Mathieu Garon: (almost) worth his weight in draft position

Here’s Mathieu Garon’s stats line from the last couple of seasons:

2004-05 – AHL -– 32-14-4, 2.12 GAA, .927 SV%

2005-06 – NHL –- 31-26-3, 3.22 GAA, .894 SV%

2006-07 – NHL –- 13-10-6, 2.66 GAA, .907 SV%

2007-08 – NHL –- 26-18-1, 2.66 GAA, .913 SV%

2008-09 – NHL –- 5-8-0, 3.36 GAA, .885 SV%

Here is the stats line of a very comparable player:

2004-05 – AHL –- 31-16-2, 1.84 GAA, .934 SV%

2005-06 – NHL –- 11-9-2, 2.89 GAA, .900 SV%

2006-07 – AHL –- 39-20-1, 2.20 GAA, .933 SV%

2007-08 – NHL –- 17-23-2, 3.00 GAA, .910 SV%

2008-09 – NHL –- 5-8-4, 2.83 GAA, .893 SV%

The latter goaltender is bigger, younger and cheaper. His name is Jason Labarbera, and last night the Vancouver Canucks acquired him from Los Angeles in exchange for a seventh round draft pick.

In other words, if there was any confusion as to why Mathieu Garon has not been traded by the Oilers, there shouldn’t be. It’s because there simply isn’t a market for inconsistent goaltenders that have never held down a starting job in the NHL for two seasons in a row, particularly when said goaltender is in the midst of a poor season.

With Jeff Deslauriers on a two-week conditioning stint, it’s hard not to feel that a change is coming. Deslauriers will have an opportunity to play some games, get the rust off, and show what he can do (he’s done well so far this season, but in a grand total of six games -– that’s not enough of a sample to inspire confidence) over the next two weeks. Once he returns, the Oilers have a decision to make, and unless that decision involves moving one of Deslauriers or Roloson, the obvious solution is to move Mathieu Garon.

Quite probably in exchange for nothing.

  • Hippy

    @ rindog:

    Garon didn't get treated correctly, IMO. That said, he's playing like crap now, and Roli's playing great.

    In other words, I wasn't a fan of the coaching approach, but it would be extremely irresponsible to pick Garon over Roloson now.

  • Hippy

    Players, especially goalies, need to play in order to develop some sort of rhythmn and feel for the game. Playing 2 games then sitting 3 is not how this is achieved.

    And as far as hasn't lost us a whole bunch of games, that isn't really the point. In the summer we signed JDD to a one-way. So at that point we were comitted to HIM and KNEW that we only need 2 goalies. This whole mess falls on the lap of management and their inability to pick a direction and follow it. (ie our so called rebuilding while signing 30 year olds for lengthy million dollar contracts)

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    I am talking about his losses.

    Colorado – 1 weak goal, 1 fluke goal (we scored 1 goal)

    Vancouver – (4ppg against, 2 bad goals)

    Nashville – (3 goals he had chacne on – we scored 1)

    Pittsburgh -(team as awful, can't blame him)

    Florida – 1 PP goal against

    Chicago – 1 bad goal(5th), can't blame him on the other 4 – team was horrible.

    Ottawa – can't blame him for any of them

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    So if he didn't get treated properly – why are we wanting to trade him and keep Roli?

    We have seen Roli's game (inconsistent at best) and we have a much younger goalie (with far more pedigree than Roli) that we are not really sure on.

    Check this quote out from Roli himself:

    "If you ask any player or any goalie, the more you play, a lot easier and a lot more comfortable you feel in that situation,"

    So do we just give up on Garon now???

  • Hippy

    topshelf wrote:

    Players, especially goalies, need to play in order to develop some sort of rhythmn and feel for the game. Playing 2 games then sitting 3 is not how this is achieved.

    Most do. Steve Valiquette and Manny Legace showed that not all of them do, though.

  • Hippy

    rindog wrote:

    So if he didn’t get treated properly – why are we wanting to trade him and keep Roli?
    We have seen Roli’s game (inconsistent at best) and we have a much younger goalie (with far more pedigree than Roli) that we are not really sure on.
    Check this quote out from Roli himself:
    “If you ask any player or any goalie, the more you play, a lot easier and a lot more comfortable you feel in that situation,”
    So do we just give up on Garon now???

    Yes. Garon's never strung together two good seasons at the NHL level, and he's playing poorly right now. For the rest of this season, the better option is Dwayne Roloson, who has been very good (and far more consistent, not just this season but over his career, than Garon).

    Next season, I don't want to see either of Garon or Roloson as the starter. Bring in a UFA (Backstrom, Fernandez, whoever) or trade for a decent starter. Either way, don't play dice with the most important position on the team.

  • Hippy

    rindog wrote:

    I am talking about his losses.
    Colorado – 1 weak goal, 1 fluke goal (we scored 1 goal)
    Vancouver – (4ppg against, 2 bad goals)
    Nashville – (3 goals he had chacne on – we scored 1)
    Pittsburgh -(team as awful, can’t blame him)
    Florida – 1 PP goal against
    Chicago – 1 bad goal(5th), can’t blame him on the other 4 – team was horrible.
    Ottawa – can’t blame him for any of them

    You aren't going to win very often if your goalie allows three goals. He's got to shoulder a good chunk of blame in Colorado, Vancouver, and Nashville (especially Vancouver).

    In Pittsburgh, the team was bad, but not five-goals-against-bad. If Garon hadn't been so poor in net, the four-goal third period outburst wouldn't have been for naught.

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    Why Nashville? There were 2 clean face-off win, one-timers (one of them was tipped? You can't fault him on those).

    The Colorado goals hurt (considering the timing) but we only scored one goal? Pretty tough to win scoring 1 goal?

    How many wins do any of our other goalies have when we only score 1 goal?

    Vancouver was indeed a BAD game by Garon (but no worse than Philly or Columbus for Roli).

    As far as the Pittsburgh game goes – which one of the goals should he have stopped? That game is no different than the Detroit game when Roli got pulled?

    I am really not trying to be difficult. I just want to try and understand from your perspective???

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    Do you think these starters are just going to line-up to sign here?

    Are the other teams just goingto let them go?

    You might see some names on the UFA goalie list – but I doubt many of them will be moving.

    We may not even have a choice in keeping Garon. MacT might have screwed him over enough that he won't consider resigning him if we want to.

    We might be stuck with Roli or maybe Ty Conklin will come back???

  • Hippy

    rindog wrote:

    I am really not trying to be difficult. I just want to try and understand from your perspective???

    My perspective is that Roloson has outplayed Garon this season, and is thus the better option. Period.

    Think back to the San Jose game – Roli stopped at least five different shots that couldn't have been blamed on him if they went in. Every goalie makes those stops, except that this year, Roloson's made a lot more of them than Garon. So we can point to each goal and say, "well, that was too good a chance, we can't blame Garon," but to do so is to ignore that he's supposed to stop more of the good chances than he has.

  • Hippy

    rindog wrote:

    Do you think these starters are just going to line-up to sign here?
    Are the other teams just goingto let them go?

    Anaheim has Jonas Hiller and J-S Giguere. Would Hiller be available for the right price? Probably.

    Atlanta has Ondrej Pavelec demanding a trade or NHL time, and Kari Lehtonen. Is one available for the right price? Probably.

    Boston has Tim Thomas and Manny Fernandez both entering unrestricted free agency. Will one be available? Almost certainly.

    Chicago has Cristobal Huet and Nikolai Khabibulin. Is one available right now? Yes.

    Florida has Craig Andersson and Tomas Vokoun. Is one available for the right price? Probably.

    Minnesota has Backstrom entering UFA, and Harding as a backup. If they resign Backstrom long-term, is Harding available? Probably. If they decide to go with Harding, is Backstrom available? Probably.

    Montreal has Carey Price and Jaroslav Halak. Is Halak available for the right price? Probably.

    St. Louis has Manny Legace and Chris Mason. Is one available for the right price? Probably.

    Still, the kicker is that Jason Labarbera, with better career numbers than Garon year after year (including this season), went for a 7th-round pick last night. If that's the asking price for an upgrade on Garon, is there any reason whatsoever that the Oilers should settle for him next season? I think the answer is no.

  • Hippy

    @ rindog:
    I didn't take you seriously.

    I'm not flip-flopping and saying Roloson should start opening goaltender schools anytime soon or that he's the second coming of Terry Sawchuk, but he is better suited to mentoring than Garon.

    Roloson is dogged. He's focused. He competes. He knows how to prepare. He's a student of the game. As important, Roloson is supportive and a very good teammate in the dressing room on on the practice ice.

    I believe Garon is the superior athlete and has better technical skills than Roloson, but if I'm making the call on who shows Deslauriers the ropes, it's Roloson.

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    I am not questioning Roli. I am questioning on giving up on a goalie that has hand a handful of bad games after being the team's MVP for the entire season last year.

    We have seen alot of what Garon can do. Do we really know what Halak, Harding, Hiller, Rinne can do as a starter?

    Do we really want ot go with a Legace or Vokoun? Or Huet at his price? The other guys just aren't an option. Unless Khabibulin will take a huge paycut (unlikely).

    What is wrong with showing a little confidence in the guy that carried us last year.

    It is staggering to me at the inconcistency of the management/coaches/fans when it comes to certain players.

    All I heard last year is how we need to be loyal to Roli and respect what he did for us during the cup run. Why not the same for Garon???

    Horcoff can cost us a goal (like he did last night) and he is still a god, but Hemmer coughs it up trying to making a great play and he is a dog.

    It's wierd…

  • Hippy

    RobinB wrote:

    Roloson is dogged. He’s focused. He competes. He knows how to prepare. He’s a student of the game. As important, Roloson is supportive and a very good teammate in the dressing room on on the practice ice.

    The oilers knew all this in the summer so why wasn't something done then?

  • Hippy

    rindog wrote:

    All I heard last year is how we need to be loyal to Roli and respect what he did for us during the cup run. Why not the same for Garon???

    I have plenty of respect for what Garon did last year. But starting Roli ahead of him was the right decision this year, just as starting Garon over Roli was the right decision last year.

    Horcoff can cost us a goal (like he did last night) and he is still a god, but Hemmer coughs it up trying to making a great play and he is a dog.

    Not sure where you're living. I don't think there's a single fan of the Oilers who doesn't appreciate what Hemsky brings to the table. And I note you don't mention the two goals Horcoff generated last night.

    In any case, in the final evaluation, the GM should go out and get the guy that gives his team the best chance of winning. Does Manny Fernandez (as an example) do that better next season than either of Garon or Roloson? In my opinion, yes.

    I'm always opposed to loyalty contracts (cough*Moreau*cough).

  • Hippy

    @ RobinB:

    I can respect that but is it the job of the starting goalie to win hockey games or coach players?

    I hardly think Roli can teach JJD to become as dogged, focused, and competitive. Players usually have those skills or they don't for the most part(of course they can be taught, but to what degree?).

    I am assuming that you don't think Garon possesses those skills and I will have to take your word for it.

    But doesn't Garon's technical ability hold some weight when mentoring a young goalie? Isn't technigue something you can teach another person?

    At 30 years old, I think Garon has alot left in him. He has just not been given a shot this year to build on what he started last year.

    If JDD is ready to start next year, then fine. If he isn't we are going to be stuck with a 40+ goalie that has been inconsistent at best in his career.

    Im scared….so very scared!!!

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    Until this year – the majority of media and fans have put a caveate on Hemsky's play.

    "Man, he turns the puckover alot!"

    "When is he going to take that next step?"

    He is 25 years old and has continued to improve his game every year. He has had to take a lot harder path than alot of the "coach's" type of players.

    That is what I was referring to.

  • Hippy

    @ Jonathan Willis:

    I didn't have to mention the 2 assists by Horcoff because I already said he was our best player last night.

    The media was bagging on Hemsky at the start of the season becasue he wasn't playing great.

    No one was playing great but atleast Hemsky was still producing offense (4 points after 3 games, 6 points after 6 games, etc). It wasn't until he carried us on the massive road trip that the Hemsky criticisms stopped. Newsflash – he still turns the puckover and still looks disinterested a lot of the time. The fact of the matter is, for the last 3+ years he has been our only consistent offensive player (no matter who he has played with) and is just finally getting a little respect.

    I understand that when youare the team's best player you have to take some heat – but let's try and be consistent…