Where Will The Monster Land?

monster

If the ancient Chinese curse (which may not have been an ancient Chinese curse) is true, than Jonas Gustavsson has done something offensive because he’s definitely living in interesting times.  The undrafted free agent had a brilliant regular season and a better playoff run, and is now being pursued by at least four NHL teams (more on that in a moment).  His national team has also dropped out of contention for the gold medal at the World Championships and his mother is seriously ill.

I had a look at Gustavsson’s career to date on my other site, and suffice to say he looks like the kind of goaltender who can step in and perform at a high level immediately.  He should be of interest to the Oilers, and The Pieline Show’s interview with Kevin Prendergast indicated that the Oilers brain trust is actively pursuing him.  The Canucks are in a similar situation, with Mike Gillis having admitted to interest in the goaltender.  Unfortunately for both the Oilers and Canucks, it is unclear what chance those clubs have of acquiring him, as there are conflicting reports on the subject. 

First, courtesy of Bruce Garrioch (h/t Lowetide):

Highly touted Swedish goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who has earned the nickname “The Monster” for his performance this season with five shutouts in 13 games for Farjestad, will decide in the next couple of weeks where he’s going to play next season. Though the Leafs are considered the front-runner to land the unrestricted free agent netminder, the word is the Oilers, Canucks and Kings have all held talks with Gustavsson’s agent.

That’s encouraging, but it’s hardly the final word, since Wayne Scanlan also weighed in on the matter today:

Speaking of Maple Leafs, or at least a potential Leaf, Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson is expected to visit North America in two weeks.

A 24-year-old free agent goaltender from Sweden, Gustavsson says he has narrowed his choice of NHL clubs to four: Dallas, Colorado, San Jose and Toronto.

 Obviously the reports indicate different things, although both could be correct; a team such as Edmonton or Vancouver could have talks with Gustavsson’s agent, but not be of interest to the goaltender.  Scanlan claims that his information comes directly from Gustavsson, and I’m not sure there’s any reason to doubt his veracity.  It’s unfortunate; Gustavsson would have been a useful piece of the puzzle for Edmonton or Vancouver.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    I’ve made this point myself a time or two and I agree. The thing with Gustavsson though is that he may well be from the Nik Backstrom/Jonas Hiller mold of goaltender and be a cheap top-end guy.

    I think people underestimate the crap-shute that is NHL personnel. If he is the next Hiller is it worth waiting till the end of next season and getting in on the UAF sweepstakes for him?

    In my opinion I would let Roli go, start JD for the first game of the season and go from there. If he doesn’t cut it then you go shopping on waivers. It seems so many tenders are endowed their starting position based on the last season or their reputation.

    Hell, the oil could probably pick Garon back up for a bag of pucks next year if they need to. We need scoring. If we can find it and hold our defense core in-tact we could be a very dynamic squad scoring with not only our defensemen but our forwards too!

  • Hippy

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    @ Jonathan Willis:
    I thought as a UFA he wasnt constrained to an entry level contract.

    If you are right and the Oil need to outbid to get his services, then I prefer a Clemmenson, Anderson, Halak or Harding. But if all they have to do is promise 60 games in the show on an entry-level then by all means, do it!

  • Hippy

    Lofty wrote:

    Goaltenders are a dime a dozen. Every year you can go on the waiver wire or FA market and pick up a good tender for a low price.

    I've made this point myself a time or two and I agree. The thing with Gustavsson though is that he may well be from the Nik Backstrom/Jonas Hiller mold of goaltender and be a cheap top-end guy.

    Archaeologuy wrote:

    I think LA has the most Cap space so i wouldnt be surprised, if a bidding war started, if Gus would end up in LA.

    Since he'd be on entry level deal, cap space isn't a big concern.

  • Hippy

    I dont know why he would go to Dallas, Vancouver, or San Jose. He wont be guaranteed to start at any of those locations. Since we're talking about a UFA goalie who hasnt played in the NHL the guy will want to prove that he can play for at least 2 years as a starter so he can earn a big contract before he's 30. The best opportunities to play (of the teams listed above) are on the Kings, Avalanche, Maple Leafs, and Oilers.

    Toskala is making 4 mill next year, but Burke has never seemed to have a problem finding replacements for his Goalies. Still, I wonder if Gustavsson would be leary of signing there because of Tosk.

    That leaves (IMO) 3 teams with better prospects at getting the starting gig. I think LA has the most Cap space so i wouldnt be surprised, if a bidding war started, if Gus would end up in LA. However, this might be a good way for Tambi to make a stamp on this team that is unquestionably his own.

  • Hippy

    Edmonton Journal, http://www.edmontonjournal.com/sports/hockey/edmonton-oilers/Western+Conference/1581768/story.html:

    Prize free-agent goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who played for Sweden against Canada in the world hockey championship semifinal on Friday, says he's coming to North America on a look-see basis before deciding which NHL club he wants to sign with.

    It's likely he'll opt for the Dallas Stars, who have three Swedes on their roster — Loui Eriksson, Nicklas Grossman and Fabian Brunnstrom.

    Marty Turco, the Stars' No. 1 goalie, turns 34 in August and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2010.

  • Hippy

    Goaltenders are a dime a dozen. Every year you can go on the waiver wire or FA market and pick up a good tender for a low price. You arnt gonna get Luongo or Brodeur but something that you can compete with.

    That being said, the oils best player this past year was Roli and they would have lost more games without him.

    I think the Oil need to spend the $$$ on some scoring and take some of the pressure off the D and tender. They finished 18th in the league with 228 goals for. 2 teams had less goals than the oil and still made the second season. Not very good odds

  • Hippy

    Isn't Vancouver already stacked at goal? Why would they need this dude?

    He's a monster. I like him having no more knowledge than this article and it's linked pieces and a thorough review of YouTube.

    This would seriously solve a big problem with the Oilers taking it to the next level. Gustavsson plus Roloson for a year or two in tandem would be sweet.

    If there is a guy the Oilers should make a serious push for in the offseason this should be it over a Jagr-type carnival attraction.

  • Hippy

    misfit wrote:

    Whenever there are conflicting reports, and one of those reports is coming from Bruce Garrioch, I often find myself believing the other source.
    I definitely agree that Gustavsson is a player we should be looking at, and retaining Roloson to platoon with him would seem like a pretty smart move too. Even if it means giving him 2 years on his contract.

    I agree with misfit. Roloson appears to still be in top form, and the price will be about right for our cap room, and it gives the Oilers time to figure out if Deslauriers is the A-league material.

    Would love to get someone nicknamed Monster who is supposedly great, but we do have options one way or another.

  • Hippy

    Whenever there are conflicting reports, and one of those reports is coming from Bruce Garrioch, I often find myself believing the other source.

    I definitely agree that Gustavsson is a player we should be looking at, and retaining Roloson to platoon with him would seem like a pretty smart move too. Even if it means giving him 2 years on his contract.