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 Ari Gold
October 28 2013, 03:18PM
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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?

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#102 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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#103 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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#104 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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#105 Harlie
October 28 2013, 09:27AM
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BDO - TCB!!

Bachman Dubnyk Overdrive

Taking Care of Business??

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#106 **
October 28 2013, 09:44AM
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Rod from Viking wrote:

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.

Your comment reminds me of the implosion of Bryzgalov in Philadelphia.

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#107 Cynic
October 28 2013, 09:49AM
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I suppose when your self-esteem depends on whether the blue and orange laundry wins a game, you'll hold on to any desperate slice of hope. So Bachmann winning a game comes at a good time. Who do the Oilers plan to draft at No. 1 this year? Are they any more under-sized, fragile, perimeter-playing forwards to grab?

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#108 madjam
October 28 2013, 11:30AM
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DID YOU MISS IT ? Oilers in second set of 10 games are 2 wins , a close loss and an unfortuneate shootout loss . That's 5 of 8 points and now going over the .500 mark .Victory over Leafs at home and then another Eastern swing (4-5 games) against their weaker clubs and Oilers should be reeling in the points and gaining massively in the Conference standings . So get your motors running and head out on the highway looking for adventure in whatever comes there way . The boys are now Born to be Wild . Sing it out Oiler fans . If they collapse , which I doubt , however , we can always sing that other Rolling Stones song - "19th nervous breakdown " . The boys have snuck up on us and are turning the corner to respectability and wins in this second 10 game stint . All day sit and win , spin there web as they draw you in , spin ,spin , spin ,spin !

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#109 ed in edmonton
October 28 2013, 12:48PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Just trying to make a point that Hemsky is flyby cruiser, and as a veteran on the ice he should have displayed more game. This guy is a personified premadonna.

Story of Hemsky's career. One never knows what he will bring from one night to the next.

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#110 David S
October 28 2013, 02:51PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

[Quote] 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.

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Another kid who came to training camp without a shot to make it with the parent club. A lot of wasted time and effort accommodating the illusions of attending an NHL T/C. The Oilers are sure paying for all that wasted time now. New systems, rookie coach, a third of the team turned over. I'm sure they wish they could get that 3 1/2 weeks back now. By the time they get their act together the season will be over for them, if it isn't already.

Failure are the results of wasting an opportunity and lack of preparedness. Fire the whole friggen bunch of them, coaches, management as well as the president.

The cut and paste function on your 'puter would sure save you a whack of time doing all that re-typing.

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#111 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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#112 Spydyr
October 28 2013, 09:44AM
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Mikey wrote:

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

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.

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#113 Spydyr
October 28 2013, 09:48AM
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Mikey wrote:

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.

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?

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#114 Oiler Al
October 28 2013, 02:55PM
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Smokey wrote:

On pace for 40-50 points as a second line winger that is killing penalties.

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.

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#115 Mikey
October 28 2013, 03:09PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

[Quote] 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.

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Another kid who came to training camp without a shot to make it with the parent club. A lot of wasted time and effort accommodating the illusions of attending an NHL T/C. The Oilers are sure paying for all that wasted time now. New systems, rookie coach, a third of the team turned over. I'm sure they wish they could get that 3 1/2 weeks back now. By the time they get their act together the season will be over for them, if it isn't already.

Failure are the results of wasting an opportunity and lack of preparedness. Fire the whole friggen bunch of them, coaches, management as well as the president.

Oops

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#116 ed in edmonton
October 28 2013, 03:14PM
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Smokey wrote:

On pace for 40-50 points as a second line winger that is killing penalties.

You led with your chin bringing up the PK thing.

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#117 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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