Should the Oilers be looking at taking a goalie early in the second round?

It’s a decent year for goalies, with a trio – Andrei Vasilevski, Malcolm Subban and Oscar Dansk – all arguably under consideration for first-round status. The trio were all ranked in the top-35 of Bob McKenzie’s latest list and any of the three might be available when the Oilers pick early in the second round.

Should the Oilers use an early pick on one of them?

There’s a case to be made for all three.

Vasilevski starred for the Russian entry at this year’s World Juniors, and will probably the first goalie drafted in 2012 – the concern with him is that he’s a Russian who is actually still playing in Russia. I was blown away by him at the World Juniors; he’s big, and plays a patient, intelligent game. His numbers across the board are brilliant (including a 0.931 SV% in the MHL – Russia’s second league – a 0.922 SV% at the U-18’s and a 0.953 SV% at the World Juniors) and if he were playing in North America I wonder if he might be in the conversation for a top-10 pick.

Subban is the younger brother of Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, and despite lacking ideal size (various sources place him between 6’ and 6’1”) there’s a lot to like. Prior to going down with a groin injury midway through December he posted superb numbers in the OHL, including a 0.937 SV%. He wasn’t as sharp when he came back from injury a month and a half later, posting a 0.908 SV% the rest of the way. Red Line Report is harshly critical of his glove hand but does like his athleticism.

Dansk showed very well in tournament play but was only middling in Swedish junior (0.910 SV%) and he struggled in a brief post-season showing. Red Line raves about his down low coverage but criticizes both his tendency to play deep in the net rather than challenge aggressively as well as the fact that he “goes down in butterfly on every shot.”

If one of Vasilevksi or Subban were still around when the Oilers picked, I would find it difficult to criticize the selection – especially if the pick was Vasilevski. Both players managed outrageous totals over the course of the season and while I like Vasilevski better (bias of having seen him play live and in person, his size) I like the potential of both at the NHL level. I’m less bullish on Dansk.

With that said, the Oilers could land a pretty good goaltending prospect much later in the draft, the way they did with both Olivier Roy (133rd overall, 2009) and Tyler Bunz (121st overall, 2010) – goaltenders both tracking very well today. There are a ridiculous number of draft-eligible goalies available later on that could have careers in the NHL; I’d just as soon see the Oilers spend the prime picks on forwards and defense and pick up one of the following later on:

  • Patrik Bartosak – 6’1”, 181lbs, 0.915 SV% (WHL) – In his first year in North America, over-age Czech was Red Deer’s best goalie.
  • Corbin Boes – 6’3”, 216lbs, 0.916 SV% (WHL) – Over-age player won more than twice as many games as he lost; team had a losing record without him
  • Francois Brassard – 6’1”, 154lbs, 0.905 SV% (QMJHL) – Played well as the backup for Patrick Roy’s Quebec Remparts.
  • Jon Gillies – 6’5”, 203lbs, 0.915 SV% (USHL) – Huge goalie is college-bound, giving him a few years to work out the kinks.
  • Michael Houser – 6’2”, 192lbs, 0.925 SV% (OHL) – Over-ager was the OHL’s most outstanding player and the CHL goalie of the year.
  • Joonas Korpisalo – 6’2”, 163lbs, 0.920 SV% (Fin. U20) – Very similar numbers to Samu Perhonen last year; more likely to be a late-round flyer.
  • Marek Langhamer – 6’2”, 177lbs, 0.909 SV% (Cze. U20) – His numbers actually dipped a bit from last year’s very good Czech junior showing.
  • Andrei Makarov – 6’1”, 178 lbs, 0.913 SV% (WHL) – Overage goalie was very impressive at the World Juniors; RLR likes him as a second-round pick but he’s likely to go much lower.
  • Anthony Stolarz – 6’5”, 200lbs, 0.920 SV% (NAHL) – Big goalie crushed second-tier opponents.
  • Brandon Whitney – 6’5”, 191lbs, 0.896 SV% (QMJHL) – Went 22-4-4 on a high-octane Victoriaville team; co-goalie was a 3rd-round pick last year and posted 0.885 SV%.
  • Roman Will – 6’1”, 188lbs, 0.913 SV% (QMJHL) – Over-ager crushed Czech junior league for years without getting drafted, was a first-team QMJHL all-star this year. Has the coolest name in the history of the universe.

Goaltending projection is witchcraft, and the Oilers recent habit of adding a goalie late every year via the draft is, in my opinion, exactly the right way to go about addressing the position. Unless Vasilevski somehow falls to the second round.

This week by Jonathan Willis

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Mr Willis,
    I don’t see the need gor a goalie with this pick. Actually I think it may be best to move the pick for the top 4 Dguy we all want. I like the stuff you’ve published on the ej on possible D to pickup. San Jose is in bad cap shape. What do you all think about a package of the second and some cheap depth for Vlasic. He’d need to be signed but he’s pretty dependable.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    If Samuelsson is off the board, I would have no trouble with the Russian or Dansk in the second round.

    Good goaltending can cover a myriad of sins elsewhere in the line up, and expose them greatly when its not there.