THE G SPOT

Ilya Bryzgalov (photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved) played very well last night for the Barons and is likely on his way to the Edmonton Oilers today or tomorrow. The circus his presence may create is only one of the storylines we can look forward to in the coming days. The big item is this: who will emerge as the starter?

On Friday night, Bryzgalov struggled and didn’t have a lot of support (5 goals against on 24 shots, .792) but he was very strong last night in a win for the Barons (1 goal on 26 shots, .962).

  • Bryzgalov: “This was a great opportunity. We worked hard all week to catch the train to see where we are and where my game is. Last night was kind of clumsy, as expected. Tonight was much better. But there are still some things I need to work at.”

The entire story is here. Bryzgalov’s arrival will mean the Oilers have to make a roster move, the most likely being an option for Jason LaBarbera to the AHL. The Islanders may be looking for a goaltender so there’s a chance the veteran gets plucked off waivers—or Craig MacTavish may trade him if he can find some value.

In the meantime, Devan Dubnyk has played well in his last several starts, and he was outstanding in a huge win against Calgary last night (that game may end up being the night things turned north when the story of the 2013-14 season is written). Either way, Dubnyk looks well-positioned for the coming battle against Bryzgalov for the starting role in Edmonton—the winner is likely to be awarded with a contract for next season and the loster is probably going to be sent away at or near the deadline.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The Oilers began this season with some of the poorest goaltending we’ve seen in these parts in some time, but Devan Dubnyk has re-set and is looking good. The added piece that is Bryzgalov may appear to be superfluous, but in reality it gives the club some nice options.

If both goaltenders play well, Edmonton can choose to sign one or both, or trade one or both at the deadline for exceptional value. My guess is that if Dubnyk plays well he’ll return next season, with a stronger backup than LaBarbera.

  • paul wodehouse

    Dubnyk has played better of late but his brutal play to start the season still can’t be ignored. With us having no NHL options under contract for next season, there is definitely a job to be had if either of Dubs or Bryz plays well the rest of the way but this town ain’t big enough for the both of them if you ask me.

  • camdog

    Dubnyk seems to me to be a good person and teamate so i’ve always cheered for the guy and hoped he would progress. That being said I do not feel he is the goalie of the future moving forward. Don;t get me wrong I feel Dubnyk is a decent starting NHL goalie. He belongs in the NHL. But unless he is on a Juggernaut of a team then he will never be a “Stanley Cup” winning Goalie. Just doesn’t have it.

    The Oilers need to start looking for the kind of Goalie that is considered to be one of the 3 stars “EVERY” night. A goalie that can actually steal a win every once in awhile. A Goalie that once or twice a game bails out a young mistake prone team so that they can gain confidence in what system they are running.

    Is Dubie this guy? no. Is Bryzgalov that guy.. probably no. I don now understand why MacT went so hard after Schneider in the off season though.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I feel the Oilers are only a couple of pieces away from challenging every night now that Dubey got his sh!t together. I would be looking around the league for a big right handed center who wins puck battles. Doesnt have to be a huge trade but just a guy who can dig for pucks and create a cycle down low. And the other pieces are a couple more big physical defencemen, Nick Schultz has been trying to remedy this in the past few games but we need a more defensive minded vuy possibly a veteran to help these guys learn where to be on thd down low play.

    • Oilerz4life

      The problem is that what the Oilers need, Oilers crap management is not willing to give it up for. Mac T is trying to offer up 2nd round picks, or to offload some other dead weight. The sad truth is, that if we want legitimate shut down d, or any other significant upgrade, the Oilers are going to have to ante up, like Yakupov, or Eberle, unfortunately.

      • Devolution

        You have no clue what MacT is offering up in the way of a trade. Unless you have some special insider knowledge that the rest of us don’t have.

        Do you? If so, please share.

        • Oilerz4life

          But there are a few rumors floating around, that the Oilers are in talks with the Flyers etc. That Philly is sniffing around Eberle. That Mac T views the 1st round pick as a trade asset, nothing more, just trade rumors. But theres a general viewpoint out there that unless the Oilers offer up something of real value, they wont see the value we need in return, but that goes without saying, duh?! Its all just speculation, but hey, everyone thought early rumors of Bryz coming to Edmonton were absolutely crazy. But Im interested to know if you have anything real to talk about other than to just police blogs and tell people they have no idea what there talking about? Is that really all you have to say?

        • Oilerz4life

          Relax, there’s all kinds of speculation out there, but unless the Oilers are willing to offer up something legitimate, we will just keep filling the roster with weak 3rd and 4th liners or chump defence. In the meantime, do you have an opinion, or do you just try to be a condescending as possible?

  • Spydyr

    Devan Dubnyk is the same goalie he has always been. Not a winner. Every year is the same. When the games matter early he is terrible. He pads his stats in games that don’t matter when we are already mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Don’t fall for his tired old act. If the Oilers are going to be a contender, they need a guy who can steal games and give them confidence. Dubnyk is not the answer.

  • Spydyr

    I for one am against trading our first round draft pick 2014 for immediate help……..until we can properly assess our current defence situation. I would like to see what we look like when everyone is back playing.

    I know JS will bring that puck-moving element once he is back. That would effectively give us two puck moving options in the top two pairing. I like the fact that Larsen very efficiently moves the puck forward with strong crisp passes. If Petry can step his game up, we may not need to overpay for another defenceman. We all know we are not making the playoffs, so why trade our picks for a defenceman now?

    Does anyone actually think we can bring in Webber without massively overpaying? We have a lot of youth ( like Kefblom, Nurse, Marincin, Davidson) that can help us in the not to distant future so let’s just concentrate on developing these players.

  • Spydyr

    IMO unless Dammit Dubnyk plays like a legit number one goalie the rest of the way he is gone. If the suck keeps up he may even be gone at the trade deadline.

    MacT has to have seen the display of goaltending so far this year. It has been a major shortcoming and desperately needs an upgrade.

  • Rob...

    I still support Jason LaBarbera. Why is everybody against him? Firstly, Ilya Bryzgalov has not yet proved that he is ready and capable of challenging Dubnyk. Secondly, LaBarbera should have been offered a chance to play in at least in one of the last games.

    • camdog

      Given his entire body of work I have never been a fan of his game. It really isn’t what he has done this season, rather his entire career, he’s a good character back up goalie, to an All Star type of goalie.

      Not a fan of Bryzgalof either.

      And I disagree with giving Labarbara at least one games. DD needed to get his game back, a game that LaBarbera just doesn’t have.

  • CMG30

    I’ve always been pulling for Dubnyk, he has the tools to be a fine goalie but I think he needs someone to push him. That to me is the real value of the Bryzgalov signing.

    • Rob...

      I hope Bryz plays lights-out, because if $3,750,000 can’t push Dubynk to play well I’d rather we went with another option. At this point if he’s our number one you might need to combine both goalie salaries to show what we are really paying to get decent performance out of Dubnyk, and he’s not worth $5,750,000.

  • camdog

    DD is healthy (ankle) and has regained his confidence from the equipment change. I like DD and hope he plays lights out for the remainder of the season.

    The problem I have with this move is that this is the wrong time to bring a guy like this in. If Mact was comfortable with him he should have brought him in at the beginning of the season. We all new (every Oil fan knew this) that DD needed to be pushed and that Labarbera was not the option. The “well he had a high save percentage in Phoenix” arguement was hogwash from the beginning.

    Thus far this season can be explained to me as the season of wasted roster spots. Right now we have Lababera (hence Arcboella up and down), Grebeshkov (a bench player in the KHL) Big Mac (does anybody expect he will play more than 30 miutes in an Oiler jersey), Eager (could we have not bought him out?)

  • Concur

    LT,
    My question is about the defensive system that hasn’t really worked for the Oilers and even though Dubnyk started off lousy the defensive system hasn’t helped him out. At the beginning of the year Eakins stated that he wanted the Barons to run the same system, are they implementing the system better? And if so, why can’t the Oilers?

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I still say, at the beginning of the year when DD stuggled, if the defence did a better job in front, they lose half the games they did. DD is finally, slowly, becoming the goalie I thought he could be. Maybe not a vezina winner(I hope he can be) but a solid #1.

    I hope he keeps it up with the Oil, if he does get traded or not resigned I see him being Mike Smith 2.0…book it.

    Tomorrow wont seem so bad at work, can finally rib a couple co workers. Thank-you Oilers!

  • 106 and 106

    Think your overestimating Mac-T’s quote in the summer about…

    ‘if you have to ask the question [whether Devan is your starting goalie], then you know the answer.’

    It sounds like this season has found his answer and that he will wheel and deal ala last summer (Schneider attempt) to get a current, legitimate #1.

    Dubie’s days are numbered, I think….

  • Spydyr

    I have never been a Dubynk fan but how he has dealt with the adversity this year he may win me over, the last 3 games he has made the saves to keep his team in even though they only won one of them. I liked the Bryzgalov signing and only hope the Oiler media are not constantly leading and tormenting him like the Flyer media did. It is a fact that ever since Ilya was signed Dubynk has took his game to a new level.They sure need to add a couple gritty shut down type d-men that can also pass and our goaltending will be a lot better.

    • Rob...

      I’ve hated Dubnik’s play for the first quarter of the season. I hate that his improved play coincides perfectly with the signing of a legit 2nd option. But I will ALWAYS be happy when an Oiler I’m hating on pulls his head out of his ass and plays well for the team I love. Those that trashed your post can suck it, and move to Calgary.