Edmonton Oilers waive Jason LaBarbera


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.

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.

  • Greenlingj

    Bring on Bryzgalov, hope you can push Dubnyk and find yourself in the NHL again and hopefully move you at the deadline for an asset 🙂 lets turn this ship around and get back on course.

    • if Bryzgalov returns to form, why not try and re-sign him? He is already getting paid a whack of cash to not play for Philly so maybe he comes cheaper than some overpay in the offseason. I’d rather have Dubnyk and Bryzgalov as a tandem with great defense (assuming that could be done in the offseason) than some $6-8 million goalie that may or may not be great behind the current defense

      • Johnnydapunk

        I kind of agree to what you are saying, though I don’t think the Bryz will come that cheap if he does find his form, though I do not know what is his mindset coming here. I can only speculate that based on all the interviews I have read and the stuff that happened in Philly, that this isn’t the ideal place he wanted to be, but as he doesn’t seem to want to play in the KHL and a lot of teams are leery of him because of the Philly fiasco, yet if he isn’t torn apart by the media like he was in Philly and he even enjoys the atmosphere that he has experienced before, he could be persuaded to stay.

        I remember when the Oil played Anaheim in the 2006 conference finals and there is a YouTube video of game 3, it was in Edmonton and it is of Paul Lorieau and the fans singing Oh Canada and there is one now familiar smiling face you will see at about the 1:10 mark (after you see Joey belting out the anthem as usual 🙂 )

        Oil v Ducks Game 3 at Rexall

        I bet the Bryz remembers that, and it looked like he was pretty psyched and impressed with the insanity that was inside Rexall (still gives me goosebumps watching that vid)

        Saying all that, he could sign with the Oil at a reasonable price, he may not, just too early to tell. The one other small advantage the Oilers do have is that his agent is Rich Winter who has been dealing with the Oil forever, so I guess it could work for or against them 🙂

        Sorry about the insanely long novel, I get off on a tangent and go on forever quite often. I like trying to explain my point fully, albeit in a long ass winded way.

      • camdog

        If Bryzgalov plays well, he’s going to want to get paid well. There will be no discounts for Bryzgalov.

        Suffice to say if the Oilers don’t trade for a goalie, that means they need to sign 2 UFA goalies next season. Can’t see DD sticking around if Mact goes after a whale.

        It would be intersting to see how DD plays on a veteran team. One only has to look at Emery’s results from last season to see that many goalies have superior numbers playing with Norris trophy d-man and horrible numbers when the D are really bad.

      • srbuhr

        I don’t think the Oilers will re-sign him either way. If he plays well, I would think Bryz would want to sign with a better team next summer. If he does poorly, then the Oilers obviously won’t want to re-sign him.