What’s the big Biron deal?

Between sending videos, speculating about three-ways (which would be better if they included girls), signing some depth guys and debating who is a better goalie this week has been surprisingly busy for the Oilers and their fans.

When the Islanders signed net-minder Martin Biron to a one-year, $1.4 million contract many claimed it was another missed opportunity by the Oilers. Why?4

Biron was available on July 1st, and while many fans felt he was the best UFA goalie available, clearly no GMs did.

Let’s look back at what transpired on July 1st:

  • Dwayne Roloson signs a two-year deal with the Islanders for $5 million. ($2.5 per)
  • Scott Clemmensen signs a three-year deal for $3.6 million with Florida. ($1.2 per)
  • Craig Anderson signs a two-year, $3.625 million deal with Colorado. ($1.81 per)

July 2nd, the Oilers sign Khabibulin for four years at $3.75 million a season.
CBJ signs Mathieu Garon for $1.2 mill a year for two years.

On July 1st Biron and his agent felt he was worth at least $3 million a season, but no GM felt the same. Even the Islanders didn’t because they went with Roloson first instead of Biron.

I think it’s obvious that Khabibulin is a better goalie than Roloson, so it is perplexing to me why some feel that Biron, who was overlooked by many, is now a better goalie than Khabibulin.

The only reason anyone wants Biron is because of his contract, and he only signed that because he and his agent had overvalued his worth on the market, and the Islanders were his only remaining option. Biron wouldn’t have signed on July 1st for that type of money, and the Oilers didn’t have him in their top three UFA goalies.

And the argument that Khabibulin might get injured is void since Biron has had injury problems as well; starting only 31 games after the lockout and then 34 in 2006/2007.

Sure the 4th year of Khabibulin’s contract is a risk, but by then if one of JDD or DD isn’t ready to play then they have a problem, but they have a few years to figure that out. Khabibulin has a good reputation of being able to work with young goalies, and he admitted on my radio show that 55-60 games is the ideal number he’d like to play. That gives JDD round 25 to maybe 30 games to prove he can play. If he falters then DD gets a shot, so to me this is the best situation, not to mention that Khabibulin is a better goalie than Biron, regardless of the contract.


Videos aside it seems like a long shot to have #15 come to Edmonton, but don’t expect the alleged three-way deal involving Marleau to include Cogliano. The Oilers won’t give up Smid, Cogliano and Penner to Ottawa if they are getting Marleau in return. He only has one-year left on his deal, and giving up Cogliano for a guy that could leave for nothing after one year isn’t going to happen.

If the Oilers do nothing to address the void on the first line LW, look for Cogliano to get a shot. If he moves to the wing it will be on the left side. If he shows during the preseason that he has improved his faceoffs he might stay in the middle, but if he hasn’t they will move him to the LW, and along with O’Sullivan, Penner and Nilsson they will audition for the first line spot.

If Penner doesn’t come to camp with a renewed vigor he’ll find himself on the 3rd line very quickly. And I’m not certain it is a lock that Pisani and Moreau will be bookends on the 3rd line. One of them might find themselves on the 4th line, but still a key PK guy.


The Oilers re-signed another depth player in Colin McDonald. Expect an announcement next week.

McDonald is another underachieving pick from 2003. The 2nd rounder was taken 51st overall and after four average seasons at Providence College he has played the past two seasons in Springfield, excluding a short three game stint in the ECHL last year.

McDonald had 12 goals and 23 points in 2008, and last year had 10 goals and 22 points in Springfield. If you’re looking for improvement it would be in the form of his +/_. Last year he was only -8 after a dreadful -23 in his rookie campaign in the AHL.

The only role I can see McDonald fitting into as an Oiler would be to replace Pisani down the road. He isn’t a flashy player, is a bit more physical than Pisani, but doesn’t have as good of a shot.

McDonald signed a one-year deal, and if he doesn’t show significant improvement this year, I don’t see why the Oilers would re-sign him next season.

The Oilers aren’t done re-tooling Springfield. Ryan Potulny is on the verge of a deal, and while he’ll get a look in camp, they expect him in Springfield. Bryan Young, Charles Linglett and Jamie Bates have signed AHL contracts with Springfield and look for the Oilers to lock up another veteran soon.

Eric Boguniecki is on their radar, so is Wyatt Smith and a few other AHL veterans.

Many believe it is a slam dunk that the Oilers will move their AHL franchise to Oklahoma City next year, but it’s not for sure just yet.

The Oilers have been to OKC and checked out the Ford Centre, and that’s where the yield sign comes in. The Ford Center needs some renovations, and if they aren’t done by this time next year, then the Oilers won’t move their AHL team there. The geography works out for them, but right now the facility is not up to par. If city council approves the renovations then I’d bet it’s a for sure that the Oilers end up there, but they won’t go if the facility is not renovated by next year.

  • Archaeologuy

    @ Jason Gregor:
    Undoubtedly, but we arent comparing Khabibulin 2004 to Biron 2009. This is Bulin 2009 to Biron 2009. Right now, I dont know that Biron is considerably worse than Bulin.

  • @ swany:

    If Nilsson isn't in the top six he won't play. Penner could play on the 3rd line if necessary, but Nilsson can't because he has zero jam or checking ability.

    Thinking the game on the wing is easier than playing the middle. Cogliano might struggle a bit at first, but if they give him time to get used to the wing I don't see why he can't succeed there.

  • Halibut

    The thing about Khabibulin is that he's not just a risk when he's 40 he's a risk this year and next and the year after that. If at any time he gets injured or decides to retire we're on the hook. Plus he's frequently injured and didnt play well for Chicago until last season. We had to sign Roli when he was 36 after the run to the cup but continually signing old players to large contracts is playing with fire, one of these times we're going to get burnt.

    I think the reason they signed him was to try and impress Heatley, see we've got a name goaltender we are a competitive team. It was more desperate than sending out a video.

  • Archaeologuy wrote:

    I’m not sure that Biron is clearly worse than Bulin, although I wont say he’s clearly better either. If

    Stanley Cup ring, and the fact that Biron has never been mentioned as a top-ten goalie in the league. Khabibulin has.

  • swany

    Gregor did Heatley like his new VID? (hahaha) I would like to see Cogs get a shot on the first line LW he has proven he can finish, plus he can skate to keep up with Hemmer. But do you think he can think the game good enough to play there? After scoring 18 goals playing with nobody that can pass like Hemmer he might be a 25-35 goal guy IF he can find the open spots. I would play Penner on Sam's LW adds some size and he should win the battles on the boards the only problem with that is where does Nilsson play. My second line would be Penner, Gagner, Patty

  • Tim wrote:

    Any word on Smid, Brule or Schremp signing soon?

    They don't have many options really, unless Schremp goes to Europe which he says he doesn't want to.

    Brule's camp doesn't want a two-way deal, but they probably have no choice but to accept it.

    Smid will re-sign eventually, they don't see it being a problem.

    Mike wrote:

    Gregor, do you think Cogliano is better on the wing? And do you think he’ll actually play there? If he can be better in dot, I’d rather see him there.

    No one has seen enough of him on the wing to know for sure if he'll adapt to it. If he can't win faceoffs at a higher rate, he'll have no choice. He has less responsibilities in the defensive zone as a winger so I can't see why it would be that hard for him.

    I wouldn't mind seeing him there, if only because that means he'll be in the top six. I think his production jumps drastically if he plays there rather than on the third line with the likes of Pisani and Moreau.

  • Archaeologuy

    I'm not sure that Biron is clearly worse than Bulin, although I wont say he's clearly better either. If the Oilers are involved in a 3 way deal with SJ then I hope to god they dont ask for Cheechoo. That guy hasnt been good since 2007 and he's only getting worse.

  • I agree about Biron, he's simply being over-valued by fans now that he's signed for so cheap. It's like they think that was his asking price all along, which it wasn't.

    I keep doing the math on San Jose, and I juat don't see how they can make a trade involving anyone for Heatley without some shuffling first. They have 10 forwards signed and no cap space. Even if they clear space, they have to clear enough to fill the roster for the start of the year. Let's say they do so with entry level contracts, that's like $1.5 million is it not? Adding Heatley makes doing so even more pressing for the Sharks.

    If Ottawa and San Jose make a one for one trade, downfall will have to come in terms of other players being moved that make a lot of money for the Sharks.

  • Tim

    Gregor, I couldn't agree more about Biron. I'm not a big fan of his and I'd take Khabibulin over him every time. Plus I don't understand why everyone is writing off JDD.

    Any word on Smid, Brule or Schremp signing soon?

  • Wanye Gretz

    Colin McDonald signed with the Oilers???

    And you guys thought we weren't going to get an impact player this summer.

    *buries face in hands, weeps bitterly*

    (leaves to go stare at the leaking goat picture more)