The Edmonton Oilers announced on Monday morning that Jason LaBarbera had been waived. It’s a move that comes as no surprise, given the arrival of Ilya Bryzgalov in Edmonton.
#Oilers place goaltender Jason LaBarbera on waivers.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 18, 2013
The Goalie Depth Chart
The Oilers suddenly have a pretty crowded goaltending depth chart, and the arrival of Ilya Bryzgalov as well as LaBarbera’s freefall make it difficult to know with any certainty exactly how everything will shake out. My best guess today looks something like this:
- Devan Dubnyk
- Ilya Bryzgalov
- Richard Bachman (injured)
- Jason LaBarbera
- Laurent Brossoit
- Tyler Bunz
Assuming that Bryzgalov can play anywhere near his previous level of performance, Dubnyk is in for a pitched battle for starting minutes in Edmonton. Further assuming good health and no moves, the farm is a mess – two veteran goalies will be pushing for playing time and likely holding down highly-valued prospect Laurent Brossoit.
What Now, LaBarbera?
There is the faint possibility that LaBarbera is claimed on waivers, which is doubtless what the Oilers would prefer. The case there is that a) his contract is at a low dollar figure for a single year and b) he’s had a pretty decent NHL career. A team with injuries or goalie troubles might be willing to take him as a low-cost fill-in.
It seems unlikely, though, which means that LaBarbera will almost certainly be buried in the minors. He’s been a good goalie for a long-time and it’s reasonable to expect he can provide Oklahoma City with good goaltending; that isn’t a bad thing for a development team. Until Bachman’s healthy, the most logical course of action would likely be to demote Laurent Brossoit to the ECHL where he can get playing time and keep Tyler Bunz (who has been surprisngly good early) around as backup.
Buried in the AHL, LaBarbera will continue to count for $75,000 against the Oilers’ NHL salary cap until he’s let go this summer. Of course, with both Dubnyk and Bryzgalov pending free agents and the Oilers on the road to nowhere, it’s also possible that (with strong play) he’s the post-trade deadline starter in Edmonton.