Oilers Negotiating With Dwayne Roloson

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I’ve been watching the newswire pretty closely over the last few months for news on Dwayne Roloson. For all of the holes on the team, the most important one to address before next season is the currently empty number one goaltending slot.

This morning, Rob Tychowski gave all of us a rather vague update on the negotiations so far:

The Oilers also entered preliminary discussions with netminder Dwayne Roloson this week, but the talks are more about philosophy than contract mechanics.
Roloson’s camp considers him an elite-level netminder worthy of elite level money (and term) while the Oilers have to decide whether they’re interested in entering a multi-year deal with a veteran netminder who’d be 41 in the second year of a contract. It’s a tough call when they have Jeff Deslauriers in the wings and there are younger options out there on the trade and UFA fronts.
They’ll talk again later this week.

A few points, if I may:

1) Jeff Deslauriers is not an option for the starter’s job next season. He simply isn’t, and running out of the gates with him in the #1 role is as stupid as Colorado’s decision to roll with Budaj/Raycroft last season. Possibly stupider, since Budaj at least had a consistent NHL track record. He’s easily in the picture for the backup job, but he’s not close to supplanting Roloson.

2) I’d like to see Roloson come back. He’s a combative professional, and there’s never been any question about his effort in Edmonton. He was one of the few bright spots over this past season, and I can’t understand why so many people seem to dislike him so much.

3) That said, Dwayne Roloson is not an elite-level netminder. He’s not even the best UFA goaltender this summer – more on that in a moment.

4) Finally, there are plenty of available goaltenders and precious few starting jobs. Roloson isn’t likely to get a multi-year deal from anybody else, and Steve Tambellini shouldn’t give him one – even if it means that he walks.

Taking A Look At The Field

I did this ten days ago when discussing where Josh Harding might fit into the Oilers plans, but here’s another look at avg. save percentage over the past three years with Dwayne Roloson in bold:

  • Anderson: .928 SV% (.931, .935, .924)
  • Biron: .913 SV% (.899/.908, .918, .915)
  • Khabibulin: .909 SV% (.902, .909, .919)
  • Roloson: .909 SV% (.909, .901, .915)
  • Conklin: .909 SV% (.871/.892, .923, .909)
  • Clemmensen: .909 SV% (.889, .839, .917)
  • Garon: .908 SV% (.907, .913, .895/.894)
  • Gerber: .907 SV% (.906, .910, .899/.905)
  • Fernandez: .906 SV% (.911, .832, .910)
  • Labarbera: .906 SV% (.910, .893/.915)
  • Legace: .904 SV% (.907, .911, .885)
  • Boucher: .904 SV% (.884/.866, .932, .917)

Of goaltenders in the same range, Craig Anderson hasn’t been a starter, while Nikolai Khabibulin has been inconsistent since winning the Cup in Tampa Bay and frankly scares me a little given what his salary is likely to be. With Philadelphia apparently running out Emery/Esche as their tandem for next season (and good luck with that, by the way), Martin Biron is looking for a new home and given his age and track record I think he’d have to be considered a better option than Roloson.

In any case, there are at least three starting-calibre goalies out there (four if you include Anderson) and that doesn’t count guys like Harding, Halak or Lehtonen who might be available via trade. Steve Tambellini has all the leverage here; if Roloson balks at a one-year deal, he has plenty of options.

In other words, if, as Tychowski says, Roloson is looking for “elite level money (and term)”, it’s might help to point out to him that Martin Biron and Nikolai Khabibulin are both on the market.

  • Hippy

    @ Robin Brownlee:

    Exactly what I was thinking. Do you agree with trying to sign Roloson again?? I say let him walk unless its a 1 year deal, his reaction time and side to side movement are getting slower and slower every year IMO.

  • Hippy

    scorecoff hemmercules wrote:

    I personally would rather have Roli at 3 mil

    No way I would take Roli at anywhere close to 3m, I would be offering in the 2-2.5 range. He'll have limited options, there's not point in overspending here.

  • Hippy

    How is Khabibulan even listed as an option coming off a good season and a ticket of $6.75 million?
    There's no chance, none, the Oilers spend a nickel over $4.5 million on both goaltenders combined because it'll tie their hands when it comes to addressing holes at forward and mute any pie-in-the-sky talk about chasing a big name FA or getting into the Heatley bidding.

  • Hippy

    @ mattmarcin:

    What makes Khabi so much better of an option than Biron?? I personally would rather have Roli at 3 mil than Khabi at 5 (which he will probably want). I have heard Biron is looking for something in the 5 mil range which is too much for him IMO but he's still a good option. The only other guys I would consider on that list are Clemmenson and Anderson.

  • Hippy

    I would much rather go into the season with a guy like Harding or Anderson, than an ancient Roloson. I base this totally on his age, and the fact that his contract would likely be higher than any other 40 year old out there, goalie or not.

    If his camp thinks he is an elite talent, they missed the bus. Goalie hit their stride later, yes, but not when they are 39. The best player on an average team is still just above average.

    If we are gonna sign Roli, because he's "good enough", lets sing a 10 year younger "good enough".

    Let him walk, go younger, and start working on the future of that position.

  • Hippy

    I really like Biron, but someone will be offering him more money than the Oilers will, especially if they pick up some big salary player via trade.

    Roloson is on glue if he thinks someone will be offering him a multi year deal at his age. It doesnt matter how good he is right now at all. Cap falling, player's almost 40, player thinks he's an elite performer. Someone is going to be disappointed in July, and he name rhymes with Hoboson.

  • Hippy

    I wouldn't mind seeing Roli back on a two-year deal if the second year of the deal payed very low dollars (ie. the kind you could bury in the minors and not miss it). In the second year of the deal, Roli could be your very affordable #2 if he was still competitive or could be 'retired' at low-cost if you had someone better.

    Where I balk is if Roli needs 'elite' money both both years of the contract.