If you believe Pierre LeBrun (I do), the Oilers have been busy trying to upgrade their goaltending position. It’s no secret that the Oilers need better goaltending than what they’ve had in recent memory and LeBrun’s report reinforces what everyone in OilersNation already knew – stopping pucks is kind of important.
According to Pierre LeBrun, the Oilers have reached out the Rangers, Ducks, and Senators in an effort to plug the hole in net. LeBrun says the targets of interest are Cam Talbot (Rangers), John Gibson (Ducks), and Robin Lehner (Senators). It’s interesting to note that the Oilers are apparently chasing goaltending options that fit along the same age range as the core. Personally, I thought Chiarelli would be looking for a sure thing type goaltender (Anderson/Niemi) over an unproven, but that doesn’t appear to be the way things are moving.
There are options that are potentially available:
From Jonathan Willis on May 1st…
- Ottawa Senators. They’ll need to trade someone this summer. The only question is whether it will be veteran starter Craig Anderson, understudy Robin Lehner or the shocking Andrew Hammond.
- Toronto Maple Leafs. There have been persistent rumours that restricted free agent Jonathan Bernier could be dealt. If he isn’t James Reimer is another option.
- Detroit Red Wings. There’s a goaltending controversy in Detroit at the moment, as up-and-coming goalie Petr Mrazek pushes established starter Jimmy Howard for playing time. Eventually one of those guys will shake loose.
- Vancouver Canucks. Given the restrictiveness of Ryan Miller’s contract and that Lack will be entering his walk year next season, my guess is that the young Swede will be moved on down the line this summer.
- New York Rangers. Cam Talbot is 32-15-5 with a 0.932 save percentage on his career, but plays behind Henrik Lundqvist. There’s lots of history between Edmonton and New York and Talbot’s an awfully intriguing player. Add that he’s in a similar contractual situation to Lack and this is a pretty interesting option.
- Chicago Blackhawks. Chicago has three goalies: Corey Crawford and the dirt-cheap duo of Scott Darling and Antti Raanta. In Stan Bowman’s shoes I’d think hard about moving Crawford, despite his reasonably solid play, mostly due to cap concerns. Raanta and Darling are both inexperienced but interesting.
- Los Angeles Kings. Jonathan Quick is their forever starter, so Martin Jones might be available.
- Tampa Bay Lightning. Andrei Vasilevskiy is a special young goalie, and his 0.920 save percentage over 15 NHL games is backed by solid work in the AHL and KHL. I’m guessing the Lightning are willing to keep both Vasilevskiy and starter Ben Bishop together a while longer, which is why the team falls so low on this list.
- Boston Bruins. Malcolm Subban is in the pipeline and Niklas Svedberg has been an awfully good backup this year. I think the Oilers would be taking an insane risk if it were to bet on either in a starting role next season.
There are plenty of attractive options out there, and it makes sense for Edmonton to shop around. The goal here is to acquire the best goaltender for the smallest expenditure of dollars and assets and from that perspective Lack is the name that interests me most, but that’s complicated by the dynamics of trading in-division and may not be a realistic option for the Oilers. Talbot is in a similar situation out East and at the right price would be a good add.
The problem the Oilers may face in trying to secure one of these younger guys is what the other teams will be looking at in terms of return. We shall see…