ABOUT LAST NIGHT

brossoit ferguson 14-15

The Edmonton Oilers need some good goaltending and their best prospect (Laurent Brossoit) remains in the minors. Why? Because it’s the right thing to do.

bunz ferguson

During last night’s game on the coast, Todd Nelson went to the bench and found Tyler Bunz as the next man up. I was happy to see Bunz get his NHL chance, who knows if he’ll pass this way again. For Bunz, his first NHL game—under less than ideal circumstances—must have been the ultimate thrill ride. He gave up some goals, he looked wobbly, but he was in the NHL and you can never take it away from him.

The Oilers had another option available, as we can see by looking at the AHL Barons and their goalie usage this year:

  1. Richard Bachman 22GP, 2.30 .921 (leave of absence for personal reasons)
  2. Laurent Brossoit 47GP, 2.63 .917 (last night’s Barons starter)
  3. Frans Tuohimaa 3GP, 4.22 .904 (injured)
  4. Tyler Bunz 2GP, 5.00 .839 (backup in the NHL)
  5. Kent Patterson DNP (backup in last night’s game, signed to PTO)

The choice for callup when Bachman was unavailable came down to Brossoit v. Bunz and the organization made the decision to stay the course, develop their top goaltending option with a big game in the AHL and run with Ben Scrivens.

It worked out too, Brossoit was brilliant in a win for the Barons and the club added two badly needed points for their playoff run.

UNFAIR TO BUNZ!

bunz ferguson1

Jason Strudwick has forgotten more about the game of  hockey than I’ll ever know and his words have iron in them. If he says it was wrong, I’ll buy that from a player and NHL standpoint. I can’t speak to it but if there’s a rule that’s been broken there, a line that was crossed, I’ll accept it as a reasonable criticism of the decision.

I do think the Oilers were looking long term in regard to their prospect development and that has value too. Brossoit’s presence on the Barons (as opposed to backing up in the NHL) allowed OKC to keep their playoff spot (they are currently seeded No. 5 among eight teams) and keeps them within range of Rockford.

Brossoit will get his opportunity but his job today is getting the Barons into the post season and ensuring the organization can give their prospects a long run into spring. That run could eventually include CHL players and (possibly) Russian winger Anton Slepyshev.

INTEGRITY OF THE GAME

There is another side to this beyond the point made by Mr. Strudwick above and that is the integrity of the game. Edmonton owes it to Calgary and Winnipeg and all teams in the playoff hunt to dress the best available lineup and compete. That has been perhaps overlooked in the race for Connor McDavid but I don’t think the Oilers can be faulted for using Bunz last night.

The game was lost, Bunz was available and the team gave him the opportunity. At the end of the day (thanks Chris Pronger, your phrase lives on!) Bunz’ save percentage (.750) was not dissimilar to that of Ben Scrivens (.762) so the game’s integrity, such as it is, remains intact.

Edmonton was awful last night. We can point to Ben Scrivens and Tyler Bunz, but let’s agree there were other culprits (one of my personal favorites, Martin Marincin, was very poor) and that this season can’t end soon enough for all involved and the ‘Donner’s hit California’ road trip just finished last night was another awful low point.

It’s been an awful season. Tyler Bunz dressed in an NHL game and will live forever in the hockey encyclopedia. Maybe he builds on it, maybe we never see him again. I don’t think the Oilers broke any rules in calling him in, beyond the points made by Jason Strudwick above.

(All photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)

  • Zamboni Driver

    Scrivens – Sorry man , You are not a starting goaltender in this league. I dont care how crap our D is , Our D does is not responsible for those Gaffs you make. You will never come back to haunt us, perhaps there is too much pressure on you and hey, not everyone is a starting NHL Goalie. But you are not. We need to find one, We need a proven VET to buy us time to see is Laurent is the real deal , time will tell. I would be targeting Lehner or Anderson , Anderson short term , Lehener , Brossoit, O’Conner to fight it out long term. If Matt opts for Ottawa, then there are a few expendable goaltenders in Ottawa better then what we currently have.

  • toprightcorner

    Bunz was the right guy to call up with Bachman having to leave as the chances of him playing should have been slim to none. Bunz is an RFA this year and likely will not be resigned by the team as he really has not shown any development since being drafted.

    Brossoit needed to stay in OKC to get valuable experience in pressure games pushing for the playoffs, sitting on the bench for a couple games would have hurt more than helped.

    Normally I would agree with Struds that you don’t throw an guy in that has hardly played all year and can’t succeed in the ECHL against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, could be a traumatic career ender in some cases. I would guess that Nelson had spoken to him as soon as he arrived saying that if he indeed needed to be called upon that results were no big deal as their was no pressure to try and win a game.

    If Nelson sent him in with no pressure, told him it doesn’t matter if they score a bunch of goals cause the same thing happened to Scrivens, an NHL regular, and just enjoy being on the ice with NHL players, then the decision is fine.

  • toprightcorner

    Truthfully, the Oilers probably realize that the chances of Bunz playing an NHL game is almost nil with how his development has stalled so if the opportunity arises, give him 20 minutes with the least amount of pressure possible. Playing in an NHL game is a much better story to tell your grand kids than sitting on the bench of an NHL game.

    • BustedSoulO

      So he deserves 20 minutes for being a waste of a contract for 3 years? A medal for everyone fan by chance? Reward for poor performance? I wouldnt get to far from the phone if I were you, you may be getting a call from Katz. You fit his management model to a T.

      • toprightcorner

        Waste of a contract you say? He had a good draft year so they signed him to see if he can develop, goalies are the most difficult position to to predict, you sign them see if they turn out. I guess the guy who signed Lundqvist after drafting him in the 7th round just knew??

        It wasn’t a reward as much as an opportunity that presented itself that the Oilers were getting shellacked, 20 minutes left, nothing on the line so why not give him a taste.

        I would suggest you are more similar to Oilers management with you ability to say so much but but provide so little.

        • Joe Mamma

          Nothing on the line other than having your organization look like a bigger laughing stock than they already are.

          Yes, it was a waste of a contract, did they know at the time? Of course not, did it turn out that way, yes. He was a miss, no longer a propect. Why give him a taste? It’s been 3 years, he’s been regressing every year.I’d say there is not a chance he gets a pro contract at any level higher than the CHL if at all. HeWhy is he up if he’s not capable of playing not only at the the NHL level but not the AHL or even ECHL? Sure he was just brought up to sit on the bench but stuff happens.

          It’s embarrassing for the team and the fans. And sorry, I don’t care if OKC needs Brossoit, he was needed on the Oilers roster. He’s played in alot bigger games in his career than a Thursday night in OKC in front of 1000 fans. Much more worthy of the opportunity than Bunz.

          • camdog

            “It’s embarrassing for the team and the fans. And sorry, I don’t care if OKC needs Brossoit, he was needed on the Oilers roster. He’s played in alot bigger games in his career than a Thursday night in OKC in front of 1000 fans. Much more worthy of the opportunity than Bunz.”

            You must be in some hard denial if the embarrassment factor just kicked in for you when Bunz entered the net… The reality is the only games in the Oiler organisation that mean anything right now are Barons hockey games. The Oilers suck, the Condors suck no number 4 or 5 goalie in the system is going to change that.

  • robc186

    Let’s keep blaming the goalies, like how we chased Dubnyk out of town. You know? The guy who has a terrible .930 save percentage, even worst record of 35-12-3, and a mediocre GAA of 2.07. Geez, so glad we got rid of him because he was the reason for all our problems. It’s about time we get better players in front of the goalie. Period.

    • Joe Mamma

      Agreed that the oil need better players in front of their goalies, but dubnyk played poorly at two other stops before finding his game in minny, so don’t exaggerate. He was a sieve when he played here, period.

    • toprightcorner

      Let’s even go further. Let’s not blame goalies, we’ve tried a few, let’s not blame defenseman, we’ve been moving them through like a river, let’s not blame forwards ( well not ALL of them). The only thing consistent in the Oilers string of pathetic non-playoff seasons is upper management. How about some house cleaning here Katz!

  • S cottV

    In retrospect it certainly wasn’t a very good decision to play Bunz.

    He looked way more shakey than what Nelson’s worst fears would have been – in making the decision.

    Not a huge deal but I’m sure Nelson is privately second guessing himself on it. That’s life as a big league coach. You want to win way more than you lose, with those kinds of decisions.

    Nelson lost that one.

    • M22

      Please tell us what Nelson lost – the game? You realize the game was 5-1 when Bunz came in, right?

      No, Todd is not second-guessing his decision. He had already thought about the possibility of Bunz seeing some playing time well before the game even started. How do I know that? Because he’s an NHL coach! It’s what goes through a coach’s mind when you have a kid dressing for his first game in the bigs.

      It was a measured decision, one that he likely talked over with Craig Ramsay. They never would have sent him in if the game was still there for the taking. But it wasn’t. It was fork time.

  • Joe Mamma

    I was okay with bringing in Bunz. Scrivens played the day before. The game was out of hand.

    Bunz looked shaky on the first couple of shots. Make some saves. Can’t be blamed much for the Perry goal. He got an NHL experience and provided a bit of a wake up call for the Oiler’s.

    I haven’t written him off yet. He’s not NHL ready but he may yet still develop.