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.

Around the Nation

Just a reminder to sign up for StreakCred. With October almost over (and the monthly prize of a signed NHL jersey and cash almost won), a new monthly prize is available in November. Sign up here to compete for it.

Also, feel free to check out some of my recent articles:

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
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.
Avatar
#1 RomZ
October 28 2013, 08:17AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
74
cheers

Bachman looked very calm in net. His rebound control was very impressive, he made his first start as an oiler look very routine like it was just another day at the office.

He's earned himself another start for sure.

Avatar
#2 Retsinnab5
October 28 2013, 09:12AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
63
cheers

I hope Bachman starts Bach to Bach games.

Avatar
#4 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 28 2013, 08:00AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
47
cheers

Find a way to give him some more starts, let's see what he's got. He looked like Tim Thomas a la Boston's cup run out there.

Avatar
#5 GoofyGoon69
October 28 2013, 07:56AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
44
cheers

One game doesn't tell it but so far he has

Avatar
#6 Tyler
October 28 2013, 08:26AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
43
cheers

Just me, or would anyone else kill for a goalie with a 906% SP right about now?

Avatar
#7 Jakethesnake
October 28 2013, 07:53AM
Trash it!
33
trashes
Cheers
42
cheers

I believe Bachman just won the starting job Looks better then any other option the Oil has had in net in the past 4 years. Its only one game but I say roll with him

Avatar
#8 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 28 2013, 09:11AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
42
cheers

The glove saves he made last night were fantastic, not once did he look shaky or unsure. And how about that splits save in the final minute to keep it tied? That's exactly what we've been missing - the big save when we needed it.

Avatar
#9 vetinari
October 28 2013, 07:58AM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
41
cheers

Waive LaBarbera and send him down, and give Bachman the backup role, with the potential to move up if he can beat Dubie's numbers.

Avatar
#10 ubermiguel
October 28 2013, 09:02AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
40
cheers

1 great game earns you a 2nd game, not the job.

And does everyone remember that 0-0 game Cujo played against Detroit? That was the best low scoring game I may have ever seen.

Avatar
#11 6 ring circus
October 28 2013, 11:02AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
35
cheers

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.

Avatar
#12 Steve
October 28 2013, 08:47AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
32
cheers

I'm not going to put the cart before the horse and hand Bachman the #1 spot, because it's just one game, but damn was he stellar in that game. Give him a few more reps and some back-to-back starts, and let's see where it goes.

This guy had a great camp and even Eakins said that he only lost out on the backup spot because Duby and Barbs where Goaltenders with NHL history. At this point, he may have just played his way into that backup role at the very least, and it's great to see someone with promise finally coming up through the ranks that isn't a Forward.

Avatar
#13 MessyEH!
October 28 2013, 09:09AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
31
cheers

This might be the day we remember. Roy 86 or Ranford 89. When a goalie takes the reins away from the starter and never turns back.

The starter position is yours for the taking. You look out for #1.You take care of business.

Avatar
#14 Tim in Kelowna
October 28 2013, 09:57AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
29
cheers
spliff wrote:

Just read Gregor's column in the Journal, which criticized the Oilers rebuild. IAFT that our local press started hammering the braintrust. When I read the article it really hit home how screwed up this organization is. They don't need a miracle cure like Bachman to stand on his head every night, they need a Burke type guy to sit the big chair and make some ballsey moves to get this team going in the right direction. Look what happened in Montreal, which proves that a skilled manager can make a difference quickly.

After years of buying into the managements BS and giving them the benefit of the doubt, I can now safely say that I have absolutely no faith in MacT, KLowe, Howson or any other member of this so-called management group. That absolute schlaking we took last night reminded me of 4 years ago, which proves that we have not improved. F*ck the stats, does anyone really feel that we have improved?

You're right, Gregor nailed it in his EJ column. The real the issue is a systemic one. I feel like it might be a bit early to write off MacT, but the organization as a whole has no idea where they are doing. 3 consecutive 1st overall picks SHOULD pull a team out of the basement of the NHL.

The focus on skill has been a huge failure. The team is small and soft. It doesn't matter if we have all the skill in the world, this team cannot compete with bigger and meaner teams (i.e. every team in the NHL).

I bought into the rebuild and I have been patient for many years. I'm out of patience, this team is a joke.

Avatar
#15 dougtheslug
October 28 2013, 08:30AM
Trash it!
13
trashes
Cheers
28
cheers

This is what it has come to after 5 years of bottom feeding - our team's only hope is that their AHL call-up goalie,(called up because the 2 goalies the astute management signed apparently can't stop a beachball), has a career game. And he does. After getting their collective butts handed to them all over the ice, he stops nearly 50 shots. And they still lose. But they "almost" win. And this "almost" is counted by everyone as a success. And their fitness freak coach says in the post game presser, "I thought we played really well but we ran out of gas". "Really well." What happens if we just play well. Or average.4-1? 8-1?

And now we have to face the Leafs, with a building half full of drunk Leaf fans rubbing it in our faces because they have actually accomplished a rebuild. They actually have a team that is tough to play against. Anyone want my tickets? I can't stomach the thought of going.

Avatar
#16 David S
October 28 2013, 11:08AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
26
cheers

Bachman's ridiculous performance aside last night, what struck me was how hard he fought for every save. Really reminded me of Andy Moog, a little guy who would do almost anything to keep the puck out of the net. If you're a forward how could you not lay your guts out for a guy like that?

Bachman as our new Moog? Yeah. I could buy that.

As an aside, I get leaning on historic stats and all but at 26 don't you think there's a possibility an athlete can improve? It seems a bit small minded to assume that just because he had middling stats in his career to date means he's topped out. I'd buy into the stats argument if he was 35 or something, but now? Maybe that's a bit premature in this case.

Avatar
#17 CDean
October 28 2013, 07:56AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
25
cheers

The 48 hour exemption rule means that they may have more than 23 on the roster? Then they have to send someone else out or put some one on IR. he deserves a second start with his performance. To send him down after that will show the wrong message. I'm not saying that Labarbara has to be sent down, but the Oilers do have to find out what they can expect from their goal tenders.

Avatar
#18 Jonathan
October 28 2013, 08:18AM
Trash it!
74
trashes
Cheers
25
cheers

Jonathan,

Have you ever thought about actually watching the game?

The game is played on the ice and not the stat sheet.

Dubnyk has been a siv, and the Oilers are not, better than their record, they are their record.

What is sadder than the oilers play of late is the lengths you will contort yourself to defend this team through statistics.

Avatar
#19 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 28 2013, 09:19AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
25
cheers

@china town man

Forgive us for trying to find a bright spot in the whirlwind of crap this season has started off as.

Avatar
#20 @Oilanderp
October 28 2013, 08:18AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
23
cheers

By eye the Oilers played half decent in front of him (as far as that can be said when getting peppered), but Bachman certainly earned another chance. I wouldn't wave Barbs though...

Avatar
#21 Spydyr
October 28 2013, 09:09AM
Trash it!
3
trashes
Cheers
23
cheers

If Bachman does not get the next start.The "braintrust" is even more stunned then I thought and I did not think that was possible.

Avatar
#22 Mikey
October 28 2013, 09:42AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
23
cheers
Spydyr wrote:

Any once else notice Kopitar absolute owning Acro the whole game. Acro's head doesn't even reach Koitar's shoulder.Even so Eakins keep putting him out there to get spanked.Makes me wonder about Eakins ability to manage a game and make adjustments.

I thought it was a good battle all game. I noticed Arco take down Koptiar twice. What was Kopitar stat sheet? Zeros.

Avatar
#23 bdiddy18
October 28 2013, 11:29AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
22
cheers

so he is 26...for a goaltender that is entering the prime of his career.

Labarbera is 33 ...for a goltender that is exiting the prime of his career.

decision is easy.. Labarbera on waivers to the minors to go fine his form.

Bachman the backup and possibly an ACTUAL threat to unseed Dubnyk as the No. 1

Avatar
#24 Mikey
October 28 2013, 09:51AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
20
cheers
Spydyr wrote:

He did not hold his own,He was owned, his goalie bailed him out.It was plain for me to see.Men against boys owned.

Out shot 48-18 owned.That is almost being out shot 3-1.Do you call that holding your own?

So because the other three lines also got out shot, that reflects on Arco abilities to shut down Kopitar?

Avatar
#25 BingBong
October 28 2013, 09:05AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
18
cheers

If Bachman can play that like on a semi-consisent basis, he won the starting job, let alone the backup. He looked more comfortable out there than Dubnyk ever has, even when Dubnyk's played well.

Avatar
#26 Rod from Viking
October 28 2013, 09:00AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers

@Jonathan Willis

Johnathan, we have to quit putting so much value on save%, GA average for goaltenders that played in an organization that are defence first, does anyone really think that Mike Smith would have a $6mil contract if he would have played for the Oil the last two years? The biggest mistake made on the Labarbara signing is he is Dubynk's buddy, this is not a good arrangement and there were better options.

Avatar
#27 Spydyr
October 28 2013, 09:20AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers
Ziom wrote:

The Oilers got manhandled last night. This guy prevented this game from being a 7-1 collapse. Its only one game, but I say keep him in, until the .880 save percentage creeps in.

Lots of goalies come into their own at 26.He was the best goalie at camp and was only sent down because of the"braintrusts" bad habit of picking the team before camp.

Avatar
#28 **
October 28 2013, 09:25AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers

I loved BAchman's game. The problem is, if this was a one off and he starts playing worse than LABarbera, and Labarbera gets waved today, then the Oilers are even more screwed than they were before. Having said that, It is hard to fathom that Bachman will do worse than LaBarbera's numbers this season.

Avatar
#29 Smokey
October 28 2013, 11:44AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
17
cheers

I think the smaller more agile and mobile goalies right now have adapted to equipment changes better. Some of the bigger goalies like Dubby, Smith, Luongo, Rhine have struggled while it seems the smaller more athletic goalies have done moderately better. What I liked about Bachman game was that he was positionally good, came out to play shots, covered the bottom of the net, did not go down to early and had rebound control.

Not going to crown his savior yet, but last night he gave his team a chance, and the fans hope. Gotta love the guy who got off a plane, and went to war for 65 minutes and inspired the troops, even if was for only a night. I wish him well, and I hope they ride this guy till he breaks.

Avatar
#30 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 28 2013, 08:38AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers

@Mac962

I hear he threw it over the glass. Superstitions most likely. Finally exorcised the demons with that puck.

Avatar
#31 oilabroad
October 28 2013, 09:21AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers

Although I would not be ready to give him the number 1 role at this point, he has only earned another game, but I would disagree with everyone saying it is only one game. He has been good down in OKC all year, something we cant say about the other 2

Avatar
#32 Will
October 28 2013, 10:06AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers

This is especially difficult given that both goalies have been so bad early and everyone is calling for their head. All he really had to was play decent and everyone would have been going nuts to get this guy at least as a back up. That he made 47 freakin saves is ludicrous. Had we had goal tending like this all year, we would be in way better position.

As for a guy with a bad track record coming to a new team and turning it around, doesn't this sort of thing happen all the time? Luongo out of Florida, Kipper out of wherever, Smith out of Tampa, Bobrofsky out of Philly? And on and on and on. Maybe we shouldn't be looking a gift horse in the mouth and realize we might have just gotten our sleeper goalie.

Avatar
#33 Justino
October 28 2013, 01:17PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers

I say play him a few more times, see what the guy can do. He had an awesome camp and just made the other goalies look terrible. If he gives us a fighting chance then the oilers may have found a hidden gem in their roster.

Avatar
#34 Uks Ya!!
October 28 2013, 03:36PM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
16
cheers

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

Avatar
#35 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 28 2013, 09:17AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers

@Retsinnab5

HEYOOO.

But seriously Gene, this is why we can't have nice things.

Avatar
#36 Mikey
October 28 2013, 09:46AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
15
cheers
Spydyr wrote:

So same as Acro's.If it was not for Bachman doing something only four other Oilers goalie have ever done it would of been a very different story.

So you don't think a rookie nhler holding his own against a proven champion, is decent?

Let's not go into what ifs. The game happened the way it did. Lets reflect on that.

Avatar
#37 Mikey
October 28 2013, 09:44AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

Bachman for sure gets the next start.

Avatar
#38 Joilers8
October 28 2013, 01:12PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
14
cheers

Start Bachman against the Leafs. Seriously, what do we have to lose? Maybe our starting goalie was sitting right under our noses.

Avatar
#39 Doug
October 28 2013, 08:21AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

I honeslty don't care who is in net....just stop the damn puck!

If its Labby, Dubby or Bach........pick 2 and go with it.

The problem is it may already be too late to turn the season around.

The Kings proved last night that the Oilers are too small. They need bigger, heavier bodies to compete in their division.

Once you pick 2 goalies it may be time for MacT to move one of the skilled kids to get some size that can play. I would never have said that going into this season but it seems inevitable this needs to happen.

Avatar
#40 Mikey
October 28 2013, 10:02AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers
Spydyr wrote:

Obviously everyone got out shot.Bachman shut down Kopitar not Acro.

All right, I guess you didn't actually watch the game. You will say you did, and that's fine. But trust me, you weren't actually watching what happened.

Avatar
#41 Bubba
October 28 2013, 10:12AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
13
cheers

Bachman should be a contender for backup consideration....Maybe even starter material. One game doesn't make the man, but the l'il bugger sure looked good.

Avatar
#42 Ziom
October 28 2013, 09:17AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers

The Oilers got manhandled last night. This guy prevented this game from being a 7-1 collapse. Its only one game, but I say keep him in, until the .880 save percentage creeps in.

Avatar
#43 spliff
October 28 2013, 09:25AM
Trash it!
7
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers

Just read Gregor's column in the Journal, which criticized the Oilers rebuild. IAFT that our local press started hammering the braintrust. When I read the article it really hit home how screwed up this organization is. They don't need a miracle cure like Bachman to stand on his head every night, they need a Burke type guy to sit the big chair and make some ballsey moves to get this team going in the right direction. Look what happened in Montreal, which proves that a skilled manager can make a difference quickly.

After years of buying into the managements BS and giving them the benefit of the doubt, I can now safely say that I have absolutely no faith in MacT, KLowe, Howson or any other member of this so-called management group. That absolute schlaking we took last night reminded me of 4 years ago, which proves that we have not improved. F*ck the stats, does anyone really feel that we have improved?

Avatar
#44 Tim in Kelowna
October 28 2013, 09:47AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
12
cheers

The Oilers must not overthink this. That was by far the best goaltending performance of the year. Keep starting him as long as he is playing well. If it means waiving Labarbera, so be it. Wins are the only thing that matter. Keep the two goalies that give you the best chance to win.

Avatar
#45 Mik
October 28 2013, 09:17AM
Trash it!
5
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers

Back-up? How about the starting job!!

Avatar
#46 Mik
October 28 2013, 09:21AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers
Spydyr wrote:

Any once else notice Kopitar absolute owning Acro the whole game. Acro's head doesn't even reach Koitar's shoulder.Even so Eakins keep putting him out there to get spanked.Makes me wonder about Eakins ability to manage a game and make adjustments.

I agree 100%. This was totally verified vs the Caps in Edm. You have last change! Match the lines. Why put your ripe, young stars against the crafty veteran stars? Showed on the stats sheets, all 3 were -4 each.

Avatar
#47 OilDieHard
October 28 2013, 09:25AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers
Spydyr wrote:

Any once else notice Kopitar absolute owning Acro the whole game. Acro's head doesn't even reach Koitar's shoulder.Even so Eakins keep putting him out there to get spanked.Makes me wonder about Eakins ability to manage a game and make adjustments.

Dallas wants to see how well his smaller, talented forwards do against the bigger opposing forwards. Arco against Kopitar...not so well. and Nuge against a much heavier Nick Backstrom against the Caps last game they played...not so well. he got bounced around pretty good too. Dallas tends to over coach a bit sometimes, but he's not the problem.

Avatar
#48 loweblows
October 28 2013, 09:50AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers

only 1 game but bachman looked better than anything weve seen all year. still hard to get excited about much though knowing the season is a wash already. it was obvious that last nights game was men vs boys which lies squarely on managements refusal in past years to surround these kids with more seasoned vets. yesterdays article on prospects notably greg chase gives me hope that our bottom segments of the line up will eventually be filled with skilled players instead of plugs. go oilers!

Avatar
#49 OilDieHard
October 28 2013, 11:52AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers
Spydyr wrote:

I would much prefer if Eakins coached to, you know, win the game.

at the same time, as a new coach, he needs to find out what his players can and cannot do. well he's finding out isn't he?

Avatar
#50 Harlie
October 28 2013, 03:42PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
11
cheers

I like Bachman's mask best of all our tenders.

Comments are closed for this article.