The Edmonton Oilers Should Sign Josh Harding This Summer

Jonathan Willis
April 26 2012 07:37AM

Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding earned $750,000 in 2011-12 as the backup to Niklas Backstrom. He’s an unrestricted free agent this summer, and the Oilers should give serious thought to bringing him aboard in time for next season.

But wait! The Oilers already have two goalies under contract for next season! Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to that: buyout Nikolai Khabibulin. A Khabibulin buyout makes sense, not only from a roster perspective, but also from a financial one. Bring Josh Harding in as his replacement.

The Oilers and Harding are a good fit for each other in a few ways. Let’s start with why the Oilers could use Harding.

At 27 years of age, Harding fits with the Oilers core group of players, and if all goes well could spend the next decade as an NHL goaltender. He’s a good goalie now; his save percentage for the woeful Minnesota Wild this season was a sparkling 0.917, and over 117 NHL games he’s posted a career 0.916 SV%.

Given his youth and proven level of NHL ability, Harding would give the Oilers a second strong option in net. This is desirable for a few different reasons. First, the competition for playing time would undoubtedly help push both Harding and Dubnyk. Second, redundancy in goal is always a good thing – in the event one guy gets hurt or struggles, there’s always a second capable guy around to help shoulder the load.

One of the underrated strengths of the glory years Oilers was their depth in net; early on the team had Andy Moog and Grant Fuhr splitting time in net; later on they had Fuhr and Bill Ranford. In all of Fuhr’s years with the Oilers, only once did he play more than 60 games – in 1987-88, when Moog left to play for the Canadian National Team until the Oilers sent him to Boston for Ranford and Geoff Courtnall.

Obviously, it’s far too early to compare a Dubnyk/Harding tandem to Fuhr/Moog, but there’s no denying the value of having a backup who can play regularly.

Still, if Harding has an attractive combination of talent and (relative) youth, why would he be interested in playing in Edmonton?

Part of the reason is the NHL goalie market: the simple fact is that there are more competent goalies available than there are job openings, particularly when the trade market is taken into account.

Beyond that, Harding’s injury history is a big risk for a team looking at him as a starter. A knee injury cost Harding the entire 2010-11 season. He’s missed time with both hip injuries and head injuries, and given that a team might hesitate when penciling him in for 60+ starts.

Edmonton is the perfect middle ground. Harding’s career save percentage is better than that of Devan Dubnyk, and he’d stand a decent shot at taking the starting gig away if he signed with the Oilers, and even if he didn’t he’d still undoubtedly play regularly. Because the Oilers already have Dubnyk, they’d be more willing to gamble on Harding’s health than a team with an untrusted backup would. The Oilers have also done a good job – with Martin Gerber and then Yann Danis – of having a third-string goalie who can play the last few years, so it’s reasonable to expect they’d be prepared in case of injury.

It seems like a situation that would work well for both parties.

This week by Jonathan Willis at Oilers Nation

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 26 2012, 11:37AM
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Mind boggling that people are arguing against bringing in another goalie.

Outside of a 8 - 10 game stretch (or whateve ever it was) Bulin was once again one of the worst goalies in the league.

If we want to win, bring in someone else. If we want another lott pick, go with Bulin again.

Pretty simple.

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#52 nuge2nail
April 26 2012, 11:39AM
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To BE CLEAR ( IF STEVE luckily reads this)

Directions for the offseason - since you clearly need them.

Offense: 1.Draft Yakupov 30/40 goals a season helps win games. 2. Buyout/trade Horcoff (Lander, Belanger are better options) depending on the amensity clause in the new CBS - if not keep him as a 3rd liner and drop his minutes by 1/3 or find a coach who will. Too much offense is never a problem, injuries happen, be dynamic and skilled upfront.

Defense: 1. Sign 2 of Garrison, Carle, Wideman, Schultz(anaheim) and move everyone down the depth chart. A defense built of 3/4 guys can be solid(Canucks as an example) you dont need a #1. 20+ teams in the NHL operate without a Weber, Chara or Lidstrom.

Goaltending:Sign or trade for Lindback/Enroth/Thomas/Vokoun/Bernier/Harding/Luongo

2012 Lineup:

Hall Gagner Hemsky Yakupov Hopkins Eberle Smyth Horcoff Jones Hartkainen Belanger Eager

Petry Smid Garrison Wideman Whitney Shultz

Dubnyk/Lindback

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#53 DieHard
April 26 2012, 11:41AM
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Lexi wrote:

I believe upgrading the goaltending is the least important issue for the Oil in this offseason. I think if the Oilers can acquire 1 legit top 4 dman and 1 legit top 6 dman and they should be able to compete for a playoff spot. It should be a buyers market this year compared to last for dmen as I count at least 15 UFA who should be effective NHL top 6 guys that could be had for affordable contracts.

I don't think we should underestimate the value of having a Russian or two around to help Yak. In the salary cap NHL there is no more valuable asset that a first overall pick and for an 18 year old kid having someone who he can talk to in his own language and knows his culture could be quite valuable. (for this reason I think they should go hard for Tyutin who might be too expensive for Columbus and they will probably no longer need a Russian mentor)

The Yak has been in NA for 2 years now. I think the teenager will be comfortable with other teenage players. He's not a baby.

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#54 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 26 2012, 11:52AM
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Perhaps with Mr. Katz being in the pharmaceutical industry, he could invent a vaccine for stupid and fix Khabibulin, no? It's a little on the grass roots'ish side of thinking but we'd have to start somewhere eh?

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#56 NewfoundlandOil
April 26 2012, 12:04PM
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Most comments seem to suggest that upgrading the defense precludes an upgrade in goal (particularly in a back-up role). Granted current management has not shown a desire or ability to juggle more that 2 balls at once, I still don't see why this is not achievable or conceivable in a single off-season.

It's not a one or the other thing for me. Both positions are priorities now. That goals-against # needs to come down for marked improvement next year and beyond.

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#57 Jason Gregor
April 26 2012, 12:10PM
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dawgbone98 wrote:

Gregor, Khabibulin has statistically been one of the very worst goaltenders since the lockout. He's got a 3-33 record combined in the 2nd half of the last 2 seasons.

He's simply terrible, and there's almost no doubt that Harding is a better bet for next year and the near future.

Issue is Harding has been injury prone as a young goalie. That is a concern. Harding is better now, I don't doubt that.

The other concern for me is that the Oilers would have two goalies battling for the same spot. I understand some doubt Dubnyk, and that is fair, but I'd rather have a situation where they know where they stand. Khabibulin is clearly the back up, and as a veteran he would likely be a better supporter than Harding, who would want the job.

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#58 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 26 2012, 12:10PM
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Little known fact: Not many realise this, but on this day, we are all the oldest we've ever been.

Since we're going down this prehistoric way of thinking/pinning the blame on someone today. Is it at all possible that Dinosaurs aren't extinct, they're just hiding?

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#60 Lexi
April 26 2012, 12:17PM
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Yak lived with the Russian speaking family of his best friend and teammate Galchynuk. I think we forget these players are human and underestimate how hard breaking into the NHL is for guys who are from other countries and he will be dealing with not being the best player on his team for the first time in his career and the ups and downs of being a rookie so having a Russian on the team could be very valuable.

The NK contract was a disaster, but I do believe he can be adequate as a backup for 20 games this year. There's a reason guys are backups, they aren't that good. If there is one thing I learned from this playoff is that goaltending is a crapshoot and I believe DD is a legitimate top 20 goalie and that will be a good enough to contend for a playoff.

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#61 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 26 2012, 12:25PM
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Jonathan, your audience on this Harding issue has spoken...

http://youtu.be/umDr0mPuyQc

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#62 rindog
April 26 2012, 12:28PM
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I guess the real issue is...

Is signing Josh Harding really going to have any significant impact on whether or not this team improves in the standings next year?

If so, what is the reward compared to the risk of buying out a veteran that seems to be good in practice and in the room.

What benefit is there of buying out a player and having some of his cap hit attached to the roster in the following season (where competing in the playoffs is the absolute minimal goal) compared to using him in his final year to help a guy like Yakupov (if drafted) and give Dubnyk some relief for 20-25 games?

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#63 Infinibuild
April 26 2012, 12:33PM
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@Jonathan Willis

JW - why the obsession with replacing Khabby? All year(s) you have used stats to point out how bad he is. Fine. But really who cares. The organizations clear plan was to flounder this year, get another top pick, and develop Dubnyk. Check, check and check.

You have stated before that you don't think this is a playoff team in 2012-2013. So then, what is the rush with shuttling out Khabby? Why should the team care about it at all? Are you suggesting they can make a playoff run in 2013? If not, what is the reason for wanting him out so bad. To save Katz 1.25 million?? Who cares. Do we have UFAs lining up that we are unable to sign because of cap problems?

I just can't see the downside to keeping Khabby as the backup. Unless you think this team is ready to turn the corner and become a playoff contender. But I believe you've stated that isn't going to happen this year. So I'm unclear on the reasoning.

The Oilers should spend 110% of their focus, energy, assets and time on addressing the D. It would help the goalie stats a lot more than burning bridges buying out Khabby and shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic by getting Harding.

Am I missing something? You seem to have an irrational desire to get Khabby out. Fine, we accept he is bad, but hardly the main issue with this team. Why spend time debating the merits of trading or buying out your backup goalie?

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Here's a question is Harding the guy you want for the next 4 years or so?

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#66 db7db7db7
April 26 2012, 12:52PM
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Team EHH wrote:

I thought Khabi is ineligible for buyout because of his age when he signed his contract (35+) so that it would cost the Oilers the entire $3.75 million.

It makes more sense to me to try and deal him at the deadline for an asset to help the club.

You're right As per CapGeek: Nikolai Khabibulin has a 35-plus contract (see our FAQ for a detailed explanation). A buyout of his contract will save the team in actual dollars but not in cap dollars. The total buyout cost is $2,500,000 spread over 2 years. His contract was originally valued at $15,000,000 beginning in 2009 and ending in 2013, with $3,750,000 remaining from the buyout year forward. The following is a season-by-season breakdown of the buyout. The "buyout" column shows how much the team must pay the player in each season of the buyout

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#67 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 26 2012, 12:54PM
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@ nuge2nail

If you think Lander is a better option then Horcoff, I'd say you need the guidance as much as Tambillini.

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#68 Infinibuild
April 26 2012, 12:58PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I don't see the Oilers, as they are, as a playoff team in 2012-13. I also don't think the playoffs are out of reach in 2012-13 if management makes smart decisions this summer.

The downside to keeping Khabibulin is that he costs the team games. He's not a serviceable starter, and he's not a serviceable backup. He's not an NHL-calibre goalie, based on his performance in Edmonton.

You can swap him out, save money, and improve the team. At some point, management has to start doing that, and it strikes me that it might be nice to start sometime before they're forced to negotiate new contracts with Eberle and Hall.

OK, if you think they can make the playoffs in 2012-13 then it makes sense. I just thought you had stated they wouldn't compete this year. I'm glad you clarified this point for the record.

My issue is that goaltending probably isn't nearly as important as D in terms of the "smart decisions this summer" you mention it'll take to turn the corner. Unless they can improve the position a lot more than Harding I can't imagine it'll make much of a difference.

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#69 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 26 2012, 12:58PM
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@ rindog

Why on earth is the playoffs not the absolute goal this coming year?

We're trending on worst team in history with this last three year stretch, time for the excuse to go away.

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#70 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 26 2012, 01:00PM
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@ Infinibuild

As others mentioned, asking the team to upgrade two defenders and a goaltender in the summer shouldn't be too much to ask.

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#71 TrentonL
April 26 2012, 01:04PM
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Infinibuild wrote:

JW - why the obsession with replacing Khabby? All year(s) you have used stats to point out how bad he is. Fine. But really who cares. The organizations clear plan was to flounder this year, get another top pick, and develop Dubnyk. Check, check and check.

You have stated before that you don't think this is a playoff team in 2012-2013. So then, what is the rush with shuttling out Khabby? Why should the team care about it at all? Are you suggesting they can make a playoff run in 2013? If not, what is the reason for wanting him out so bad. To save Katz 1.25 million?? Who cares. Do we have UFAs lining up that we are unable to sign because of cap problems?

I just can't see the downside to keeping Khabby as the backup. Unless you think this team is ready to turn the corner and become a playoff contender. But I believe you've stated that isn't going to happen this year. So I'm unclear on the reasoning.

The Oilers should spend 110% of their focus, energy, assets and time on addressing the D. It would help the goalie stats a lot more than burning bridges buying out Khabby and shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic by getting Harding.

Am I missing something? You seem to have an irrational desire to get Khabby out. Fine, we accept he is bad, but hardly the main issue with this team. Why spend time debating the merits of trading or buying out your backup goalie?

You are missing a lot here buddy.

Whether or not JW thinks this is a playoff team (not likely with ST at the helm making bonehead moves) the goal should not be to fail for a 7th straight year. This team could be improved to have a shot at the playoffs and fixing the sub par goaltending provided by Khabibulin is definitely part of the solution, along with fixing the D, and getting a Pisani style (note not actually Pisani) veteran winger to round out the forwards.

Here are some downsides of keeping NK for you: -Hall wants to win, NK makes that less likely. Why disgruntle your best player and future? -What message does it send to the team that no matter how badly you play you don't get shipped out? -Why would free agents want to come to a team that continually places in the bottom tier of the league? -Edmonton was 19th in SA but 23rd in GA. That that means goaltending is just as big an issue as defence. You, along with an astonishing number of posters seem to have an irrational desire to defend the likes of Khabibulin, Tambellini er al and enjoy being the laughingstock of the league year after year.

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#72 db7db7db7
April 26 2012, 01:06PM
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What a useless thread.

If we buyout Khabby, we save $0 in cap space in any year. The only reason to buy him out might be if Katz is running low on funds.

SEASON SALARY CAP HIT BUYOUT SAVINGS B/O CAP HIT 12-13 3.75M 3.75M 1.25M 2.5M 3.75M 13-14 $0 $0 1.25M -1.25M $0

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#73 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 26 2012, 01:09PM
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@ db7db7db7

It's not about saving cap space, it's about winning hockey games.... you know ...the actual goal of league.

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#74 TrentonL
April 26 2012, 01:09PM
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db7db7db7 wrote:

What a useless thread.

If we buyout Khabby, we save $0 in cap space in any year. The only reason to buy him out might be if Katz is running low on funds.

SEASON SALARY CAP HIT BUYOUT SAVINGS B/O CAP HIT 12-13 3.75M 3.75M 1.25M 2.5M 3.75M 13-14 $0 $0 1.25M -1.25M $0

There is more to it than cap hit obviously. Khabibulin is a downgrade from other available options as JW has demonstrated.

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#75 Infinibuild
April 26 2012, 01:14PM
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TrentonL wrote:

You are missing a lot here buddy.

Whether or not JW thinks this is a playoff team (not likely with ST at the helm making bonehead moves) the goal should not be to fail for a 7th straight year. This team could be improved to have a shot at the playoffs and fixing the sub par goaltending provided by Khabibulin is definitely part of the solution, along with fixing the D, and getting a Pisani style (note not actually Pisani) veteran winger to round out the forwards.

Here are some downsides of keeping NK for you: -Hall wants to win, NK makes that less likely. Why disgruntle your best player and future? -What message does it send to the team that no matter how badly you play you don't get shipped out? -Why would free agents want to come to a team that continually places in the bottom tier of the league? -Edmonton was 19th in SA but 23rd in GA. That that means goaltending is just as big an issue as defence. You, along with an astonishing number of posters seem to have an irrational desire to defend the likes of Khabibulin, Tambellini er al and enjoy being the laughingstock of the league year after year.

I have not defended Tambelinni never once not a bit. I loathe virtually every single thing he has done since he became GM. The only move I even remotely liked was resigning Hemsky instead of trading him for some draft picks and perpetually rebuilding.

Likewise I don't have any love for Khabby. I'd be happy if he was gone. My issue is just with blaming him for the plight of this team. This team has about 5 problems that are much bigger than a backup goaltender.

Now its a completely different story if you think Dubnyk isn't a capable #1. I think he is worth at least another year to prove it one way or another.

I suppose my whole problem is a complete lack of faith in Tambo to do more than 1 thing at a time. If I felt he could dramatically reshape the D, add some size/grit to our top 9, make decisions about the makeup of our top 6 AND fiddle around with a mostly irrelevant backup goaltending situation then fine.

I still can't imagine how signing a mutli-year deal with Harding helps us more than riding out 1 more year Khabby and deciding in the future how to address goaltending.

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#76 Oilcan
April 26 2012, 01:17PM
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I do not like bulin on the Oilers and I would love to have him replaced by someone but I am not a fan of a buyout, mainly because we are paying 1.5 cap hit the year after next for a guy who would have been our backup and off the books not to play, the Oilers might not be a cap team but why handcuff yourself. If Bulin only plays 20-25 games a year I am ok with sticking with him for one more year then having a party when his contact comes off the books.

Plus if we draft Yakupov having a Russian on the team is a nice bonus, and if you are stuck with his contract (cap hit) anyway then let him back up one more year and see what we have in dubbie.

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#77 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 26 2012, 01:19PM
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@ Infinibuild

"I still can't imagine how signing a mutli-year deal with Harding helps us more than riding out 1 more year Khabby and deciding in the future how to address goaltending."

An ironic statement considering the name you post under.

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#78 db7db7db7
April 26 2012, 01:19PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

@ db7db7db7

It's not about saving cap space, it's about winning hockey games.... you know ...the actual goal of league.

So why not waive him and send him to OKC instead? Won't his cap hit not count then?

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I agree with db7db7db7. Send Bulin to OKC, if Bulin refuses then it saves Katz money.

Why can't I quote anymore?

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#80 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 26 2012, 01:26PM
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@ db7db7db7

I don't care how they get rid of him, I just don't want him on the Oilers roster next year.

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#81 NewfoundlandOil
April 26 2012, 01:34PM
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db7db7db7 wrote:

So why not waive him and send him to OKC instead? Won't his cap hit not count then?

I believe it still counts as it is an over 35 contract.

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#82 jr_christ
April 26 2012, 01:38PM
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I just want to throw a "trade gagner" comment.

I think we haven't had any since he had an 8 point night.

Thanks everyone

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The problem is why would Harding sign a 1-2 year deal?

Don't get me wrong I'd add Harding, but I don't think it is going to make sense for both us and him. A guy like Biron, Gustafsson, Sanford, Garon those guys I see signing the type of term we are looking for.

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#86 DieHard
April 26 2012, 02:09PM
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Oilcan wrote:

I do not like bulin on the Oilers and I would love to have him replaced by someone but I am not a fan of a buyout, mainly because we are paying 1.5 cap hit the year after next for a guy who would have been our backup and off the books not to play, the Oilers might not be a cap team but why handcuff yourself. If Bulin only plays 20-25 games a year I am ok with sticking with him for one more year then having a party when his contact comes off the books.

Plus if we draft Yakupov having a Russian on the team is a nice bonus, and if you are stuck with his contract (cap hit) anyway then let him back up one more year and see what we have in dubbie.

JW provided a link in his article that you should read.

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#87 db7db7db7
April 26 2012, 02:50PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I thought it was obvious that if you can save $500,000 dollars with no decline in performance, it makes sense to save that $500,000.

Sure, $500,000 might be the equivalent to Katz of $500 to me, but I don't go around burning hundred dollar bills for the heck of it.

There have to be better options out there. I don't care if Tambi needs to sweeten the pot a little by say trading Khabbi and a second round pick for a 6th round pick. To me that would be worth opening the roster spot and saving the cap space.

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#88 rindog
April 26 2012, 02:53PM
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Making the playoffs should be the goal next year. Competing IN the playoffs will be the goal the year after...

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#89 DieHard
April 26 2012, 02:56PM
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db7db7db7 wrote:

There have to be better options out there. I don't care if Tambi needs to sweeten the pot a little by say trading Khabbi and a second round pick for a 6th round pick. To me that would be worth opening the roster spot and saving the cap space.

But we don't need the cap space. so ... NO

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#90 stevezie
April 26 2012, 03:06PM
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@Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

At that point we might as well promote Danis. A vetern but not ancient guy familiar with the organization who just won the AHL's Vezina. I'd be surprised if he's not backing up someone in the NHL next year. Not shocked, but surprised.

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#91 Mason Storm
April 26 2012, 03:12PM
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Why do we need Harding? Isn't Khabibulin our MVP?

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#92 db7db7db7
April 26 2012, 03:16PM
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DieHard wrote:

But we don't need the cap space. so ... NO

If we want to sign or trade for Suter, Shultz, Parros and one of Lindback/Enroth/Thomas/Vokoun/Bernier/Harding/Luongo we do.

Plus we still need to re-sign some of Smyth, Gagner,Petrell, Petry and Dubnyk.

Unless the Cap goes up or we use a post CBA amnesty clause to cancel Horcoff's contract, we could be right up against the cap. Better to have the cap space in case Suter decides he wants to play for us than be sorry.

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#93 50 in 39
April 26 2012, 03:43PM
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@Jonathan Willis

I am all for internal competition and I do favor bringing in a quality back-up goalie but it seems that every time Dubnyk has to compete for playing time he doesn't play particularly well.

When Khabi proves himself to be unplayable anymore then Dubnyk starts to play well.

Maybe he plays better the more he plays, maybe he doesn't have the mental strength to be a starting goaltender (he has never played a single NHL game under pressure), or maybe this all just the peaks and valleys of his development.

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#94 JMC88
April 26 2012, 04:01PM
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I would be on the side of those that suggest that signing a FA like Josh Harding doesn't make sense.

The first determination for the Oilers has to be whether or not Dubnyk is their bona fide starting goalie for 2012/2013 and beyond. He's RFA this summer and contract negotiations will center around that determination.

I don't think Dubnyk will sign a contract with the Oilers if the offer doesn't pay him what a starting goalie for 55-60 games would get paid. Further, I don't think he signs a contract for less than 3 years nor do I think the Oilers would be very interested in signing him for less than 3 years. Maybe the parties sign for 2 years, but I think 3 years is more the likely term.

If the Oilers determine that he is not a bona fide starting goalie, then I don't think the team and the player move forward with contract negotiations on the basis that he only deserves to be paid on the basis of starting 40 or less games.

If the Oilers do not believe that Dubnyk is the man moving forward, then I think they should consider trading him to another team in return for a goalie who they believe would be a bona fide starting goalie for at least the next 2 or 3 seasons.

Some commentators have brought up some interesting names like Enroth and Lindback. If not yet mentioned, I would add a goalie like Tuukka Rask who is also RFA this summer. I think Boston has to make a decision on their goaltenders. Would they be interested in Dubnyk who can serve as Thomas' back-up this season and start 30 or so games this season and then inherit the starting role after this upcoming season?

Then, the Oilers would have a starter for 55-60 games and Khabibulin can be the back up for the last year of his contract. The Oilers could then try to make the play-offs for 2012/2013, but more importantly, they would have their starting goalie for the next few seasons.

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#95 db7db7db7
April 26 2012, 04:03PM
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Another thing to consider, is the shot quality faced by a goalie. I'm not sure if there is such a stat, but I would imagine that the top teams in general create higher quality scoring chances and thus higher quality shots. Harding as a backup goalie probably saw lesser quality competition, and thus lesser quality shots, than Backstrom. My point is, a .916 SV% against Columbus or Edmonton is not the same as a .916 SV% against Detroit or Van.

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#96 DieHard
April 26 2012, 04:43PM
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JMC88 wrote:

I would be on the side of those that suggest that signing a FA like Josh Harding doesn't make sense.

The first determination for the Oilers has to be whether or not Dubnyk is their bona fide starting goalie for 2012/2013 and beyond. He's RFA this summer and contract negotiations will center around that determination.

I don't think Dubnyk will sign a contract with the Oilers if the offer doesn't pay him what a starting goalie for 55-60 games would get paid. Further, I don't think he signs a contract for less than 3 years nor do I think the Oilers would be very interested in signing him for less than 3 years. Maybe the parties sign for 2 years, but I think 3 years is more the likely term.

If the Oilers determine that he is not a bona fide starting goalie, then I don't think the team and the player move forward with contract negotiations on the basis that he only deserves to be paid on the basis of starting 40 or less games.

If the Oilers do not believe that Dubnyk is the man moving forward, then I think they should consider trading him to another team in return for a goalie who they believe would be a bona fide starting goalie for at least the next 2 or 3 seasons.

Some commentators have brought up some interesting names like Enroth and Lindback. If not yet mentioned, I would add a goalie like Tuukka Rask who is also RFA this summer. I think Boston has to make a decision on their goaltenders. Would they be interested in Dubnyk who can serve as Thomas' back-up this season and start 30 or so games this season and then inherit the starting role after this upcoming season?

Then, the Oilers would have a starter for 55-60 games and Khabibulin can be the back up for the last year of his contract. The Oilers could then try to make the play-offs for 2012/2013, but more importantly, they would have their starting goalie for the next few seasons.

So Boston gets Dubnyk as their starter and we get Rask for our starter ????

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#97 godot10
April 26 2012, 04:55PM
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Josh Harding would want too much money and duration, and has only played in one organization. You would be taking the Mike-Smith-Tampa risk or Bryzgalov-in-Philly risk Mike Smith is all-world for Tippett, and a bum for everybody else. Josh Harding is NOT Craig Anderson, who had good advanced stats as a backup for multiple organizations.

Stay in-house. Just sign Yann Danis to backup Dubnyk. And another Danis clone for OKC.

Clemmenson can probably be had for cheaper and shorter duration than Harding.

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#98 JMC88
April 26 2012, 05:00PM
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First, I think based on his play over the course of the season, the Oilers would be leaning towards re-signing Dubnyk on the basis that he will start at least 50 games in 2012/2013.

So, I don't think trading Dubnyk is at all their first option.

But, if they aren't sold on him, then, rather than going into 2012/2013 with Dubnyk platooning with Khabibulin or another goalie like Harding, the Oilers and Dubnyk may be better served going into 2012/2013 with a bona fide starter who can start 50-60 games.

Could a goalie like Rask, Enroth, Lindback, or Bernier be that type of starter? Something to consider.

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#99 RexLibris
April 26 2012, 05:46PM
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One could argue that Khabibulin's play/injuries over the length of his contract has directly contributed to the team's acquisition of Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and, to a lesser extent, Yakupov.

Maybe he is our Most Valubale Player.

We could trade him to another team looking to rebuild, like a sort of snake-oil/draft-lottery charm: "take on Khabibulin on your roster and we guarantee a top-five draft pick within the season!"

Somebody call Jay Feaster!

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#100 russ99
April 26 2012, 06:12PM
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Infinibuild wrote:

I have not defended Tambelinni never once not a bit. I loathe virtually every single thing he has done since he became GM. The only move I even remotely liked was resigning Hemsky instead of trading him for some draft picks and perpetually rebuilding.

Likewise I don't have any love for Khabby. I'd be happy if he was gone. My issue is just with blaming him for the plight of this team. This team has about 5 problems that are much bigger than a backup goaltender.

Now its a completely different story if you think Dubnyk isn't a capable #1. I think he is worth at least another year to prove it one way or another.

I suppose my whole problem is a complete lack of faith in Tambo to do more than 1 thing at a time. If I felt he could dramatically reshape the D, add some size/grit to our top 9, make decisions about the makeup of our top 6 AND fiddle around with a mostly irrelevant backup goaltending situation then fine.

I still can't imagine how signing a mutli-year deal with Harding helps us more than riding out 1 more year Khabby and deciding in the future how to address goaltending.

The question if Dubnyk is or isn't a capable #1 is an interesting one.

He has progressed, but one wonders if he may regress if handed the job outright with no accountability and nobody behind him who can handle the role.

IMO he at least needs to be pushed by another up and coming goalie to develop into a true #1.

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