Did Richard Bachman just win the Oilers’ backup job?

Jonathan Willis
October 28 2013 07:49AM

The Edmonton Oilers have been looking all season for somebody they could count on to play moderately well in net. They didn’t necessarily need a goalie to steal them games, just competent performances that would give the team a chance to win.

They got a lot more than that last night from Richard Bachman.

47 Saves

Regardless of what he does from here on out, Bachman wrote himself into the record books with a 47 save performance on Sunday night. It’s only the fourth time in Oilers history that a goaltender has made 45 saves while allowing one or fewer goals, and it puts Bachman in pretty good company:

  • Bill Ranford on Dec. 8, 1993: Made 45 saves in a 1-1 tie against the New York Rangers.
  • Curtis Joseph on Dec. 10, 1996: Made 52 saves in a 0-0 tie against the Detroit Red Wings.
  • Dwayne Roloson on Mar. 16, 2008: Made 48 saves in a 2-1 win against the San Jose Sharks.
  • Richard Bachman on Oct. 27, 2013: Made 47 saves in a 2-1 shootout loss against the Los Angeles Kings.

Not a bad impression for Bachman to make in his first start for his new team.

The Goaltending Situation

Edmonton faces some tough choices here, because it’s a good bet they don’t want to visit the three-headed goaltending days of years past. Whether it was the Conklin-Markkanen-Morrison trio in 2005-06 or Roloson-Garon-Deslauriers in 2008-09 it never seems to work; not only is roster flexibility reduced but it just doesn’t make sense to carry three guys when one is going to get most of the games.

Devan Dubnyk, who is currently out with a minor injury, seems to be regaining his form of past seasons and based on his long-term track record should get more minutes than either of the Oilers’ other options. After that is where things get interesting.

Jason LaBarbera has been rough in his four starts for Edmonton. Despite some of the comments these days, he was actually quite good in Phoenix (he had a 0.923 save percentage last year and his numbers overall were solid in all four years) and a very reasonable bet for the backup role. The question now is two-fold: a) has he fallen off a cliff at age 33 and b) even if he hasn’t, how long can the Oilers afford to let him find his game?

Richard Bachman has some advantages over LaBarbera. For starters, he costs less against the salary cap; even adding in the $75,000 cost of burying LaBarbera in the minors the Oilers would save $300,000 with him as backup over a full season. Bachman’s also younger (he turned 26 this summer) and has played very well for both Edmonton and Oklahoma this season. The disadvantage is his long-term track record: he’s only been a 0.906 save percentage goalie over 33 NHL games and posted a lousy 0.885 save percentage for Dallas last season.

The Oilers don’t have a lot of time to make a choice. I haven’t seen official confirmation of this, but my guess is that Edmonton recalled Bachman under the 48-hour exemption rule. As Rich Chere of The Star Ledger explains, a team is allowed to recall a goalie for 48 hours without needing to put a mildly injured player on the IR list. If that’s the case, Edmonton’s already almost out of time to make a decision.

Depending on perspective, Bachman’s performance made that decision either extremely easy or extremely difficult.

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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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#101 njdevilsfan_!7
October 28 2013, 03:30PM
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Forgive me if I missed this perspective in other's comments. I think that both LaBarbera and Bachman have had pretty decent numbers last year but they both played on teams that are a lot better defensively than the Oilers. I think the bigger problem is the Oiler's defensive system, not their goaltending.

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#102 Clarko
October 28 2013, 03:32PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Hey Smokey, thanks for the tip, now I know why the P K is so terrible.

Dont wish him any bad luck, but his track record is such that he will probably be injured before he has a shot at 50 points.

Hemsky has been on the ice for only 3 PP goals against. By comparison, Will Acton has been on the ice for 8 PP goals against.

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#103 Khalid
October 28 2013, 03:34PM
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GTL wrote:

Keep him!...hire Dwayne Roloson as a goal coach. He did well with training and heart....he hated to loose. I see no hate or emotion on this squad.... And give Roloson frequent flyer points to OKC to guide the next ones. Really ....has DD improved over the last two yrs?

Anahiem has already hired him. If I'm correct, he's working with their AHL team.

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#104 Uks Ya!!
October 28 2013, 03:36PM
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Bachman should be the starter NOW!!

He wants to stop every puck, he's hungry!!!! He doesn't give up much rebounds...no need to favour Duby, stick with BACHMAN....

He looks the hungriest of the 3...

But......time will tell

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#105 ed i nedmonton
October 28 2013, 03:36PM
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Clarko wrote:

Hemsky has been on the ice for only 3 PP goals against. By comparison, Will Acton has been on the ice for 8 PP goals against.

How does PP goal per min of PP time work out? I'm sure you appreciate that Acton is a career minor leaguer.

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#106 Harlie
October 28 2013, 03:42PM
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I like Bachman's mask best of all our tenders.

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#107 Oil Fan
October 28 2013, 03:42PM
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God wrote:

To the rest of my ON mates. What's the definition of insanity? Why do we put ourselves through this? Why do we keep drinking this Cool-Aid?

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" -Albert Einstein

Well boys... Theres 3 years of your hockey lives youll never get back. And the bad part is... its not over yet!

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#108 Oil Fan
October 28 2013, 03:49PM
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Also I had a disturbing thought recently. From top to bottom, Klowe, MacT,Eakins,and the players have talked about playing a fast exciting brand of hockey. They all believe that this is a good way to win and its just a matter of time until we turn the corner. If it turns out that fast exciting hockey and the systems that are in place to allow said hockey just arent viable then we are more screwed than I thought. I guess to compensate for the negative chances created by our offense we need a star goalie.

Live by the sword, >Die by the Sword

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#109 Clarko
October 28 2013, 03:51PM
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ed i nedmonton wrote:

How does PP goal per min of PP time work out? I'm sure you appreciate that Acton is a career minor leaguer.

My point wasn't to say that Hemsky was "good" at killing penalties...just to say that he wasn't the reason why our PK is so bad.

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#110 HOFFFF
October 28 2013, 03:53PM
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CrazyCaptain88 wrote:

I think Bachman deserves an extended stint up with the big club to see if he has what it takes, but I'm thinking the Oilers send him down again because they don't want to risk losing Labarbara on waivers. It is a very slight possibility, however the risk still exsists. That would leave OKC with a tandem of Roy & Bunz and that could be extremely ugly.

Who cares what happens with OKC?? That is the whole purpose of the Farm Team. Although I wouldn't put it past Oilers Management to drive two franchises into the dirt.

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#111 GTL
October 28 2013, 03:58PM
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Khalid wrote:

Anahiem has already hired him. If I'm correct, he's working with their AHL team.

Thanks .. Did not know that, they will impove!... I strongly believe we need upgrading in several coaching and development positions. Sigh.... I won't happen

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#112 Bleak Winter
October 28 2013, 04:09PM
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Oil Fan wrote:

Also I had a disturbing thought recently. From top to bottom, Klowe, MacT,Eakins,and the players have talked about playing a fast exciting brand of hockey. They all believe that this is a good way to win and its just a matter of time until we turn the corner. If it turns out that fast exciting hockey and the systems that are in place to allow said hockey just arent viable then we are more screwed than I thought. I guess to compensate for the negative chances created by our offense we need a star goalie.

Live by the sword, >Die by the Sword

You're disturbing thought is probably more like a dawning realization of the truth. All one has to do is watch the post game interviews of Tippett and Sutter from the Oilers games against Phoenix and LA.

Sure, they pay lip service to the speed and skill of the Oilers like its mandated by the league or something, but its getting easier to hear the subtext - and some of it is pretty blatant - there is little regard to Oilers brand of hockey as even being hockey at all. Small sample size sure, but they can't be the only two coaches in the league who regard Oilers as little more than a nuisance match.

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#113 hemi
October 28 2013, 06:04PM
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With all the letdown we Oil fans have experienced again this year thus far, I am hoping like hell we do not loose to the horrible leafs. One of the two teams I absolutely hate. GO OIL GO!

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#114 Rama Lama
October 28 2013, 06:19PM
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THis guy is always square to the shooter, challenging, and NOT giving up rebounds.

Dubby is always hiding deep in his net flopping around like a wounded fish.......I know who I would want in net.

If the name of the game is puck stopping then this is our man. There is one small problem with the overwhelming support for this guy that being Eakins. I'm not sure if Bachmans style of play supports what Eakins is trying with his system of play?

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#115 spliff
October 28 2013, 07:02PM
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6 ring circus wrote:

Everyone should be reading Jason Gregor's article in the journal,The mismanagement of this team is very obvious, what are the chances we make the post season this year? NONE,there have been way to many mistakes from Kevin Lowe and his management group,The hiring of Tambellini and then Tambellini's hiring of Quinn,Renney and Kruger,Fire Tambellini hire Mactavish (who has no general manager experience at all) he fires Kruger and then replaces him with Eakins(again no NHL head coaching experience) then Eakins is left with Buchburger and Smith who have been here with the previous 3 head coaches.What a gong show this is and we haven't even started with the players and drafting.I wasn't to happy when Pronger left, but is there a slight possibility that he didn't want to play for Lowe? and let's not forget what happened to Souray, he spoke up and then they sent him down to the AHL and then came back to the NHL and we got absolutely nothing for that asset.The Oilers organization is VERY LUCKY to have such a loyal fan base,Loyalty though only lasts so long,I want a competitive team,I want a team that's in the playoff hunt in March and not out of it by December,If this SH*T SHOW continues and its what I have to look forward to as a Oiler's fan,then I will no longer support them as a season ticket holder,after 14 years I have had enough.Its time Mr Katz listens to his fan base and does the right thing, starting with the firing of Kevin Lowe. He has had 14 years as a coach,manager and president of hockey operations, its very apparent he does not know what he is doing,his record speaks for itself.

I agree with you 100%, the Oilers ownership and management are extremely lucky to have such a loyal and patient fanbase. Yet, KLowe still managed to insult this long suffering fanbase during the MacT press conference.

I have absolutely no respect for KLowe, and what respect I did have for him for his service during our glory days is spent and gone.

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#116 madjam
October 28 2013, 07:44PM
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Did the Leafs call up Liles to showcase him for a possible trade to Oilers ?

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#117 Shaun
October 29 2013, 09:57AM
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Bachman should stay with the team, he is only 26 and he really is hungry to to be a nhl goalie give him the start vs leafs

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