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.