O’CONNOR WATCH

For the Edmonton Oilers, acquiring a player like Matt O’Connor would be a pretty big deal. The organization badly needs to improve up the middle and acquiring an advanced prospect like O’Connor offers cover for procurement mistakes of the past. If the Oilers get O’Connor, how much of a difference will it make?

BETTER DEPTH

If Edmonton wins the O’Connor sweepstakes, they’re well on their way to a successful off-season at the position. The Oilers have Laurent Brossoit in the AHL and Ben Scrivens under contract in the NHL. If they choose to retain Scrivens as their backup in Edmonton—a reasonable bet based on his resume before last season—the way would be clear to sign a veteran UFA (Michal Neuvirth or Antti Niemi) or trade for a veteran starter (Craig Anderson, Jimmy Howard).

Is a depth chart of Craig Anderson—Ben Scrivens—Laurent Brossoit—Matt O’Connor reasonable? I think it’s better, especially in terms of a proven No. 1. Just as intriguing, there are now two viable candidates for ‘next man up’ and a healthy competition in that area.

When was the last time Edmonton had four goalies with that kind of potential?

NOTE:

I totally get that Ben Scrivens may not be the most popular choice for backup goalie next season, but he is signed and for me there are other players who are better buyout candidates.

FEWER PICKS SPENT ON GOALIES

For several seasons now, Edmonton has struggled to find a goalie in the draft. Whatever magic is involved in identifying goalies, the Oilers don’t have the booklet and did not get the memo. Perhaps the high-water mark for humor in this area came last season, when Edmonton—with only six picks—spent two on goaltenders. Both goalies went the wrong way in the season AFTER Edmonton drafted them.

It is not an area of strength.

Signing O’Connor means the team is free to make bets on defensemen, centers and wingers and they are more successful historically in those areas. O’Connor could help the team in that area, too.

O’Connor will make his decision in the next few days and there are some nice fits for him in the group that includes Edmonton, Ottawa, Vancouver and New York.

We wait.

o'connor stats

Courtesy Elite Prospects

  • TKB2677

    Focus on the goalie coach. Barry Trotz after DD landed in Nashville: “we realized very quickly was that Devan has a lot of… I’ll say bad habits he’s picked up this year…we wanted to spend some time with him working with [goaltending coach] Mitch Korn, just being able to get his game in order”.

    He then ended up in Arizona where confidence began to build: “The reason Burkie is such a great coach is he never told me where to play,” Dubnyk said. “It was never ‘I want you here.’ All we talked about from the start of the year was he wanted me to beat the pass on my feet and be set. All the time: Beat it and be set…..Right from the get-go, he just put so much confidence in me”

    Now with the Wild with a strong defence: “Now Dubnyk is benefiting from the type of tight defensive structure the Wild was known for before their mid-season meltdown.”

    So, we shipped off DD after 5 years and a year and a half later all the bad the Oil did is undone and he is now a Vezina candidate who has carried the Wild on his back into the second round. Ask yourself whether we need more goalies or better defensive structure (not all shots are created equal) and coaching. It wasn’t DD…..

    We now have Dustin Schwartz. I am not saying he is bad (though he did not seem to help Scivens in the 2nd half) but he doesn’ appear to have the same credibility at Burke, Korn et al though his is from Stettler and was a consultant coach (whatever that means) for the Oil Kings.

    Look for a change here after the new Coach is brought in.

  • Keg on Legs

    It’s not rocket science, DD is 6’6″, Burke told him to “beat the pass on your feet”, which in lay man’s terms is “Stand up dummy, then nothing will beat you high”
    Never understood why all these tall goalies want to play on their knees, basically making them 5 ft f’all

  • Keg on Legs

    Signing O’c diesn’t look positve towards Edmonton based on agent comments. I hope Chiarelli is able to convimce him the Oil are on the uptick and player development is a priority. A grest way to acquire on significant asset w/o spending a draft pick.

    • Zarny

      So that when there are 4 bodies screening a shot players can rip a low shot on the ice past the G feet?

      Dubnyk didn’t get beat high excessively. He was bad for mental lapses and letting in a bad one each game. Often low and from the blueline.

      I don’t interpret Dubnyk’s quote to mean Burke wanted him to stand up. Many G coaches coach position. When this happens go to a particular spot.

      Burke’s advice seems to be if your feet beat the pass then your body is in position. Always. It’s impossible to be in position if your feet are not.

      It’s not much different than position players. Concentrate on moving your feet and you’ll be in position.

  • TKB2677

    This O’Connor’s choices for his top 4 are a little baffling. If you are a young goalie, do you not want to go to a team that gives to the best opportunity to move up the ranks quickly?

    Rangers have Lundqvist and Talbot. So automatically best case he is #3 assuming he is better than who ever is on their farm team.

    Ottawa. They have Anderson, Lerner and Hammond. They are already debating which one to get rid of to potentially keep Hammond. So assuming they dump one of Anderson or Lerner, again he is at best #3.

    Vancouver. Exactly the same as the Rangers. Miller, Lack are ahead of him already. So again, at best he is #3.

    The Oilers don’t even have an established starter for the NHL. Fasth we know is gone. We assume Scrivens is a back because he has another year on his deal but with a new coach coming, new GM, that isn’t 100%. The only given I assume is Broisoit. Worst case scenario, you are sharing time with Broisoit on the farm, best case if you are good enough and they dump Scrivens is you might be an NHL back up. I really doubt that will happen and I hope it doesn’t but it’s a possibility. The Oilers might go scorched earth with their goaltending and other than Broisoit, would anyone be upset if they did? I sure wouldn’t.

  • Ever the Optimist

    Is a depth chart of Craig Anderson—Ben Scrivens—Laurent Brossoit—Matt O’Connor reasonable?

    A month ago i say that would be pie in the sky …. now things are happier with McDavid and Chia in the fold. Biggest thing is it allows competition at the NHL and AHL level. Let O’Conner battle it out with Broissant next season to see who will be back up to Anderson for his last 2 mentoring years on contract. Scrivens with a better defense in front of him has a real chance to rebound and increase his value at deadline time.

  • Poke Check

    Big goaltenders are all the rage……..I’m not sure why because I still think a small goaltender that plays the angles ( Fuhr, Moog, Hasek, Lundquist, Brodure) seem to be the better bet.

    With enough large goaltenders and extra large equipment, the goal seems to be to cover as much net as possible……..could this be the case for O’Connor? I’m not saying it is but I would rather a stand-up goalie that plays the angles.

    • Zarny

      Hasek and Brodeur were 6’2″; Lundqvist is 6’1″. They aren’t huge but they certainly aren’t small. Moog was 5’9″. Fuhr was 5’10”.

      Look at the top SV% in the league this year. Hammond 6’1″. Price 6’3″. Dubnyk 6’6″. Mason 6’4″. Talbot 6’3″. Schneider 6’2″. Crawford 6’2″. Holtby 6’2″. Rinne 6’5″. Anderson 6’2″. Rask 6’2″. Lack 6’4″.

      There isn’t a small goaltender in the bunch.

    • Zarny

      Obviously you have not noticed that Fuhr has a career Save % of less than .900. Today, an average goalie has a save% of .915.

      A large goaltender has the ability to cover more net. Shooters are forced to shoot high, a lower percentage shot, because, in the butterfly, a large goalie can cover post to post down low. Even then, a large goalie, if in position, covers the vertical angle to the top of the net. That’s why you see so many shots hit them in the shoulder.

      I have had a former AHL goalie discuss with me his difficulties in net because he was 5’10” not 6’2″.

    • Al Theeathoone

      Hasek and Lundquist are 6’1″ and Brodeur is 6’2″. They’re only “small” relative to the 6’3″ + goalies we commonly have now. What we’re witnessing is the NBA-ization of the NHL, but in reverse. What I mean is that in the NBA the rise of the 6’5″+ player changed the *offensive* nature of the game where we regularly saw 100pt games. Here we’re seeing the 6’5″ goalie and D-men changing the *defensive* part of the game by turning the game into

  • Obiwan Eberle - Team 5-14-6-1

    He’ll be going to the Rangers…and unfortunately its a good choice.
    Winning NHL team, possibly back up role in first year behind a borderline hall of famer.

    Our need is for a starter right now…O’Connor would still be a nice prospect but

    MCDAVID!!!!

  • Zarny

    I think the writing is on the wall that Scrivens will not be qualified next year, so they are telling this kid, come to the minors, compete against Broissoit for the starting position, and you can be first injury call up, and likely be our back up starting next year.

    Chirelli, like any GM, has some strengths and weaknesses. Thomas, Raask, Subban. I don’t think identifying goalie talent is a weakness. He basically gave the Bruins a goalie pipeline that has given the team elite goal tending for a decade.

    Speaking of, given his propensity to identify goalie talent, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s able to pull a Bishop out of the UFA goalie fire this year. Just like getting a GM with actual GM experience, getting a true number one goalie would be great ala Anderson or Niemi; but, I would much rather Edmonton paid cheap for a goalie that gave the team above average numbers, even if they don’t win a vezina.

  • WTF2

    Thanks to Kim Jong and MacT the Oil are in a poor position when it comes to goalie depth. Put simply it is non-existent.

    O’Connor attended the Canucks camp and may be more comfortable with them than the Oil regardless of the depth chart on the coast.

  • Al Theeathoone

    Speaking of goalies that should come cheap and could surprise. My predictions of the goalies who will end up being the best bang for their buck are:

    Jonas Enroth – he was so good for such a poor team, he was actually jeopardizing the tank, and was traded.

    Cam Talbot – Lundqvuist had serious injury issues this year, and Talbot stepped up to play behind a very good team. But, as I’ve seen in other markets, below average goal tending on a great team can have disastrous effects. I think Talbot is ready for a starter spot given his performance last year.

    Karri Ramo – Before injury this year, he had 34, and 40 GP respectively. Though he didn’t get a ton of wins in those starts, his save percentage those years were .911 and .912. If he can carry those numbers and add another 20 games, that should give most teams adequate goal tending for very little money. Make him a backstop for a good or great team, and he could look like gold.

    Anders Lindback – This guy was very highly touted in 2009 – 10. I remember thinking how impressive the Lighting were after acquiring him from the Preds. Here was a guy who was back up for perennial Rinne, so it was likely he was great but just couldn’t get play time. From there though, he bounced around and wasn’t great on teams with poor defense. In 10 games with the stars this year, Lindback only had a .875 save percentage. Those are Oiler numbers. But then again, that team was in Oiler territory for most goals allowed. After going to another team in Oiler territory, arguably a worse team, Lindback had a .924 in ten games with the Sabres. Now that is a pretty small sample size, and this guy will likely struggle some nights, but if he can post those numbers even somewhat consistently, he is going to be good and cheap for one lucky team.

    Richard Bachman – Call me biased, say I love cheering for the underdog, but Backman, like other smallish Barons ala Arco, never doesn’t play hard. That guy knows he’s the underdog and so gives it everything he has every night. He’s had a pretty small sample size in the NHL, and maybe he’s not ready for the starter slot yet, but my feelings are some team is really going to luck out with this guy as a super cheap and very capable backup.

    Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

  • Al Theeathoone

    New Jersey are having financial problems. I am sure they would be more than glad to move Cory Schnieder.

    Would New Jersey make this deal for some of the Oilers best prospects? A 4 for 1 deal? You have to offer value to get value.
    G Prospeoct Laurent Brossoit, F Greg Chase, D Dillon Simpson or Justin Schultz and the Pitts pick for this years draft.

    I think this is a completely reasonable deal. The Oilers can afford to move some assets.

    As for as the cap space goes for Schnieder the Oilers have some buy out options and cap space available.

    Schnieder and a O’Connor combo would be great. A vet goalie to help develop O’Connor into a future starting goalie.

    Just my thoughts. Sometimes you gotta give up lots and just go for it. I think the Devils would do this deal.

  • TKB2677

    If the Oilers can improve their goaltending, they can easily improve in the standings by 20 pts in my opinion without changing much in the way of personnel. They lost 14 games in overtime plus countless others strictly because the goaltending was awful.

    I fully expect their to be changes on the defense, to their goaltending and at least a forward, excluding the addition of McDavid which fills the second line center spot with a massive upgrade. I don’t expect them to make the playoffs but I fully expect them to be seriously in the hunt. Is a season like the Flames possible? Maybe.

  • TKB2677

    Matt O’Connor wants to be a starter in the AHL next season. Guess which NHL team has one of the best AHL team this season and guess which NHL team has some of the best goalie coaches. It’s not hard to guess which team Matty is going to choose?