Missing out on goaltenders

One by one, the top free agent goaltenders in Europe and out of college hockey have made decisions about their NHL future. So far, none of them has opted for the Edmonton Oilers, a team desperately in need of rebuilding their depth chart in net, and one that was optimistic earlier in the summer about attracting somebody like Antti Raanta (pictured above; ended up in Chicago).

Where does Edmonton go now?

Number Two

With Nikolai Khabibulin on the way out of town – and given his injury history that is without question the right decision – the Oilers options are limited to trade or NHL free agency.

In trade, we’ve previously looked at the Anaheim Ducks as a possible target, and they very much remain one. Frederik Andersen is a player who has youth, size and a sterling track record on his side – last season he was a 0.929 save percentage goalie in the AHL; the year prior he managed a 0.943 save percentage in Sweden. Blocked on the depth chart by Viktor Fasth and Jonas Hiller, and with highly-touted John Gibson the team’s probable goalie of the future, Andersen is a player who could be a very good fit as Edmonton’s backup.

In free agency, there are a number of solid veteran options (we’ve considered those previously, too). Ray Emery, Jose Theodore and Jason Labarbera are the three that strike me as the best potential fits/most likely to be available for the Oilers, but there are others. There are also less experienced options. Commonly mentioned are Boston’s Anton Khudobin, who could be a good fit because he’s been good both in limited NHL minutes and in longer stints in Europe and the minors. Also commonly mentioned is Thomas Greiss, who has been good in limited NHL minutes, but has been much less impressive in the minors and Europe.

Number Three

Yann Danis didn’t have a very good year, but realistically he’s the class of player the Oilers are likely looking at for the number three role, unless they manage to steal a not quite NHL ready prospect from another organization.

Personally, given the choice between another journeyman AHL netminder and Danis, I’d likely stick with the incumbent. His longer track record is excellent (he was the AHL’s goalie of the year last season) and he rebounded in the playoffs after a poor regular season. Unless there’s something that hasn’t been publicized that gives the team reason for concern, simply switching to a different AHL veteran seems unlikely to gain the Oilers much.

The exception would be if the Oilers see an AHL veteran that they feel has NHL potential, something that seems unlikely – looking at the AHL goaltending list, there aren’t a lot of non-prospect types that jump out as future NHL’ers. There’s also the possibility of adding a lower-tier European – such as Bernhard Starkbaum – though it’s debatable how much of an upgrade that is.

Recently around the Nation Network

At Canucks Army, Jeff Angus looks at Diamond in the Rough Free Agents (Forwards). While it’s written from a Vancouver perspective, every team in the league would like to find an unheralded free agent who knocks it out of the park for them. Is there a player on this list that qualifies?:

Click the link to read more, or alternately, feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Goalies cannot score
    they Cannot prevent shot
    all they can do is stop shots.

    the league average for Sv% is .914 to .916.

    Carey price last 5 Qualified starter years.
    08-09 .905
    09-10 .912
    10-11 .923
    11-12 .916
    12-13 .905
    A .914 Save % goalie facing 29.7 SH/gm
    a .910sv% goalie 4 of 5 years.

    Dubnyk 3 qualified starter years
    10-11 .916
    11-12 .914
    12-13 .920
    .917 Sv% facing 31.8SH/gm

    M. Smith has 4 qualified years
    08-09 .916 TBL
    09-10 .900 TBL
    11-12 .930 PHX
    12-13 .910 PHX

    .917 SV% facing 30.8 SH/GM
    Average or below 3 of 4 years

    All I need to Know is Dubnyk beat him out Head to head on team canada.

  • 2004Z06

    Dubnyk is not the problem, an AHL level D core and a group of forwards that don’t backcheck is the problem. Dubnyk will be just fine once the team in front of him improves.

  • Aitch

    I’m not too worried about the goalies they’ve missed out on. Every goalie that comes over from Europe is taking the job of another North American goalie in another system. That only frees up other options. And, as we’ve seen time-and-time again with goalies, they can blossom overnight and seemingly from anywhere. Dubnyk might win the Vezina next year with a new coaching system, a year’s maturity from those in front of him and a little extra puck-luck. Other than wins his numbers are very close to Corey Crawford’s this past season, for example.

  • DSF

    Eric Francis ‏@EricFrancis 13m

    BREAKING: Water is up to row 10 at Saddledome. Dressing rooms completely submerged. Jumbotron rm & all equipment destroyed. #yycflood #NHL

    • Quicksilver ballet

      You’d think Eric would’ve atleast included some underwater photographs as well on that tweet.

      Half assed effort all around for Eric. Where’s the passion.

    • GVBlackhawk

      That’s a great metaphor for the Flames upcoming season.

      Now that Tippett has signed an extension in the desert, who is going to coach your team in Vancouver?

      • DSF

        If the Flames can’t play in the Saddledome, maybe the league should merge the Flames and Oilers.

        Might be enough players for a real NHL team.

        The coaching situation in Vancouver is interesting.

        Tippett’s new deal is contingent upon the sale of the team to the new owners who want to keep the team in Phoenix but that deal has hit some snags.

        It appears that, other than Tippett, the Canucks are still looking at Tortorella, John Stevens and Scott Arniel.

        Tortorella would be the most entertaining.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      That Jack Campbell kid as well. He was the cats meow of the world juniors 3 yrs ago. Think he was with the Stars. Gibson from the Ducks would surely net a handsome reward, if Murray came across a motivated buyer.

  • Czar

    Dubnyk was a top 10 save% goalie and the second best high shot count save% goalie in the league.

    He is a 7W-0L 1.29GA .940SV% goalie with team canada in Spengler and WC this year.

    In the 3 years as a starter
    Dubnyk has faced 32SH/gm.
    Has been league average or better all three years.

    109/224 points .486 win%
    on a .426 team
    the other goalies have 72/200 points for a .360 win%

    What Goalie in there right mind would want to play in an organization that has a GM that thinks a top 10 goalie with terrible D is not a starter.

    If I am dubnyk, I do my final year in Edmonton then take my ass to NJD who only give up 22 shots/gm. 10 less per game.

    He can be a 40+ win and 1.76GA goalie for 5-6 milion a year.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I think because hes so robotic people don’t realize how good hes actually become and hard saves are look to easy. He still has a tendancy to let in a squeaker from 30 feet, but that usually after hes stop 15 shots in the period and 3 breakaways. People who say goaltending is a prob don’t look at the numbers, and dwell on the odd stinker..920 SP with the worst defence next to Carolina last season is damn fine. Put him in Detroit or Boston or Chicago that would be .935.

  • I, like some other Dubnyk supporters I’m sure, don’t much understand MacT’s apprehension on trusting Dubnyk long-term. He seems to be trending up each season. This year, he posted a slightly above league average Save Percentage while facing a ridiculous amount of shots and while playing behind a horrific defense. Only two goalies faced more shots and came out with a higher Save Percentage (Ryan Miller and Antti Niemi). In my opinion, he’s not going to win the Vezina, but he’s as good of a goalie as you need to be a contender.

  • John Chambers

    LaBarbera has some great numbers. He’s probably the best “backup” goalie available. He would be my pick if I were the Silver Fox.

    Emery and Khudobin could actually push Dubnyk, but I doubt either of them could outplay #40.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    As the coming season unfolds, Edmonton will become the shining beacon of possible destinations for next yrs crop of European goaltenders. Maybe it’s a good thing we missed out on this summers group.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Umm…sorry why are we narrowing our lens to a #2 and 3 goalie only? What has Dooby done to make us fully confident in him? Is the price of goalies during the year not astronomically higher and selection leaner? If I’m MacT I’m looking at Mike Smith for sure, he’s a battler and a proven goalie. under Eakins the Oil will play a tighter game and Smith would thrive. I’d also be looking at the Luongo option….I know it sounds nuts but he alone could propel the Oil into the playoffs.

    • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

      Mike Smith couldn’t stop a beach ball when he played for Tampa Bay….then looked like an MVP when he got moved to Pheonix…….the Oilers look ALOT more like TB then they do Pheonix…..

    • LinkfromHyrule

      we aren’t getting either of those options without an excessive overpayment. I would rather see a proven backup come in, or at best a goalie who could push dubnyk. Dubnyk is an NHL caliber goalie but he’s only 27… most goalies don’t hit their prime until 30+

    • What has Dooby done to make us fully confident in him? Put up decent, improving numbers season over season with one of the worst team defences in front of him.

      What has Mike Smith done to make you fully confident that he’s an upgrade on Dooby? One good season? Other than that a lack lustre career. We’d have to pay over market value to get him too. Tell me how that makes any sense, let alone being “common sense”.

      • Yawn….being “stuck out there” has made you forget that Smith has playoff experience, has worked with Sean Burke the last 3 yrs (google his comments on his positional play) and would likely sign between 4-5M.

        What has Dooby done? Oh ya..you were telling me what he has done. So we agree

        • Michael Leighton has playoff experience. Should we trade for him too?

          The oilers’ issue was not in net this season plain and simple. I agree with getting someone in to push and compete with Dubnyk, but Smith and Lehtonen would cost too much, would barely be an upgrade and would tie way too much money up in our goaltending position. See how that’s working for Vancouver right now.

          • Leighton? I don’t know, let me check his numbers and scouting report, must be readily available like Smith’s is.

            Ic. You would plan on keeping Dooby if we got Smith or Lehtonen and hence the trepidation with the money. See I’d lose Dooby in 3min if I landed a solid goalie and then proceed with the current planning of searching for a 2 and 3

      • John Chambers

        Sure. Makes sense I guess.

        What about Lehtonen? I hear Ruff could lure Miller to Dallas, as Miller wants to head West anyway to be closer to his LA wife. That would make Lehtonen at 5.9M for the next 5 yrs an option. Solid goalie.

          • LinkfromHyrule

            100% improvement. Excellent formation goalie, covers angles exceptionally well and has always posted strong numbers behind an awkward Dallas D. Meteoric ally better, at this time, than Dooby. Alas, 5.9M is a pretty penny no doubt. Another of Tammy’s mistakes we have to live with I guess, for damn sure MacT would not have offered Dooby 3.5M. And before you lose it…..google what Cory Schneider makes.

          • 3.5 is a pretty decent contract for your starting goalie. It’s by no means a value contract but it isn’t terrible either.

            What would you be willing to sign Smith for to get him in Edm? You can bet he’ll be looking for a raise and someone’ll be dumb enough to give him one.

          • DSF

            Absolutely 3.5-4M is unbelievable money for a starting goalie. Gillis was shrewd to get Schneider tied up like that.

            I’d offer Smith 20M/4yrs. Then dump Dooby to the Isles or NJ for a dman like Hamonic. So I’ve immediately upgraded my D and goaltending in 3minutes.

          • Sheesh! So I guess it will be more of the same in net! No options other than washed up back-ups……hmm….I have a feeling MacT agrees with us fans who don’t trust Dooby. That begets creative solutions. I look forward to it