Fasth Train

It doesn’t matter where they come from, all they need to do is stop the damn puck. In Canada, more phone calls have been made in search of goalies (all the way from pick  up games to rec league to pro hockey) than the search for girls. Well, maybe not but it’s close.

Viktor Fasth is not a huge goaltender by today’s standards (6.00, 198) and he’s no kid (born in 1982, he can see 30 up the road apiece) but he’s as hot as hot can be right now. Fasth is coming off a quality SEL season (42gp, 2.26 .925SP) and has gone supernova at the World Hockey Championships (4gp, 0.50 .983). He won the "Honken" trophy as the SEL’s best goaler this season and NHL teams are circling.

The Edmonton Oilers have a few things they can offer Fasth. One: NHL employment. With NK’s legal situation on the docket for this summer the Oilers will no doubt do the prudent thing and protect themselves with a suitable replacement. Should said player win a job outright (not impossible based on Khabibulin’s Red Light Racicot moments this past season) then the Russian may spend next season in the Sheldon Souray "richest man in the minors" seat. Two: they can pay him very good dollars based on their cap situation.

Any number of NHL teams have been associated with Fasth. If you google "Fasth-NHL" you get over 1 million results including this one that has Steve Yzerman interested in the suddenly popular Fasth. He has a contract for next year, but these things have a way of working themselves out.

Viktor Fasth could be the most important free agent signing the Oilers make this summer. Seriously. Goaltending is miles from being adequate despite a very fine showing by rookie Devan Dubnyk. The elephant in the room is the Russian goaltender. Viktor Fasth could change all that in a heartbeat.

  • big joe grizzley

    hey oilers freaks,grizzleys in town,whos got the cracker jacks?….i just wanted to give a big joe shout out to all you oiler die hards,i look forward to spicing it up…bringing the heat…and having some fun talking about my beloved oilers… so lets get after it!….heres what you need to know about grizzley…i dispise small soft hockey players…i dig holly horton on tsn…my favorite movie is Romeros Dawn of the dead…favorite band is the Dead kennedys…and damit,i cant spell worth a crap,but i have passion,so give a brother some slack!i have a smoken hot girlfriend whos name is mamma bear grizzley…but i have a mistress my friends,and her name is the edmonton oilers hockey club,and in the last 20 years shes been a crule mistress indeed,lets hope the next 10 years makes up for 20 years of getting pummped hard…later…bjg is out

  • thetikk

    Like I said, go with Dubnyk..get him a quality Backup (or keep NK if they must), I like his overall Calmness in Net..seems like a pretty laid back guy off the ice too..the type of dude that can handle pressure in big game situations..sound a bit like P.Rinne?

    Just keep drafting one of two Goalie prospects a year..somethings gonna pan out eventually

    • thetikk

      did you just reference and compare a N.A. goalie in the breath as a Euro goalie…how dare you!

      i like your thinking, there is clarity in that.

      not opposed to fasth or hellberg but dubnyk should be given whole roll of rope first, not a 2ft chunk at a time.

  • I tried it at home

    thetikk, youve made your point. Before this tangent takes over the whole thread discussion, lets just drop it. I want to read about possibilities in goaltenders, not juvenile remarks and hurt feelings.

    • thetikk

      I understand IWA, and agree, yet I do feel compelled to point out inappropriate comments as they arise, since the moderators of this section don’t seem greatly motivated to deal with them.

      As far as Fasth-talk goes, I seem to remember hearing some sort of hockey cliche about building from the net out. Clearly not Tambien’s strategy…

  • TigerUnderGlass and Archaeologuy…

    With all due respect, I think you’re in the minority. From what I recall, Rolly couldn’t wait to get out of Edmonton and the fans couldn’t either.

    Don’t you remember how he pulled his kids out of school before the end of the hockey season so they could get away from hearing and reading all of the the criticism in Edmonton about his play in those final few months? Remember how much Rolly sulked when Garon basically took his job?

    If you’re saying that you didn’t believe that he was “done,” then take a bow. You were right and you were in the minority. You deserve a lot of credit for your clarvoyance.

    But I’ll say it again: The Oilers didn’t re-sign Rolly because it looked like, at the time, he was done. And I don’t remember there being much debate against it. I can’t remember anyone in the Edmonton media suggesting he be re-signed.

    In fact, didn’t he sign with the Islanders? If he wasn’t thought to be “done,” why wouldn’t a more legitimate NHL team signed him?

    Don’t get me wrong – we can all debate the merits of signing NK to replace Rolly, but I will yield to no one in my assertion that Rolly, looked, acted and sounded like he was playing out the string in those final few months of his season here.

    For those of you who thought otherwise at the time, I salute you. You truly had the benefit of hindsight.

    • hoil

      I can see how you missed the season where Rollie ran Garon’s show out of town.

      Repressed memory is a common symptom of those exposed to events to horrible to comprehend, like watching the Oilers play on a regular basis the last 5 years. That, or the blackouts resulting from the heavy drinking that watching those same games caused.

      Roli was solid for the Oilers in his last year here, his numbers reflect that fact. He was good enough that the Oilers offered Roli a one year deal at a reported 3M. He wanted 2 years and turned it down, signing with NYI for 5 over 2 years. The Oilers didn’t sign Roli because he took more money to play an extra season, not because the Oilers didn’t want him

      I didn’t really mind the stand the Oilers took about the one year deal, yet it looked like a ridiculous decision after they paid even more for a longer term on a just slightly younger guy.

      • That’s true. The seasons are starting to meld together. Thanks to you (and others) for setting me straight on when exactly it was that Garon’s play had Rolly sulking.

        But am I not correct about Rolly pulling his kids out of school early in anticipation of a move to a place Anywhere That’s Not Edmonton? Did that not happen? I seem to recall reading that somewhere in the print media at the time.

        Given my rather spotty memory of seasons-past, I don’t want to hang myself out on another limb, but I would suggest to you that a one-year offer from the Oilers represents the bare-minimum level of interest, for obvious reasons.

        You’re right about Rolly’s numbers that last season. They were solid. Better than anything that NK has put up.

        But that one-year offer to Rolly spoke volumes. It suggests that the Oilers weren’t overly impressed with the numbers or the attitude or the birth certificate or some combination thereof.

        I’m with you – I wasn’t offended by the Oilers’ offer of a one-year deal because it was prudent. I also thought that the NK deal was reasonable, too … at the time.

        NK was a couple of years younger, he’d won a Cup and, above all, was willing to come here. Really, the only bad things that were being said at the time was NK’s potential for injury. And that’s a gamble you take with signing guys in their 30s.

        Above all, I think we (and I include myself in that group) probably fuss over that NK deal a bit too much. The Oilers rolled the dice on him and they lost … at least so far. Maybe there’s a rebound season in NK somewhere. Maybe not.

    • Hindsight had nothing to do with it. The Season Roli left he had a .915 save percentage and played 3/4 of all the games for the Oil. He hadnt lost the job, he was playing well by the measurable standards. I probably was in the minority, and I do deserve to take a bow. I wont though, because I’m simply too humble to accept that kind of deserved and public recognition.

      I’ve said it before, I understand why the Oil went another direction, but not every one of us was ready to exile Roloson to a remote part of Siberia* because he was done as a player. I thought they were planning on going younger, or better. They went with neither. At least not young enough to matter anyway, but definitely not better.

      *That is what you do with the elderly, right?

      • Mantastic

        they do send them to siberia, to be youth-anized! doesn’t that sound great? get to be young again in a mysterious land of siberia, sounds all kinds of warm and fun!!!!

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        At the time, I was also against giving Roloson a multi year deal – i just didn’t think it was worth the risk given his age and the potential cap consequences of a multi-year 35+ contract.

        So, I was fine with teh decision to walk away from Roli, or at least to wait and see what the market looked like before committing to a multi year deal to a 35+ goalie.

        Then the Oilers signed a different 35+ goalie to a richer, longer contract, a move I agreed with even less than a multi year deal for Roli.

        So (and this IS hindsight, but hindsight on July 1, 2009, not today) I would have much rather seen the Oilers sign Roloson to a 2 year deal earlier that day than what turned out to be the alternative, the 4 year deal to Khabibulin.

        Regarding hindsight on the Khabibulin – there were an awful lot of people against it as soon as it was announced. Here are two LT links, one to the general 2009 UFA day thread where the signing broke: (comment re: Khabi signing start on the 2nd page)

        and two, the Khabi specific thread:

  • thetikk

    Re: “Don’t be gay, pick Couturier!”

    Seriously? As if hockey media hadn’t produced enough passive-aggressive anti-gay commentary this week…


    As an ardent hockey fan and a frequent visitor to your site, I would like to request stricter monitoring of this kind of homophobic rhetoric which seems to often to creep into the comments sections of your website. It’s neanderthal, infantile and hateful. It also reflects poorly on the the site’s posters, editors and sponsors.

    Please do your part to encourage more civil and safe discourse on this website. “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion” doesn’t cover this kind of hurtful text.


    • I see what you are saying here. We try and let the Nation moderate its own. The people who read this site do an excellent job of running off trolls and keeping the inappropriate talk to a minimum and keeping censorship and deleting comments as rare as possible.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      gay – dictionary results

      adjective, -er, -est, noun, adverb
      1. having or showing a merry, lively mood: gay spirits; gay music.
      2. bright or showy: gay colors; gay ornaments.
      3. given to or abounding in social or other pleasures: a gay social season.

      I think your reading into it wrong, I believe this poster is saying that picking Couturier would make the Oilers unhappy (or non-merry) by picking him in the draft. Lighten up.

      Besides, the site for the people you speak of is flamesnation.

      • thetikk

        Thanks “Truth”, your post exemplifies exactly the kind of smarmy, underhanded homophobia I was referring to.

        Clearly you regard the word “gay” and homosexuality in general as an insult (whether directed toward Flames fans or others).

        Perhaps you should reconfigure your values and consider a more careful respect for your fellow human beings.

        • thetikk

          Thank you for pointing me in the absolute correct moral direction. I have since altered my path in life and have joined the Catholic Church.

          I believe that Fasth would be a great signing, especially if it was a two-way deal and they could get someone to bite on Khabby through waivers. Doubtful I know.

  • I didn’t see many people thinking Roli was washed up, much like, I didn’t see many people think signing Habby was a good signing. Its just that Roli was 40, and this team was going nowhere, which makes the Khabibulin signing even more puzzling. I guess the Oilers tried it just to see if they could do it.

    Truth is they were better off without both Khabibulin and Roloson. They would have been better off with cheaper stop gaps.

  • Ender

    Here’s a pot stirer for ya:

    what’s your guys’ take on having Souray come to camp next year? If two grown men could put away their pride we could use Sheldon on the point next year.

    I like him better than grebby (who i still blame for us losing the cup in 06)

    • hoil

      Souray threw the team management under the bus, and whether he was right or wrong, I would bet in the tens of dollars that he won’t be playing in an Oiler uniform again.

      And if you mean Grebeshkov by Grebby, I think you have him confused with MA Bergeron, unless I am missing out on a joke somewhere.

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      I think the point has been made very clear to Sheldon and I for one would be impressed if management and Sheldon could work it out! It would also impress free-agents I suspect. Besides Who knows he could have a great year.

    • VMR

      if tamby isn’t gonna do anything else except pat himself on the back for the 1st overall pick (again), then sure why not.

      bring him back and see if we can obtain any assets in a trade later on.

  • Ender

    I only watched him play once, but was simply amazed at his abilities. I kept saying, WOW… he’s a kid haha (but he’s almost 30).

    I don’t know if Katz wants out AHL team salary to be higher than the Phoenix Coyotes’… but sending down our drunkin’ lambo driver of a goalie might make it pretty close.

  • Ender

    Two things LT:

    Khabibulin (or any Oiler shunted to the minors) will never be in that seat as long as Wade Redden continues to live and play hockey.

    Do you think there’s a chance we go back to Conklin as our 3rd stringer? I can’t see him doing any worse than what we’ve got now and buddy’s looking for work this summer. Could easily replace the Gerber role for the organization.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Every year must have its Fabian Brunnstrom or Jonus Gustafsson i guess, the 2011 Super Euro Hero is Viktor Fasth then is it, any chance of an upgrade…..Braydon Holtby?

  • master of my domain

    I often wonder if there would be any takers (suckers) for NK on re-entry waivers. c’mon philli, you know you want an experienced, stanley cup winning goalie.

  • Be it Fasth or Gerber or someone else, one thing is for certain, someone needs to be brought in to light a fire under Khabibulin’s backside.

    Personally, I think Khabibulin is done. He looked slow and old far too often last year. A lot of worn tread on those tires. That’s a hard thing to recover from. He’s fighting an uphill battle just to be passable.

  • Be it Fasth or Gerber or someone else, one thing is for certain, someone needs to be brought in to light a fire under Khabibulin’s backside.

    Personally, I think Khabibulin is done. He looked slow and old far too often last year. A lot of worn tread on those tires. That’s a hard thing to recover from. He’s fighting an uphill battle just to be passable.

  • Hey, I’ll thrown another name out there in guys who could man the nets for Edmonton next year?

    Nikolai Khabibulin.

    Why not give the dude another chance? It’s not like he’s going anywhere and, hopefully, by training camp, the distraction of the DUI charge and the night sleeping on a cot in the outdoor prison in Arizona will be behind him.

    There’s no reason why NK can’t have the kind of rebound season that Rolly’s having. And no, that doesn’t mean NK has to lead the Oilers to the semis next year to have a “rebound” season.

    We all pretty much figured Rolly was over-and-done when he left here but lo and behold he wasn’t.

    Why can’t it be the same with NK?

    Just a thought.

  • striker777

    Morning LT, nice article. The goalies ARE important but timing is everything:

    When the Oilers captured lightning in a bottle, they had tried to secure a legitimate goaltender all season long and instead endured the 3 headed monster of Markkannen, Conky, and …the other guy (funny, I can’t remember his name but I remember I liked him- hated Conky and can remember him easily). Point being they had to trade a first rounder for a back up goalie.

    Fast forward to the Bryzgalov give away to Phoenix- I think he went for less than Rolie.

    As to this new guy. He might pan out- it’s the same with all prospects. Anyone remember the goalie the leafs signed 2 years ago from Sweden? Where is he now??

    Killer day out there, should be golfing…only 19 more years to go.

    • Ender

      The third head of the monster that year was Morrison. I liked him too; pity he never followed up his initial performance. The job was there for any of the three if they could have proved they deserved it.

  • striker777

    i’m all for running at Fasth but for cripes sake can we not become the next philly flyers with our goalies.

    let’s find something that works and work it.

      • why not bring him to OKC? never heard of him but sure…JDD is done in oil silks, gerber must want a shot somewhere else and roy needs a partner.

        if screwing with goalies (apparently it is)is a must lets screw with them in OKC.

        • Quicksilver ballet

          From “draftwatch”:

          Magnus Hellberg, G Almtuna (SWE-2)- Huge late-bloomer will likely be the top-three or four goalies off the board in June because he’s older and more advanced in his development. Teams may be hoping to grab the Swede and put him immediately into the AHL with potential for him to see NHL action sooner rather than later. Takes up so much of the net, but is also extremely agile and recovers well. Plays with some laudable focus and concentration and that is borne out in his numbers, which are terrific. The April 1991 birthdate is 6-5, 200 pounds and posted an insane .935 save percentage and 2.04 GAA in 31 games for the Allsvenskan club Almtuna. Don’t be surprised to see him go off the board first or even second after Gibson. This is the kind of player that could easily be rated the top goaltender on multiple teams’ boards. Central didn’t even have him on their mid-term rankings. That’s how quickly Hellberg’s star has risen this season.

          • VMR

            Warning bells are sounding. “Star has risen quickly”, for a goaltender sounds like on an extended hot streak that he may never live up to. Kind of like the amazing Jim Carey “the Net Detective” for one season in Washington or Andrew Raycroft at one point for the Bruins or any of several other guys who may have been the best goalie in the world for a short spell and then quickly disappeared off the face of the planet.

            I’d rather try and sign a free agent in Fasth than waste a high draft pick on a guy who’s likely to burn out pretty quick.

            PS. Never thought Rollie was washed up, wasnt sure about signing him long term with his age but replacing him with a guy almost as old, who had suffered several injuries including his back problems which tend to be long term, and hadnt played very well in several years was just insane. Never understood it.

          • thetikk

            Fair enough. However, Hellberg is characterized as the “late bloomer” who has been under the radar for quite some time. Perhaps, he has just made his next big step in development and is finally noticed for his combination of size, poise and skill. Where is he going from here? I don’t know. All in all, drafting him will be somewhat of a gamble, but with a huge potential upside. Hey, aren’t they all “a gamble”? 🙂

        • Of course, he can get some experience with the Barons first. But eventually Dubnyk-Hellberg (or Hellberg-Dubnyk) combination will help the Oilers to win more games than to lose. On the other hand, they won’t be able to do that without solid “D” in front of them:)

          • Quicksilver ballet

            i just had a quick read of hellberg to find out he is 6’5″ and only 20yrs old. is he draft elegible yet?

            sounds intriquing.

            i agree with buttermillk biscuits tho…im a fan of dubnyk and would like to see him be, at least, given the chance to prove me wrong.

          • Crash

            I’ve posted some data on him above. Hellberg might go right after Gibson. Use one of two third-round picks we have unless he is claimed by then (I though about getting him with the Calgary pick, but now doubt that he will last that long).

    • fuck off

      The Oilers will never be the Flyers. Phily pulls a keeper after a few soft games, or even a couple soft goals. Edmonton lets the guy stink it up until he’s proven that he can’t do the job; which is where we are at with Super Bowl Sunday.

      @ Lowetide
      Hey LT, any possible updates on the few, or lone Oilers prospect(s) still playing in CHL playoffs right now? I noticed Czerwonka’s name on the score sheet last night via TSN. Have you followed his playoff performance?

      • fuck off

        let me clarify by saying i am not comparing the oilers goaltending to this year’s philly debacle. no one in the history of goaltending management can beat that level of stupid.

        the oil tho need to shut the carnival down soon and stop juggling goalies. we need some consistency somewhere and at sometime…hope fully that time is soon. sticking with the carnival theme we need to press the e-stop on the goalie carousel.