January 26 2013 11:47AM
The Edmonton Oilers told the world that Devan Dubnyk was their #1 goalie the day they signed him to a big money contract. With that transaction completed, the club will look to solve the rest of the goaltending questions for the future. The question can be framed this way: will ANYONE currently in the organization be a long term solution?
OILERS DEPTH CHART
- Devan Dubnyk: DD has the job now and for the future. At 26, the Oilers should be able to count on him for a 5-year run as the starter if he stays healthy and avoids the yips. He is the third homegrown goalie in club history to hang on to the #1 job long enough to be considered "established" and if he has a good season in 12-13 we can consider the goalie situation stable at the Oiler level.
- Nikolai Khabibulin: 40-years old and the injuries are the story at this point in his career. Khabibulin's free agent contract has not gone according to plan, and its probable that NK is spending his final months on the Oilers roster.
- Yann Danis: Danis represents the less expensive and superior free agent signing in goal by Steve Tambellini. Danis was AHL goalie of the year in 11-12 and at 31 could certainly have a nice run as a backup in Edmonton. His career SP in the NHL (51 games) is .912.
BARONS DEPTH CHART
- Olivier Roy: 21-year old looked good at the AHL level during two 'cups of coffee' in previous seasons but looks a little wobbly this season. The NK injury put added pressure on him and he has not played at a league-average level (current SP is .895, GAA is 2.90). Roy is certainly a prospect, and the Oilers are known to develop their goalies by sundial. However, one would hope for improved play as the season rolls along.
- Tyler Bunz: The young man has been poor in his pro debut. At 20, there is plenty of time for recovery but the results this season are distressing. His AHL debut last night was a disaster, but we can give him some leeway there because he hadn't played in 2+ weeks. However, his Stockton performance (3.45 .878) trails his partner's numbers by miles and his SP ranks 36th out of 37 goaltenders. That's bad. Patience is a virtue with all prospects, doubly so with goalies. I think its important he have some success between now and season's end, if only for his own confidence.
- Niko Hovinen: Just picked off waivers and likely to backup Roy, Hovinen (like Bunz) has been playing in the ECHL this season. A big goalie, he has had success in Finland and should be able to play at the AHL level with some success. Injuries and confidence impacted his season so far (3.14 .889 numbers are in the range with Bunz) and I think its a pretty good bet for the Oilers. At 6.07, 200 he's a monster.
- Frans Tuohimaa: 21-year old enjoying a fine season in Finland (for Jokerit of the SM-Liiga) and his .913SP is very good (he's the backup, the club starter is at .916), although it ranks about #12 in league SP. Tuohimaa has also played in the Fin-2 league.
- Samu Perhonen: 19-year old is playing (and struggling) in the Fin-2 league with a SP of .897 in 13 league games. This is a high 3rd rd pick from 2011 and at this point I wonder if the Oilers plan to sign him.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The Oilers have only Dubnyk under contract next season among the NHL level goalies, Khabibulin and Danis are free agents. Newcomer Hovinen is RFA, and both Roy and Bunz are inside their entry level deals.
I wonder if the club signs Tuohimaa and lets Perhonen slide. This would allow the club to audition 4 goalies in the minors should they decide to retain Hovinen.
One thing we can probably count on: the Oilers will be goalie shopping at the draft, and possibly on July 1.