Crossroads

Jonathan Willis
August 26 2013 11:01AM

Devan Dubnyk is in the final season of his two-year, $3.5 million/season contract. So far this summer, there has been no word on extension talks, meaning either that the Oilers are doing a masterful job of concealing their intentions or that they aren’t entirely sure that Dubnyk will be the team’s starter a year from now.

The Verbal

General manager Craig MacTavish has talked a lot about the goaltending this summer; I keep going back to his comments at the end of May.

Devan, as I said last night to our season ticket holders, I’ve always believed with goaltending if you have to ask the question you really know the answer. I think the question is still very much out there whether Devan is a real legitimate number one goalie… [Devan] feels like he is a number one goalie, obviously, but there is a sense when you talk to Devan that he really realizes there is some significant growth for him, too. I think the question is still out there and I think Devan is trending in the right direction. What the feeling is and when he’s going to get there is another question, but it’s a position that we need to solidify and we’ll be working hard to do that.

It’s pretty straight forward: the organization doesn’t feel that their goaltending is as good as it needs to be right now, but there is a belief that Devan Dubnyk can still improve. With one season between the player and unrestricted free agency, it’s probably fair to say that Devan Dubnyk needs a big 2013-14 if he’s going to stay in Edmonton.

The Alternatives

Photo: S.Yume/Wikimedia

If the Oilers choose to go another direction, which goalie might they be looking at next summer? There are a number of starters eligible for unrestricted free agency.

Jaroslav Halak, St. Louis Blues. If I were betting on which pending free agent goalie the Oilers were interested in, Halak would be my pick. At age 28 he’s still in the prime of his career, and in two of the last four seasons has topped the 0.920 save percentage mark. St. Louis might let him go after a disastrous and deeply concerning 2013 campaign that saw him post a 0.899 save percentage. If last season was an aberration, he’s a high-end starter.

Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres. This is a possibility. The 33 year-old is an established starting goalie and has a Vezina Trophy; the trade rumours have already started and there’s a decent chance he moves prior to next year’s deadline. If the Oilers aren’t happy with Dubnyk at that point, a trade between the two teams is entirely plausible. Worth asking is whether Miller’s a better goalie, though: over the last three years, Dubnyk has posted a 0.917 save percentage to Miller’s 0.916.

Jonas Hiller, Anaheim Ducks. Another possibility. Last year, Hiller and rookie Viktor Fasth split playing time almost right down the middle, though Hiller took over in the post-season. It seems unlikely that the Ducks will still have both players a year from now. Again, it’s fair to ask if he’s really an upgrade: Hiller is a 0.915 save percentage goalie since 2009-10; Dubnyk has managed a 0.917.

Ilya Bryzgalov, unrestricted free agent. It’s fair to laugh, but it’s also wise to remember that this guy was a Vezina candidate before he signed in Philadelphia. I think he’s probably best off in some small market where there’s one reporter and no pressure, but if a team is looking for a potential impact player on a bargain contract, he’s a possibility.

Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues. He has alternated between unbelievably good – a 0.940 save percentage in 2011-12 is off the charts – and unable to play in the NHL (witness that 0.893 save percentage the year before). His long-term track record shows a goaltender inferior to Devan Dubnyk.

Ray Emery, Philadelphia Flyers. As I see it, if Emery proves himself as a starter this year, the Flyers will re-sign him; if he doesn’t, the Oilers won’t be interested.

Tomas Vokoun, Pittsburgh Penguins. A fantastic and terribly underrated goaltender, the only real issue with Vokoun is age – he turns 38 next summer. He isn’t a long-term solution.

Corey Crawford, Chicago Blackhawks. Crawford’s had an odd career, posting a 0.926 save percentage last season and willing the Stanley Cup after looking like he couldn’t stop a beach ball in 2011-12. It would be a surprise if Chicago chose not to re-sign him.

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers. Don’t bet on it. Contract talks between the Rangers and Lundqvist have already started, and there seems to be a sense that the Rangers will pay whatever it takes to lock down their franchise player.

My Guess

Devan Dubnyk is a pretty good goalie, for my money a middle-third NHL starter. There are better options out there, but they don’t become available all that often and when they do they tend to be expensive. I suspect the Oilers look around and think of other options, but wind up signing the first real starter they’ve drafted and developed since the days of Grant Fuhr and Andy Moog.

Recently around the Nation Network

We've talked quite a bit about realignment's impact on the Oilers, so it's interesting to read Ryan Pike's take at Flames Nation on what it means for Calgary. Pike looks at how Calgary has fared against their new Pacific Division opponents over the last three seasons:

Here's the last three seasons against each of their Pacific Division foe: 11-5-0 against the Oilers, 5-9-3 against the Canucks, 4-5-2 against the Coyotes, 4-5-2 against the Sharks, 3-4-4 against the Ducks, 3-6-2 against the Kings. That's pretty ugly. The Flames cleaned up against the perpetually terrible Oilers (who are finally poised to take a step out of the basement) and got beat up by everyone else. Keep in mind, this is the pre-rebuild Flames we're talking about.

Click the link above to read more, or check out some of my recent stuff:

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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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#1 Dan the Man
August 26 2013, 11:23AM
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I think Dubnyk is better than MacTavish perceives him to be. A .917 save percentage behind what was likely the worst group of D in the league over the last few years is a pretty good number.

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#2 Nis002
August 26 2013, 11:35AM
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With the talents that the Oilers have coming in for their back end I would think that DD's performance will only get better. Fair to say that he's been lacking support over the last couple of years.

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#4 SlimShiny
August 26 2013, 11:34AM
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I think we'relucky to have dodged the Schneider bullet and it's an indication that the Oilers aren't done shopping.

So far this offseason I'm not entirely impressed with MacTm, and would be appaled if his deal for Schneider and overpay to Clarkson had gone through.

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#5 Dan the Man
August 26 2013, 02:24PM
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Spydyr wrote:

"Devan Dubnyk is a pretty good goalie, for my money a middle-third NHL starter."

Not too many Cup winning goalies are middle-third NHL starters. Most are Conn Smyth candidates.

Nothing but the Cup will do so neither will a middle-third NHL starter

In recent history, Niemi, Fleury and Osgood were all middle third (or worse) starters for Stanley Cup winning teams. Obviously you want the best goalie that your team can afford but in a cap world maybe your money is better spent elsewhere? The difference between a middle third starter and a top third started might only be a few percentage points but it might also cost you a million or more extra. Is that worth it?

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#6 Sammy27
August 26 2013, 11:32AM
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I think Dubnyk has the potential to be a No. 1. I also like the way MacTavish is challenging Dubnyk.

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#7 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
August 26 2013, 11:07AM
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The optimist in me hopes they lock up Dubnyk. Plenty of teams in the past have proven that you can win a Stanley with superior skaters and average goaltending.

The pessimist in me looks at Vokoun and prays that they don't sign him to a 7-year, 200 million dollar contract.

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#8 exsanguinator
August 26 2013, 04:48PM
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I like Dubnyk in Edmonton. 0.917 is pretty outstanding considering he was playing behind 3 NHL defensemen. I hear a guy needs 6 or 7 of those on the team to be successful.

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#9 Quicksilver ballet
August 26 2013, 11:34AM
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NA goalies are a crapshoot. Instead of wasting almost a decade developing one, just cherry pick euro free agents during the summer after they've had some success at the pro level.

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#10 rickithebear
August 26 2013, 02:30PM
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All goalies can do is stop the puck. they cannot win games by scoring goals. they cannot reduce Aa by preventing shots. they can stop the pucks they face. Save %

We do know that a defence that reduces the shot count can make a goalies job alot easier. the league average for shots faced is 28.9/gm.

top 10 save% goalies last year, the shots faced, and above or below average shots/gm.

1. Bobrovsky .931 29.3 sh/gm +.4sh/gm

2. Rask .929 27.9 Shots/gm -1.0 sh/gm

3. Schnieder .927 28.9 sh/gm even

4. Lundquist .926 27.7 sh/gm -2.2 sh/gm

5. Crawford .926 26.2 sh/gm -3.7 shgm/

6. Niemi .924 28.3 sh/gm -0.6 sh/gm

7. Riemer .924 32.1 sh/gm +3.2 Sh/gm

8. Howard .923 27.7 sh/gm -1.2sh/gm

9. Fasth .921 27.8 sh/gm -1.1 sh/gm

10. Bishop .920 33.3 sh/gm +4.4 sh/gm

10. Dubnyk .920 32.3 sh/gm +3.4 sh/gm

10. Holtby .920 32.2 sh/gm +3.3 Sh/gm

of the top 10 Save % 9 faced near or below average shot count.

there were a group who faced 4 of the 6 highest shot counts in the game. yet were still in the top 10.

there would be an expected improvement with a reduction of shots faced for Riemer, Bishop, Dubnyk, Holtby.

i would not replace any of the 4 with the performances of top 10 below Rask.

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#11 Grizztopia
August 26 2013, 12:36PM
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I'm a big fan of Dubey, so my judgement is likely clouded on this one, but the numbers suggest he's trending upwards, and the numbers as they stand now make him a #1, albeit not an elite #1 just yet.

I think with the (seemingly) improved D his numbers will hover in the .920's, which should give the Oil a chance to be competitive in the push for the playoffs.

Here's hoping.

On a side note, anybody else playing in the Hockey Helps the Homeless Tournament on the 7th?

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#12 justDOit
August 26 2013, 11:39AM
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I wonder how the newly mandated shorter pads will affect the play of some of the jolly green goalies in the league?

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#13 HardBoiledOil
August 26 2013, 12:26PM
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Sammy wrote:

Jaroslav Halak seems like the best bang for the buck. One thing that concerns me is that he has been traded away and will be unrestricted free agent. When Montreal traded him he looked like the best goalie in the NHL.

Does he have a bad attitude or is he injury prone or is he a steal?

i think if you are going to replace Dubnyk with anyone, Halak is the guy. very accomplished goalie and still young-ish.

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#14 Smokey
August 26 2013, 12:04PM
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The Oilers hopefully will make an assessment mid season and determine he's the goalie of the future or not. A 3 year contract in the 3-4 million tops, because paying a goalie who's never made it to the dance would be asinine. On that list above there are comparable goaltenders who can be had for less dollars if Dubby has not improved.

Its not that I don't think he can be better, I just think as the Oiler's get better his overall save percentage and wins totals will get better. I just know the Oiler's can't afford a Carey Price albatross contract. I don't get organizations paying 7 mil to the Rinne's and Rask's. When you see teams winning with average goalies such as Howard, Crawford, Neimi whats the rush to pay big dollars to a goalie.

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#15 westcoastoil
August 26 2013, 12:51PM
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As far as Dubey goes if he can pull himself into to top 10 - and I think he can - he should stay.

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#16 Sammy
August 26 2013, 11:30AM
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Jaroslav Halak seems like the best bang for the buck. One thing that concerns me is that he has been traded away and will be unrestricted free agent. When Montreal traded him he looked like the best goalie in the NHL.

Does he have a bad attitude or is he injury prone or is he a steal?

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#17 DieHard
August 26 2013, 02:55PM
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Dubnyk must be better behind the net. I think he's OK in front of it.

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#18 madjam
August 26 2013, 12:29PM
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We don't know yet , how good Dubbie might be with a stronger defence like we appear to have this season . So far he does not appear to be weak or elite at current stage . This season should tell us if he is worth while going ahead with as a starter . Will he make a big improvement is the question ? He needs to show more flexibility and use his size to mimic Billy Smith and punish the odd intruder . Puck handling also could use some upgrading . He's good at angles but questionable in other areas .

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#19 Fresh Mess
August 26 2013, 01:54PM
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The treatment Dubnyk has received from the Oilers org. and the fans is perplexing to me.

From the Oilers bungling of his development (farming him out to other teams AHL affiliates to play back up minutes), to the head scratching contract they gave him, it is amazing Duby has developed into as good a goalie as he has.

Add in the criticism from MacT and a segment of fans, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Duby waits until July 1 and bolts to another organization as an UFA.

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#20 Grizztopia
August 26 2013, 02:00PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Pfft.

If Hall isn't on that team, it's a problem with the team, not Hall.

Would it be par with Stamkos not being on the last Olympic team in your view, or a bigger slight than that?

For the record, I think Hall finds his way onto that team this year. I think he'll be a consistently strong player all season rather than streaky.

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#21 Czar
August 26 2013, 06:23PM
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Fresh Mess wrote:

The treatment Dubnyk has received from the Oilers org. and the fans is perplexing to me.

From the Oilers bungling of his development (farming him out to other teams AHL affiliates to play back up minutes), to the head scratching contract they gave him, it is amazing Duby has developed into as good a goalie as he has.

Add in the criticism from MacT and a segment of fans, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Duby waits until July 1 and bolts to another organization as an UFA.

The Oiler system is where goaltending prospects go to die.

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#22 EHH Team
August 26 2013, 04:36PM
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westcoastoil wrote:

Bob McKenzie tweeted out the Oly orientation lines for their walk throughs.

Eberle was with Bergeron and Marchand. Hall was with J.Stall and a UofC fill-in (Thornton was a last minute no show). Oviously early, but it would appear he is waaaay at the back of the LW pack with a long climb ahead.

very disappointing

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#23 MessyEH!
August 26 2013, 05:24PM
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justDOit wrote:

I wonder how the newly mandated shorter pads will affect the play of some of the jolly green goalies in the league?

In my experience DD means you won't miss the padding.

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#25 Yakman
August 26 2013, 11:27PM
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It's funny how everyone always takes DSF's troll bait... If Taylor Hall is in the top 10 in the NHL scoring race come selection time they'd be idiots not to pick him for the team. Period.

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#26 yawto
August 26 2013, 05:23PM
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I think dubey is the right age and skill level to actually be our Stanley cup winning goalie. He has developed well and put up decent #s on a subpar team. A goalie is different than most other positions. A centre or defencemans play only somewhat effects the others play. A goalie is completely reliant on the other players. A porous defence or an offence that doesn't back check = lots of rubber from good positions on the ice. A good defence with a committed offence = less rubber from more managable positions on the ice.

This is dubeys year. Mact has put a confident and deep d line in front of him. The forwards should see no rookies of the 18-20 year old edition. All in all, this is the best team he will have in front of him in his career to date. With his past experience and the improvements in front of him, this is his year to say yes I am a NHL starter who is on his way to backstopping his team to a championship ( and I don't mean this year, but if it happens I will quote this comment a year from now saying I called it. ;)

If he can't improve on the numbers he posted on far inferior teams in the past couple of years, better start working on your Russian. Get some lessons from Nail cause you NHL career is over before it started.

Just my opinion.

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#27 The Last Big Bear
August 26 2013, 07:00PM
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As a Flames fan, I love all the drama and nonsense that surrounds Dubnyk.

I don't know whether the Oilers have an honest lack of confidence in their starter, or if MacT has just decided that head games in an appropriate way of dealing with his starter.

But I'm happy with either of these, andI really encourage Oilers management to continue to openly question the future of their starting goalie, and publicly say they are working hard to shore up the #1 goalie position.

The only guy on that list I'd choose over Dubnyk, is Halak. And I'd consider even that to be risky.

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#28 Harry
August 26 2013, 08:47PM
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DSF wrote:

TSN had a panel vote on the locks for Team Canada today.

C: Crosby, Toews, Getzlaf, Giroux, Tavares.

W: Eric Staal, Rick Nash, Stamkos, Bergeron

Corey Perry and Martin St. Louis were chosen as favourites.

That's 11 forwards.

Hopefuls included Hall, Couture, Duchene, Richards, Carter, Thornton, J. Staal, Neal, Ladd, Sharp, Kunitz.

Of the 11 hopefuls, what is the case you can make for Hall over the other 10?

* Note that 7 of them can also play centre if required.

Considering his average ice time and the point he ended up with id say Hall had a very good year. Also taking into effect his speed on the big ice id say hes got.as good a shot as anyone on that list.

Also as a natural left winger, and one of the best at that position in the league, why would he need to play center considering all theother centers who will be moving to wing?

If he plays like last year id be dis.apointed if hes not on the team.

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#29 vetinari
August 26 2013, 11:29AM
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Dubnyk (and the Oilers) are between a rock and a hard place on this one.

If Dubnyk plays well, that's great for the team but it's also likely going to price Dubnyk into a range that the Oilers may not be comfortable with on a starter without a Vezina or a Cup. I suspect that $5M+ per season may not be out of line and if so, may result in Dubnyk being traded.

On the other hand, if Dubnyk doesn't play well, it's unlikely that the Oilers will bring him back unless he's prepared to take a significant pay cut. However, in this case, at least they know if they should pursue other options.

The worst case scenario is if Dubnyk plays just average-- do you keep him or do you let him go? Do you go mid-range term value contract (2 to 3 years at around his current pay grade) or give him a one year deal to see if he bounces back or washes out?

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#30 DSF
August 26 2013, 07:05PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Pfft.

If Hall isn't on that team, it's a problem with the team, not Hall.

TSN had a panel vote on the locks for Team Canada today.

C: Crosby, Toews, Getzlaf, Giroux, Tavares.

W: Eric Staal, Rick Nash, Stamkos, Bergeron

Corey Perry and Martin St. Louis were chosen as favourites.

That's 11 forwards.

Hopefuls included Hall, Couture, Duchene, Richards, Carter, Thornton, J. Staal, Neal, Ladd, Sharp, Kunitz.

Of the 11 hopefuls, what is the case you can make for Hall over the other 10?

* Note that 7 of them can also play centre if required.

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#31 Boardwalk Brown
August 26 2013, 11:49AM
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Halak or Hiller would be much better. The Oilers aren't in the business of developing goalies and why would they stick with Dubnyk with the names on that UFA list. I guess there's always a chance Dubnyk shows........ Nah

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#32 Oilerz4life
August 26 2013, 05:03PM
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DD is a decent goalie, but not stellar. He's pretty solid, but will still let in that one soft goal on a regular basis. That one goal is what can make the difference in the NHL. Anyone who thinks a stellar goalie can't steal games is wrong. The Oilers have a history of awesome goaltending (Fuhr, Moog, Ranford, Joseph and even Roloson). This is the year that Doobs needs to prove he can be that guy, otherwise MacT will be looking for a better #1 guy, the guy that fans will look back and say was one of the Oiler greats.

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#33 K_Mart
August 26 2013, 09:51PM
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DSF wrote:

TSN had a panel vote on the locks for Team Canada today.

C: Crosby, Toews, Getzlaf, Giroux, Tavares.

W: Eric Staal, Rick Nash, Stamkos, Bergeron

Corey Perry and Martin St. Louis were chosen as favourites.

That's 11 forwards.

Hopefuls included Hall, Couture, Duchene, Richards, Carter, Thornton, J. Staal, Neal, Ladd, Sharp, Kunitz.

Of the 11 hopefuls, what is the case you can make for Hall over the other 10?

* Note that 7 of them can also play centre if required.

Nash, not a lock.

The fact that Hall is a natural left winger in a camp dominated by centres also gives him an edge. He plays a game that revolve around speed, also advantageous on the big ice.

Last season he was 6th in the league in pts/60, another huge reason.

If his defensive game improves I'd definitely give him great odds at making the team.

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#34 G Money
August 27 2013, 07:46AM
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Hey, another thread hijacked by DSF's content-free rantings. What a surprise.

On the Dubynk topic:

- It is fair to say that Dubynk's numbers last year were impacted negatively by the sh*t defense in front of him. Expect that to improve a little bit this year.

- That said, his numbers were buoyed by a very high PP save %, which is a notoriously inconsistent number year to year for all goalies. Expect that to regress this year.

The key to Dubynk's year will be his EVSP%. While he was in the top half of goalies by SV% last year, he was in the bottom half (22nd or so) in EVSP%. An elite goalie I believe must be top 10 in EVSP%.

If Dubie can move his EVSP% up into the top half of the league, I think he'll earn himself the chance and the right to a new contract.

If his EVSP% stays, I think MacT looks for an elite replacement on the UFA market next year.

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#35 DSF
August 26 2013, 09:34PM
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Harry wrote:

Considering his average ice time and the point he ended up with id say Hall had a very good year. Also taking into effect his speed on the big ice id say hes got.as good a shot as anyone on that list.

Also as a natural left winger, and one of the best at that position in the league, why would he need to play center considering all theother centers who will be moving to wing?

If he plays like last year id be dis.apointed if hes not on the team.

It's very likely that Tavares, Stamkos, Eric Staal, Bergeron, Nash, St. Louis, Perry, Couture and Kunitz play wing.

That's 9.

I guess if they want a scoring 4th line they might pick Hall but that's not likely.

I expect he'll be selected as an extra.

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#36 Harry
August 26 2013, 09:51PM
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DSF wrote:

It's very likely that Tavares, Stamkos, Eric Staal, Bergeron, Nash, St. Louis, Perry, Couture and Kunitz play wing.

That's 9.

I guess if they want a scoring 4th line they might pick Hall but that's not likely.

I expect he'll be selected as an extra.

I understand your logic but come on you dont seriously think Couture has a better shot than Hall do you. I also think hes got a leg up on Kunitz too.

My bet is that if he has a great first half he makes the team.

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#37 Harry
August 26 2013, 11:23PM
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DSF wrote:

And here are the thoughts of Yzerman and Babcock:

"No shocker here. Canada is deepest down the middle. Sidney Crosby of the Penguins, Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks, Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes, John Tavares of the New York Islanders and Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers lead the crop.

Too many good centres is a good problem to have. "We've had success with it in the past of moving centres to the wing if necessary, and the reality is we'll be forced in that situation to move a couple centremen to the wing just because we're very deep down the middle," Yzerman said. "We are comfortable moving a few guys. Some centremen have had experience playing on the wing."

Wanting to fill specific roles shouldn't be hard for Team Canada up front. Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Jordan Staal of the Hurricanes and Mike Richards of the Los Angeles Kings could be shutdown centres, freeing up players like Crosby and Giroux to concentrate at the offensive end.

But Babcock wants a little bit of everything, counting on players to be "200-footers." "I really like our group up front," he said. "We have a whole bunch of guys that can skate, move the puck, are really dangerous offensively but understand how the game's supposed to be played with and without the puck."

Fourteen forwards are expected to be on the roster of 25, which leaves room for the management team to select players based on how they fit into a lineup, instead of just the most talented or most prolific scorers.

Milan Lucic of the Bruins and Rick Nash of the New York Rangers are power forwards, Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks and Jeff Carter of the Kings are snipers and Marty St. Louis of the Lightning and Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers are speedsters.

Scoring is a priority, as Yzerman called a lack of goals the "downfall" of Team Canada in Turin in 2006. Canada was shut out by Russia in the quarter-finals.

There's plenty of talent there. Of course, the top offensive players "have to be responsible defensively," Yzerman said.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/sports/speed-and-skill-wanted-for-team-canada-s-2014-olympic-roster-1.1380192#ixzz2d8nbtfvs

For cryin out oud man! I come onto this page to converse with fans. If I wanted to read about Yzerman and Babcock id watch sportscenter. Is it so hard for you to formulate an opinion without refrencing quotes from other writers or bullstuff "corsi" stats??

Do us a favor and tell us your opinions and your lineups. Not the TSN panels.

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#38 Oiler Al
August 26 2013, 04:26PM
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Dubnyks numbers should improve, with hopefully an improved defensive group, as well as the team will be coached to be play a more defensive game over all.

Dubnyk, biggest weakness is his puck moving skills... which are just terrible. He needs to be 5x better, because this team will be coached to control and move the puck out quickly.. something Duby cant do.

Also needs to control more rebounds.

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#39 Harry
August 26 2013, 09:53PM
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Again the guy was 9th in league scoring and wasnt even close to the top when it comes to icetime.

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#40 DSF
August 26 2013, 10:08PM
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Harry wrote:

I understand your logic but come on you dont seriously think Couture has a better shot than Hall do you. I also think hes got a leg up on Kunitz too.

My bet is that if he has a great first half he makes the team.

Logan Couture scored 21 goals last season.

Hall scored 16.

I guess it depends on what team management is looking for.

Hall's speed is an asset but Couture is a more complete player.

I think the only way Kunitz makes the team is if they think his chemistry with Crosby is important.

Kunitz did out score Hall last season but a lot of that is the Crosby effect IMO.

I would think, at best, Hall would get 4LW but, if team management wants a more defensively responsible 4th line, Hall will likely be an extra in case one of the the top 6 wingers is injured.

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#41 DSF
August 26 2013, 10:16PM
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K_Mart wrote:

Nash, not a lock.

The fact that Hall is a natural left winger in a camp dominated by centres also gives him an edge. He plays a game that revolve around speed, also advantageous on the big ice.

Last season he was 6th in the league in pts/60, another huge reason.

If his defensive game improves I'd definitely give him great odds at making the team.

He doesn't have much time to improve his defensive game.

I don't think there's much doubt that, if he makes the team, he'll be playing a bottom 6 role. so defense will likely be very important.

Lord knows the team doesn't need more scoring with Stamkos, Tavares, Perry and Bergeron likely playing top 6 wing.

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#42 DSF
August 26 2013, 10:38PM
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And here are the thoughts of Yzerman and Babcock:

"No shocker here. Canada is deepest down the middle. Sidney Crosby of the Penguins, Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks, Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes, John Tavares of the New York Islanders and Claude Giroux of the Philadelphia Flyers lead the crop.

Too many good centres is a good problem to have. "We've had success with it in the past of moving centres to the wing if necessary, and the reality is we'll be forced in that situation to move a couple centremen to the wing just because we're very deep down the middle," Yzerman said. "We are comfortable moving a few guys. Some centremen have had experience playing on the wing."

Wanting to fill specific roles shouldn't be hard for Team Canada up front. Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, Jordan Staal of the Hurricanes and Mike Richards of the Los Angeles Kings could be shutdown centres, freeing up players like Crosby and Giroux to concentrate at the offensive end.

But Babcock wants a little bit of everything, counting on players to be "200-footers." "I really like our group up front," he said. "We have a whole bunch of guys that can skate, move the puck, are really dangerous offensively but understand how the game's supposed to be played with and without the puck."

Fourteen forwards are expected to be on the roster of 25, which leaves room for the management team to select players based on how they fit into a lineup, instead of just the most talented or most prolific scorers.

Milan Lucic of the Bruins and Rick Nash of the New York Rangers are power forwards, Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks and Jeff Carter of the Kings are snipers and Marty St. Louis of the Lightning and Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers are speedsters.

Scoring is a priority, as Yzerman called a lack of goals the "downfall" of Team Canada in Turin in 2006. Canada was shut out by Russia in the quarter-finals.

There's plenty of talent there. Of course, the top offensive players "have to be responsible defensively," Yzerman said.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/sports/speed-and-skill-wanted-for-team-canada-s-2014-olympic-roster-1.1380192#ixzz2d8nbtfvs

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#43 j
August 27 2013, 08:29AM
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Probably a bit too early to start ranting about the Olympic line up. That said, Hall does have a rather large wild card - Krueger. The coaches have tasked Krueg with strategic insight i.e. how to beat the Euro's on big ice. Hall may be one of the keys to the game in Krueg's estimation as Hall exemplifies all the qualities required. Big, fast, fearless, great shot, wide skating stance... Hall was built for these tournaments. In Kreug we trust?

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#44 westcoastoil
August 26 2013, 12:38PM
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Bob McKenzie tweeted out the Oly orientation lines for their walk throughs.

Eberle was with Bergeron and Marchand. Hall was with J.Stall and a UofC fill-in (Thornton was a last minute no show). Oviously early, but it would appear he is waaaay at the back of the LW pack with a long climb ahead.

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#45 Spydyr
August 26 2013, 01:58PM
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"Devan Dubnyk is a pretty good goalie, for my money a middle-third NHL starter."

Not too many Cup winning goalies are middle-third NHL starters. Most are Conn Smyth candidates.

Nothing but the Cup will do so neither will a middle-third NHL starter

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#46 Harry
August 26 2013, 11:10PM
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@Harry

Damn it! Forgot Toews. Well there you have it. I wouldnt want to be the guy picking this team thats for sure. Then again put Johnny on the checking line with ladd and bergeron.

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#47 Zarny
August 27 2013, 11:36AM
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K_Mart wrote:

Nash, not a lock.

The fact that Hall is a natural left winger in a camp dominated by centres also gives him an edge. He plays a game that revolve around speed, also advantageous on the big ice.

Last season he was 6th in the league in pts/60, another huge reason.

If his defensive game improves I'd definitely give him great odds at making the team.

Ummm sorry but Nash is a lock.

And Bergeron will be playing C not W.

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#48 Harry
August 26 2013, 11:06PM
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I love Lucic but he would look like a pylon just like Pronger did in '06 on the big ice.

Hall is built for the big ice. Also theres no chance Bergeron wil not play center on this team. I have Crosby, Giroux, Tavares and Bergeron as the centers.

Another main reason I see Hall making it is the fact that hes a natural LW.

3 top scoring lines with speed and a checking line centered by Bergeron is what Yzerman wants.

Staal-cros-nash hall- giroux- stamkos St. louis-tavares-perry Laad-bergeron-?

Just my thoughts, no blogs from writers here.

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#49 Westcoastoil
August 26 2013, 11:50PM
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Yakman wrote:

It's funny how everyone always takes DSF's troll bait... If Taylor Hall is in the top 10 in the NHL scoring race come selection time they'd be idiots not to pick him for the team. Period.

What troll bait. Go to my first post. Hall was paired up with J. Stall (who will not make the team and a scrub fill in from UofC - obviously it's only the orientation camp, but he was out in the lowest possible F line which has to say something of their opinion of where he fits. The fact that he's 21 will likely work against him and he wasn't exactly given a feature role by Ruff at the WC.

Top 10 or not in a 2 week tourney coaches will go with who they feel is a safe pick which usually falls back to experience: Perry, Couture, Richards, Carter, Thornton all have playoff and/or Oly experience.

Hall will have to rip the cover off the ball to make the team. Good news for us Oiler fans is that he just may do so.

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#50 TV6
August 27 2013, 11:21AM
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@DSF

"Lord knows the team doesn't need more scoring with Stamkos, Tavares, Perry and Bergeron likely playing top 6 wing."

~~~

I'm willing to bet a "rest of the season & playoffs" stay from posting, in saying that...> Bergeron will NOT be a Top 6 winger on the Oly' team.

Care to put your $$$ where your keystrokes are DSF..?

x6

oly

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