old, but he didn’t play much in his younger days, his hip should hold up better than Uncle Ted’s did.”

That is hillarious and I agree

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#58 Victoria
July 11 2009, 12:56AM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

Heazues wrote: roloson may have been older, but he also had much less mileage on him than most guys his age. I am fed up with this argument. It’s not factual, does that mean a forward would always be able to play longer b/c it’s the defense that play the big minutes? Does it mean that Brodeur or Luongo will have shorter careers than Clemmenson, b/c they have more miles? It has nothing to do with how much he played, a 40 year old is a 40 year old. PERIOD. He still skated everyday, he still practiced everyday, he still worked out everyday. “I know Grandpa is old, but he didn’t play much in his younger days, his hip should hold up better than Uncle Ted’s did.”

Actually it is a valid argument and you can see the difference between them already. Khabibulin missed over 20 last season because of various injuries, Roloson... zip. Besides, skating practice and working out are very very different then playing actual games.

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#59 Victoria
July 11 2009, 12:59AM
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Also, if 40 years old is 40 no matter what, then how is 36 and a hald so much better. We're not talking about the difference between a 'grandpa' and an 'uncle, more like grampa and his brother who's a whopping three years younger.

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#60 Victoria
July 11 2009, 01:00AM
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*half

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#61 godot10
July 11 2009, 01:04AM
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If Khabibulin plays well, he will be worth a fortune at the trade deadline when Chicago and Philadelphia get in a bidding war for him, after Emery and Huet flake out.

He has to play well though.

But then, if he plays badly....

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#62 godot10
July 11 2009, 01:05AM
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Nobody would ever get in a bidding war for Biron.

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#63 ScubaSteve
July 11 2009, 01:06AM
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Victoria wrote:

Khabibulin missed over 20 last season because of various injuries, Roloson… zip.

Ryan Miller also missed time with injury, that has little to do with how old you are.

I'm not talking about injuries (the grandpa thing was, but it wasn't my main point), once you hit a certain age, your reflexes slow, it takes longer to recharge after a long road trip, ect.

My point was, that whether he played or not, Roli is past the age when skills start to deteriorate. Khabi may be there too, in a couple years, I'm not disputing that, but he gives us a solid #1 for at least 2 years.

And yes, 3 years younger is a big deal when we are talking about careers that may span 20 years if you're lucky.

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#64 Victoria
July 11 2009, 01:19AM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

Victoria wrote: Khabibulin missed over 20 last season because of various injuries, Roloson… zip. Ryan Miller also missed time with injury, that has little to do with how old you are. I’m not talking about injuries (the grandpa thing was, but it wasn’t my main point), once you hit a certain age, your reflexes slow, it takes longer to recharge after a long road trip, ect. My point was, that whether he played or not, Roli is past the age when skills start to deteriorate. Khabi may be there too, in a couple years, I’m not disputing that, but he gives us a solid #1 for at least 2 years. And yes, 3 years younger is a big deal when we are talking about careers that may span 20 years if you’re lucky.

Miller was upended behind the net; that's a very difference injury then back spasms and groin injuries. When it comes down to it, there are different types of injures, Bulin's are cause by the body not functioning at it's peak anymore. It's the same type of injuries that d to retire. But to use your point about career length, it kind of validates what was said earlier about wear and tear - Khabibulin not only played more, but he also player harder minutes then Roloson at an earlier age, it's like comparing a newer car that's seen a lot of highway travel to a slightly older car that's been used a lot more moderately. Obviously you'd expect the car that's seen an easier life to last longer.

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#65 Victoria
July 11 2009, 01:20AM
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Okay, this thing hates me. That was suppose to be "It's the same type of injuries that caused Sakic to retire.

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#66 DonovanMD
July 11 2009, 01:20AM
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Excellent points, certainly how I felt when they signed Khabi to those terms.

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#67 Shifty203
July 11 2009, 01:40AM
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I personally couldn't believe that they were wiling to take such a big risk. I would have Been much more comfortable with the contract roli got from the islanders. If he retires next year it's only a cap hit of 1.25 a year for two years. If khabibulan retires after next year it's almost 1.9 for 6 years. I thought Roli was still a risk, but if it hadn't worked out, it wouldn't have held us back for nearly as long.

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#68 ScubaSteve
July 11 2009, 01:43AM
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902-886

The number of regular season games played since Jr. for the respective Goalies.

82-74

The number of playoff games played since Jr. for the respective goalies.

A whopping difference of ....... drum roll please....

24!

Roli has played 24 less game than Khabi, so yeah, I guess he has more in his tank than Khabi will when he's 40, but saying that Roli hasn't played much b/c he's been a back-up is just false.

I can see your point about wear-and-tear, and I concede that you may be correct, but I would take a game weary Khabi over a daisy fresh Roli every time.

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#69 Oilerguyforlife
July 11 2009, 01:50AM
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@ godot10: You think either if those teams will take him and his 4yr contract whatever your smoking give me some.no matter what we are stuck with that term hopefully he plays well through it

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#70 Victoria
July 11 2009, 02:04AM
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Now we're splitting hairs. A lot of those numbers are coming from when they were little teenage punks back in the 80s. If we wanna talk hard hockey minutes (like NHL), those numbers start to look a little different.

Khabibulin: 678 games

Roloson: 462 games

Though it is true that general play will be wear on the body, I don't think more games at a lower level equal those in the big leagues.

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#71 Victoria
July 11 2009, 02:10AM
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A little OT, but does anyone know what Khabibulin played only 2 games back in the 00/01 season?

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#72 Victoria
July 11 2009, 02:11AM
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*why

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#73 David S
July 11 2009, 02:17AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

And as for the Heatley angle, aside from unsubstantiated conjecture, what evidence is there that Dany Heatley ever said - in any sense - to Steve Tambellini: ‘look, get a goalie and I’ll think about it’? None, as far as I can tell. And given that he hasn’t waived his NMC since, I think it’s pretty reasonable to assume that he never made such a statement to Tambellini or the Oilers.

Maybe the Oilers wanted to position themselves as having goaltending covered - which it was not as soon as Roli left. Thus, in their eyes perhaps they felt they needed a decent goalie asap. It would have been one less thing for Heatley to put up as a reason for not coming. That approach wouldn't be a reach for an insecure team with a less than stellar recruiting record. As far as the ridiculous year offer, well it made Khabi's decision easy - which was the intent. It seems that not getting a decent goalie asap was NOT an option and they were willing to pay huge to make sure it happened.

I'm not saying this is what happened, only that its plausible. Darryl Katz wants a superstar at seemingly any cost and he'll cover all the bases to make sure he has the best chance.

As far as "evidence of what Heatley said to Steve Tambellini", Tambellini, Heatley and his agent have probably spoken more than a few times. We have no clue what they talked about, nor will we ever unless its released to the MSM. This idea that fans somehow know (or have the right to know) what management is really thinking and doing is getting a bit far fetched. The only guys who have grounds to say something like that are Brownlee or Gregor, and even they are careful to make sure what they say is on the level. Its cool for guys to post content on websites, and you're pretty good at it. But let's drop the pretense that anybody not directly connected to the team via media access or otherwise is an "insider".

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#74 Posts about Steve Jobs as of July 11, 2009 » The Daily Parr
July 11 2009, 02:43AM
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[...] in the workplace as there is a lengthy list of potential crimes that could afflict them. As The Dust Clears - oilersnation.com 07/11/2009 Jul1010:22 pm Jonathan Willis It’s been better than a week now [...]

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#75 Marc
July 11 2009, 02:51AM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

Your 'Multitasking' piece suggests that "There aren’t a lot of guys out there left; the lower-tier veterans are slowly being signed away, and Edmonton needs to pick up one or two – either via free agency or trade." and is critical of the Oilers for not snapping some of these guys up, instead of leveraging the fact that there are more third line players and third pairing D looking for contracts than than there are spots for them to get a better price.

This piece is critical of the Oilers for snapping up a goalie and not leveraging the fact that there are more goalies looking for contracts than than there are spots for them to get a better price.

They can't win, can they?

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#76 J.L.
July 11 2009, 02:57AM
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I was upset to see that the Oilers overpaid, but we got, in my opinion, the best goalie on the market. I just look at Calgary and Vancouver and I'm tickled pink about our goaltending situation right now. Will I still be happy if Khabibulin's play drops off one or two years into his contract? I don't know. Who's to say that the value for goalies is going to go up? If the Oilers end up in a scenario where they want somebody to replace Khabibulin, perhaps one of Deslauriers or Dubnyk couldn't do it for cheap? And if neither of them can play consistently in the NHL, who's to say there won't be any number of similar young goalies looking for jobs? Will this surplus last?

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#77 Patrick
July 11 2009, 02:59AM
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Why can't we all just be happy we got Nikolai Khabibulin? A star goalie in a town that has trouble netting top talent? Yeah maybe four years is a little risky but with our track record we have to take the risks and overpay, for now anyways, just the way it is. I'm thrilled to have Khabibulin and I intend to just enjoy the fact we have him instead of scrutinizing every little detail.

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#78 DonovanMD
July 11 2009, 03:48AM
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Patrick wrote:

Why can’t we all just be happy we got Nikolai Khabibulin? A star goalie in a town that has trouble netting top talent? Yeah maybe four years is a little risky but with our track record we have to take the risks and overpay, for now anyways, just the way it is. I’m thrilled to have Khabibulin and I intend to just enjoy the fact we have him instead of scrutinizing every little detail.

Everyones an armchair GM. But why not discuss it, we're fans. Its like criticizing the government when a decision is made, its our patriotic duty.

As for filling those other holes and how the club seems to have forgotten about them, look at Montreal getting it done with signings like Moen and Mara. Some would argue they made some strange moves too, but they got it done with the big moves first and moved quickly to address those secondary needs.

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#79 SkinnyD
July 11 2009, 07:18AM
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DonovanMD wrote:

As for filling those other holes and how the club seems to have forgotten about them, look at Montreal getting it done with signings like Moen and Mara. Some would argue they made some strange moves too, but they got it done with the big moves first and moved quickly to address those secondary needs.

Um, Gainey is crazy - Tambellini is not. He ruined a perfectly good young goaltender by rushing him, and acquired one of the most ridiculous contracts in the NHL(Gomez) in a TRADE. With the crazy RANGERS! Cuc-koooo.

Tambellini will fill the holes, don't you worry! ;)

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#80 DonovanMD
July 11 2009, 08:54AM
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SkinnyD wrote:

DonovanMD wrote: As for filling those other holes and how the club seems to have forgotten about them, look at Montreal getting it done with signings like Moen and Mara. Some would argue they made some strange moves too, but they got it done with the big moves first and moved quickly to address those secondary needs. Um, Gainey is crazy - Tambellini is not. He ruined a perfectly good young goaltender by rushing him, and acquired one of the most ridiculous contracts in the NHL(Gomez) in a TRADE. With the crazy RANGERS! Cuc-koooo. Tambellini will fill the holes, don’t you worry!

Well my point was at least they made their big moves first, then got on the horn with Moen and Maras agents and got it done. I won't argue with you about the Gomez and other moves...

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#81 Jonathan Willis
July 11 2009, 09:53AM
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@ Marc:

It's different situations.

There's an obvious abundance of quality goaltenders and very few spots.

There's never an obvious abundance of skaters; teams aren't limited to 2 spots (at most 3) on their team for them.

And both of these articles are consistent with twhat I've been saying since the season ended. Hell, the first one's consistent with what I've been saying since the Oilers traded for Visnovsky.

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#82 Jonathan Willis
July 11 2009, 10:02AM
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@ David S:

Dude, I never claimed to be an insider.

But let's look at it logically. We'll start with your argument, as I understand it:

*The Oilers needed to have their goaltending covered so that they could appeal more effectively to Dany Heatley.*

a) There's no evidence of that happening; this is based entirely on guesswork. b) Given that Dany Heatley has not subsequently waived his no-trade clause, despite the Oilers' acquisition of Nikolai Khabibulin, we can be confident that he didn't demand the Oilers fix their goaltending situation - unless that was one demand of many. c) Honestly, given the choice between believing that Tambellini i) signed Khabibulin because he was worried he wouldn't be able to get anyone or ii) that he did it based on the demands of a superstar who *might* then waive his NMC to come to Edmonton, I hope it was the former. Because the latter is too stupid for words. d) We have clear evidence that Tambellini was not making these decisions with an eye to appeasing Dany Heatley's concerns. The Oilers offered Chris Neil a long-term contract (as reported in multiple places, including TSN), undoubtedly at a rate of at least 2.0MM/yr (the Rangers offered 2.3MM/yr over 4 and Ottawa signed him for 2.0MM/yr over 4) - despite the fact that Chris Neil had publicly ripped Heatley for his trade request.

In conclusion: I can't definitively state 'Tambs told me', but there's no evidence to believe your argument, and multiple strands of evidence that tells us not to believe it.

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#83 Matt N
July 11 2009, 10:04AM
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For the first three years of his contract with Chicago, Khabibulin was a complete bust. They actually went out and aquired Huet to be the number one. In his last year of his contract, he played well enough during the regular season to be considered a 1A type with Huet. He got hot before the playoffs and got tabbed as the number one guy. His playoff was solid but nothing spectacular. If he had not gotten the nod as the guy in the playoffs, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Basically, we gave out a 4 year contract to a 36 year old guy who had a good run for 1 year and got hot for the last 20 games of the season.

I really, really hope this works out. He has (had??) the skill, but the Oilers are taking on a lot of risk that was not necessary. There were lots of younger, cheaper options (Biron, Anderson) or Khabibulan could have been signed for 2 years because he has no bargaining power.

This isn't a huge mistake, just one of the death by 1000 cuts that the Oiler management keeps inflicting upon itself. Off the top of my head the Brodziak trade, the Glencross issue, the Moreau contract, the Staios contract, the lack of 3rd line centre, 3 goalies to start the year etc. None of these is a team killer, but they begin to add up.

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#84 Jonathan Willis
July 11 2009, 10:05AM
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@ David S:

Right, and the other point was that even if your argument is correct, it actually casts Tambellini in a worse light.

Teams simply don't make 15-million dollar gambles in the hopes that maybe they'll be given the right to send three good young players to another team for a superstar; particularly when the superstar has as many character issues as Heatley.

At least, smart teams don't.

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#85 Jonathan Willis
July 11 2009, 10:06AM
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godot10 wrote:

Nobody would ever get in a bidding war for Biron.

Maybe, but so what? Teams don't sign UFA's to trade them, so we aren't hoping for a bidding war - we're hoping for a long-term fix.

Besides, there wasn't exactly a bidding war when Khabibulin was waived at the start of last year.

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#86 Tyler
July 11 2009, 10:45AM
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I’d guess he delivers decent goaltending for at least the first half of his contract.

I don't know what decent means, but if it means league averageish, which I think is a hair optimistic, this is a terrible contract at the money.

Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't...I still think it's completely indefensible. The Oilers are apparently the only team that can't count goalies and jobs.

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#87 ScubaSteve
July 11 2009, 11:51AM
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Tyler wrote:

but if it means league averageish, which I think is a hair optimistic

You think it's optimistic to think Khabi will be average? That's a ridiculous statement. He will at least be average, and optimistically, he will be in the top 10 of the league. Even if he is average, it will be an upgrade from the 'tending we've had for the last 8 or so years. Yes, for all the Roli lovers, that means I think he was below average.

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#88 Jonathan Willis
July 11 2009, 12:17PM
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ScubaSteve wrote:

You think it’s optimistic to think Khabi will be average? That’s a ridiculous statement. He will at least be average, and optimistically, he will be in the top 10 of the league.

Khabibulin's been below league-average two of the last four season.

Khabibulin's been league average one of the past four seasons.

Khabibulin's been above league average once in the past four seasons.

Thus my guess that he'll be at least decent for half the time he's under contract; although admittedly he was four years younger when he started his last one.

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#89 David S
July 11 2009, 12:25PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

@ David S: Right, and the other point was that even if your argument is correct, it actually casts Tambellini in a worse light. Teams simply don’t make 15-million dollar gambles in the hopes that maybe they’ll be given the right to send three good young players to another team for a superstar; particularly when the superstar has as many character issues as Heatley. At least, smart teams don’t.

Jonathan - with the caveat "smart teams" in place, you are of course correct. The problem as I see it is that (IMO) Darryl Katz is calling alot more of the shots than he probably should be. He's a high-level business chess player, thinking 3 moves ahead at all times. I don't think he's as concerned with the outcomes of individual pieces as he is with the end game.

The thing of it is, this is the most cryptic off season we've seen in a while. What's the deal with Heatley? We don't know. Why haven't we picked up the obvious players available? Don't know. Why are we standing pat while other teams load up? Again, no clue. So in order to fill the voids in knowledge, we fans start making up our own scenarios. That's fine, but on the basis of no real information, one hypothetical is as valid as the next.

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#90 P.A.R.
July 11 2009, 12:33PM
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@ ScubaSteve: How right you are!! I think some people in the Nation forget the glory years since Cujo, where we had the bottom of the barrel, unworthy starters of Salo, Conklin, Morrison, Markannan. And don't let me forget about the Johnny Bower wannabe. Lets all be thankful that we made a solid move to strengthen our weakest position in over a decade! And as for Heatly, I wouldn't touch that poison if the Sens were paying us to take him. That boy should be thanking the stars that he's not rotting in jail!

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#91 BK
July 11 2009, 12:34PM
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I think Nik was brought in because he has proven numbers, BUT he appears to be a better mentor for our draft pick goalies too. From his own comments I get the feeling that the role of mentor was discussed behind the scenes. He seemed to like it, and I thi8nk he may be better at it than any of the other names mentioned.

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#92 David S
July 11 2009, 12:38PM
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P.A.R - I think it's called selective memory loss.

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#93 yo
July 11 2009, 12:38PM
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The Oil are grid-locked by Lowe's bonehead signings which appears to have been orchestrated with little in the way of sound planning. They are in effect, screwed in terms of making moves to improve the team. I could see the team in this predicament for 2-3 years and in my opinion that is a 'best case' scenario.

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#94 Victoria
July 11 2009, 12:48PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Khabibulin’s been below league-average two of the last four season. Khabibulin’s been league average one of the past four seasons. Khabibulin’s been above league average once in the past four seasons. Thus my guess that he’ll be at least decent for half the time he’s under contract; although admittedly he was four years younger when he started his last one.

Thank you.

The problem with a lot of fans is they think a big name means everything. If you take away the names of the two guys and just look at their performance from the lockout, Khabibulin ends up actually looking worse then Roloson. So if people weren't happy with Roli's time here, where's the proof that Khabibulin will be better?

And ScubaSteve, don't throw that 'Roli lovers' name calling crap in here. Using Roloson's previous contract is simply easy to compare with, but this is about Khabibulin. I think the people who are love stoned are the one's thinking that Khabibulin will suddenly outperform his previous four years now that he's on a crappier team, just because he's a big name.

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#95 roadrunner
July 11 2009, 01:07PM
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I actually think the Oilers did the right thing in signing Khabibulin. They get a proven starting goaltender with one glaring impressive stat on his resume, a Stanley Cup. Sure they're going to be on the hook for his salary should he retire, but to get a number 1 goaltender at just under 4 million per season in todays NHL is a steal.

If the Oilers utilize Khabibulin properly and he stays relatively healthy, he could play 60-65 games while bringing along JDD. Financially it makes sense. They're alot more solid in the net and they can further asses Deslouriers development and see if he's the go to guy in the future.

Now comparing Khabibulin to Biron is a bit of a stretch. Yes Biron has better stats but he has a history of disappearing in the big games when most needed. He was awful in the playoffs last year. Biron was given the proverbial reigns in Philly after he knew he wasn't going to be the man in Buffalo and he's done nothing except pad his pockets.

Sure Biron is a few years younger, but as I stated earlier, there's a glaring difference which is the Stanley Cup ring. That's the most important stat at the end of any season ayway.

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#96 Jonathan Willis
July 11 2009, 01:10PM
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@ Victoria:

It's a pretty classic pattern, I think:

July - September: relentlessly optimistic October - December: upset, demanding change January - May: fatalistic June: angry

At least, that's what it's seemed like since the Cup run.

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#97 Victoria
July 11 2009, 02:17PM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

Lol! No kidding.

I promised myself after last season I wouldn't needlessly get my hopes up - but then, considering how free-agency went, that's not a difficult promise to uphold.

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#98 ScubaSteve
July 11 2009, 02:51PM
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Victoria wrote:

I think the people who are love stoned are the one’s thinking that Khabibulin will suddenly outperform his previous four years now that he’s on a crappier team, just because he’s a big name.

I could care less about the guy's name, what I care about is his ability, and his ability is better than Roli's. Roloson was a career back-up who looked good with the Oil, (2 out of 4 years), why wouldn't a bonafide starter do just as well?

@ Jonathan Willis: We can be optimistic about moves that make our team stronger, and the goalie move (IMHO) makes our team stronger. It doesn't mean I think that Khabi will win the Vezina, but I think he's worth 5-6 more wins this season. We might even see "gasp" a shutout! Our goals against is one of our weakest points, shoring up that positions is call for a positive reaction.

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#99 Victoria
July 11 2009, 03:45PM
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Two out of four years? Roli was great in the playoffs, he was good in 06/07 (look at his stats, if those were under the name Khabibulin you guys would consider those good), he was slightly below average in 07/08 and he was good this past season. Lowballing Roloson's performance these past three years isn't a legitimate argument, the stat comparison between the two since the lockout proves otherwise.

And yes it is about the name. No one has actually explained why he'll be able to live up to his contract. All I've been reading is 'he's a Cup winner', 'he's a proven winner'. The reality, he hasn't been since the lockout. That's not to say he'll suck, we're just saying nothing he has done in the last four years can justify the contract the Oilers threw at him.

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#100 ScubaSteve
July 11 2009, 04:49PM
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@ Victoria:

I'm not sure you'll ever sell me on Roloson, I just don't think he has the skills to be a starter, which I why you saw him sign as a back-up to Depietro, and not a starter in Col, Edm, or LA.

Contracts aside (and btw I agree that the term is too long) I still think Khabi is a better tender than Roli.

We'll see if his performance supports my argument.

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