GOALIES ARE VOODOO

scrivens common 1

The moves this summer by Peter Chiarelli (is he done?) offer us insight into the mindset of management and new coach Todd McLellan. When a new GM and coach arrive, and follow up with massive additions ‘up the middle’ it shows what caught their eye in regard to the weakness of last year’s crew. It’s one thing to send a distant bell to the ‘Hawks for a possible backup goalie, but are the Oilers seriously considering running an inexperienced goalie combination? Or will he ADD an experienced hand to the four men already heading to camp? 

ARE YOU EXPERIENCED?

In terms of NHL games, the Edmonton Oilers are sadly lacking in experienced stoppers:

  1. Ben Scrivens 129
  2. Cam Talbot 57
  3. Anders Nilsson 23
  4. Laurent Brossoit 1

Chiarelli acquired Nilsson in an effort to increase competition but NHL history suggests the play—if the team wants to step away from Ben Scrivens—is to acquire an experienced backup.

LIKE PETER BUDAJ?

Yes! Like Peter Budaj. NHL teams have been doing this kind of thing forever, bringing in older vets who can’t find a contract and allowing them to showcase their skills. I’m aware of two goalies who have accepted invites to training camp. Source

The list of unsigned goalies (Jonas Gustavsson!!!) isn’t exactly inspiring but there are always logjams and waivers that come every fall. In Los Angeles, if Budaj thrives that may mean the Kings have to decide between Budaj and Jhonas Enroth at the end of camp.

WHAT IF EDMONTON’S GOALIES DO WELL?

It’s also true that if both Scrivens and Nilsson thrive in pre-season, Edmonton may have an opportunity to offload Scrivens to a team looking for a more experienced backup:

  • Kirk Luedeke on possible backups in Boston: I think  (Jeremy) Smith makes the most sense as B’s backup as of July 31, but I
    still think the team will look to add someone with more of an NHL body
    of work, either as a bargain bin signing or training camp invite with
    the option to sign before the season if the coaches feel good about him.
    Who that is at this point is anyone’s guess- I thought Jason LaBarbera
    would be someone to fit the bill, but the best of the free agents are
    gone, so the team might just feel like going with Smith or one of the
    other kids depending on things go at camp and preseason is the best
    option. Source

There isn’t a lot out there but once camps start and the games begin to showcase the talent, the Oilers could find themselves either scrambling for additional help or deciding which backup to deal.

Goalies are voodoo.

  • Oilers4ever

    Sounds like they are sold on Talbot , and Scrivens getting back to form and having a much better season behind a better defence . McLellan likes to have his clubs get off to a flying start each season , so I doubt it will take him long to sort out whom he is going with . Because he likes to get off to a fast start , I doubt he will be doing as much experimenting in exhibition season as one might expect .

    • srelio

      Khabibulin was actually pretty good, they just played him too much. His first game or two was usually solid after he was rested and then they would keep playing him until he got tired and started sucking. Then he’d sit for a few games and the cycle would repeat

      • Train#97

        He DID have some good moments, but mainly it was 2-3 good games, then 9-10 bad ones. That’s NOT how a starting goalie is supposed to be – add to that his constant injuries, I’m sorry but he was NOT a good pick for the Oilers.

    • Dwayne Roloson 35

      Well he really didn’t do too well with Chicago until his contract year and he wasn’t good in the playoffs. He had injury problems with Chicago but we still signed him to a 4 year contract at the age where goalies really go downhill.

  • Oilers4ever

    If the choice is between a cast-off has-been or an up and coming back-up, I’d much rather give the back-up a chance, especially one of Talbot’s caliber. There aren’t many ‘proven’ goalies available, and I sure wouldn’t want to see Ray Emery or Tim Thomas in Oilers’ silks.

  • Canoe Ride 27.1

    I feel scrivins With a actual defence in front of him should work fine , everything reserched on talbot says he’s on his way , brossoit is couple years away and shows a to of potental , don’t know Mutch about Nilson ………. At all , sounds promising …… Role the dice !!!!

  • bradleypi

    Not sure how an old washed up goalie is going to help talbot. I see a great battle between scrivs and talbot brewing in training camp and preseason. Hopefully they both bring their A game. Only way scrivs and talbot can get experience is to play.

  • Spydyr

    IMPORTANCE OF OUR GOALIES : Colorado and Varlamov . 2012-2013 save % at .901 , and they finish ( shortened season and only 39points )and out of playoffs . 2013-2014 he goes to .927 ( 112 point season I believe) and Colorado wins Central division and finishes 3rd overall in league under a new coach ( sound familiar ) P.Roy . Last year he dropped to .921 and dropped to 7th in Division despite a 90 point season .

    Meanwhile Talbot put up save % of .941 in 26 games 2013-14 , and .926 in 2014-15 . Our goalies only were.888 at best for season . What a jump in points we might witness if Talbot can keep his percentage up as high as he has done last two seasons . Not out of the realm of replicating what Colorado did two years ago . It could happen again here .

  • Spydyr

    LT, as a promoter of advanced stats having you reference voodoo is unnatural 😉

    Valiquette’s red-green zones and Royal Road would probably help us exercise this belief in voodoo.

    I’ll speculate that Talbot will see far higher ratio of green shots and rate of puck crossing Royal Road this year over last.

    Plus we have to find way to measure luck shots (deflections).

    Experienced goalie wont change the underlying exposure Oiler goalies will get this season.

    Experienced goalie pickups for purpose of letting your young guy get in game action in AHL is covered with Nilsson pickup.

    Using examples is anecdote not analytic. We could easily find teams not searching for extra insurance – Darling, Lack, …

    • Spydyr

      Problem with just taking stats of a goalie doesn’t address real team situation.Chicago doesn’t win cups if its not for strong D in front of Crawford, who just had to stop the occasional high percentage shot once a period. Insert Oilers Goalie name here, but it won’t matter who we get if Oilers D doesn’t mature quickly in the top 4 positions,and some of our 20 minute Wingers need to introduce themselves to their Goalies during a game in the defensive zone. The one stamp a new coach will put on this team will be to cull the heard of the top two lines, and insist on a defensive first attack. The players will either learn, accept and adjust, or say good bye to a few past first rounders.

  • McWeber

    Talbot will most likely start on day one of the season. If he can maintain a SV% at or near last season he will be a lock for our starter. Scrivens is playing for a contract so he should be motivated and I think he will thrive with less starts.

    LB & AN will battle in the AHL for first call up status.

    Laurikainen may have a good chance to get a lot of starts with the Admirals and tune in the North American ice/game.

    McDavid will have the puck on a string most of the time so our keepers are not going to see a lot of rubber coming their way.

  • paul wodehouse

    …this isn’t chicken little time is it LT ?/?

    wow…in Chiarelli I trust…a bit better blue …some decent coaches finally…loaded to the breasts up front including a Calder winner (maybe kinda sorta)

    goalies?…is there GOOD voodoo?…meh! i’m bettin’ it’s goin’ be like the good ‘ol days when we can let in four but score six seven or eight…only time will tell and I’m thinkin’ it’s Magic Time again…if these vets making 6+ a season don’t earn their paycheques and know there’s only one season left until they’re going to play in a building BUILT for champions then they should reeeally be very afraid…can’t wait!

  • McWeber

    Anyone else hoping to see Anders Nilsson beat out Scrivens? As much as I was cheering for Scrivens in his first few months here he killed what confidence I had in him down the stretch last year.

    • Edsez

      If only somebody would invent a device into which you could input queries, say, for example, using a typewriter keyboard-like instrument, and derive answers.

      Who knows, maybe such a device could be used to keep up with current events or a favourite sports team, express one’s opinion on topical issues and look up pictures of cats.

      As far as goalies goes …. *pours a shot of rum and lights a cigar for JoBu*

      Talbot seems to be as reasonable a shot as anybody to be the guy who steps up this upcoming season but what do I know, two years ago I would have said that Dubnyk was ready to take that step, too.

  • At the end of the day it won’t matter if we don’t upgrade our D.

    Seriously. Take a close look at our D lineup. We’re basically screwed in the western conference. A team full of 3-4 line D-men won’t make any impact in the standings. Connor might be good for a point per game but the D will let us down time and again, no matter who’s in goal. BOOK IT.

    • Oilers 2007 shots against with a goalie average of.888 last season . #3rd best defence was Rangers , but they had 1980 shots against while Talbot had .921 save percentage . That’s only 1 shot more over 3 game span . Goalie makes the big difference , as we seen a weak defence only 2 years ago rise to top of Central division from bottom the year before when Varlamov had such an increase in save percentage from .903 to -927 I believe .

      • Anton CP

        I think, if anyone willing, I want to know how many goals against the Oilers were long range slap shots from D-men, and how is thay compare to rest of the league? I do believe that Oilers always let the opposing blueliners to take some free ones, or at least that the top Ds have a few goals scored against the Oilers.

    • bradleypi

      Before last season started, did anyone think Calgary would have one of the best defenses in the league? Or a Norris candidate? Anything can happen in hockey bro. This defence is full of a bunch of guys with EVERYTHING to prove. I wouldn’t count them out.

      • MorningOwl

        if, as you say, “anything” can happen, than maybe a whole bunch of players will equal McDavid’s point production… I mean, why not expect players like Emile Poirier to break the lineup and put up 130 points? anything can happen

  • Anton CP

    Goalies are hard to scout on anyway, it is more like a lottery tickets. Lundqvist was a 7th round pick, Quick was supposed to be a temp to get Bernier ready, Rinne was an 8th round pick, Holtby was forth round pick that was considered as third option behind Varlamov and Neuvirth, Dubnyk was a castaway, same as Bobrovsky, Bishop was believed to be a career backup, and Leafs actually traded Rask away. When it comes to goalies that you may get a better chance to ask a magic 8-ball than getting a proper scout reports.

  • Train#97

    I feel it important to see how the goalie is the focal point for entire game and team generally . If you do not get that high of a goalie save percentage then it effects and dilutes and magnifies/exposes every weakness in players , team , as well as game plan and execution . It also destroys team confidence . High percentage goaltending , on the other hand , masks mistakes , compliments and makes easier to execute game plan , and maybe most important masks most other player weaknesses , leading to a more confident club performance . From that stems many wins and points rather than losses like we suffered last season . Close games usually settled by high performance save percentages . Should not be difficult to beat last years disasterous . 888 save percentage . Thus , I feel Oilers could surprise with big push in division this year if Talbot can give us that type of save percentage here .

    • Train#97

      Save % is one thing but the quality of the shots the oilers give up is another. Chiarelli give us some D. I’ll take Franson at this point. He is immediately better than 2/3 of our d , but only at a good price and term.

      • bradleypi

        Not sure what your trying to imply , but goalie is the focal point of every defence is what my blog was about . I don’t care if you got the 6 best defenseman in the league and best 12 forwards , if your goalies have a .888 save percentage your not going to win to many games or look very good as any flaws will be overly exposed . Reducing down to just quality of shots is only one factor in that overall picture . Just trying to show how important save percentage is to teams and players success . Now , if Talbot plays up to his Save % of .941 (26 game sample size ) he had the year before last , then we could be looking at President trophy potential to be honest , without an all star cast of defenseman . Similar to what Colorado had the year they climbed so high with a suspect defence and Varlamov had just a . 927 save percentage in comparison . Franson unlikely to change that i’m afraid .

        • Train#97

          Valiquette’s work is showing two largest factors that impact scoring rates on shots. Shots coming from green zone and coming after crossing Royal Road and shots when goalie has less than .5 second to react.

          That is, not all shots are created equal.

          Goalies have very little control over those two factors. This is why Talbot’s save pct last year is not the underlying factor for predicting results this year.

          How did Oilers D and coaching contribute to increasing or decreasing the impact of those two factors, or Rangers D and coaching? If one new the answer you’d have insight into what would have greatest impact on Oilers save pct.

          Oiler D skillset hasn’t changed much over last year.

          As Hitchcock has said what concerns him most is not Oiler players but the new coach. McLellan has a lot of teaching on his hands.

        • bradleypi

          Valiquette’s work is showing two largest factors that impact scoring rates on shots. Shots coming from green zone and coming after crossing Royal Road and shots when goalie has less than .5 second to react.

          That is, not all shots are created equal.

          Goalies have very little control over those two factors. This is why Talbot’s save pct last year is not the underlying factor for predicting results this year.

          How did Oilers D and coaching contribute to increasing or decreasing the impact of those two factors, or Rangers D and coaching? If one new the answer you’d have insight into what would have greatest impact on Oilers save pct.

          Oiler D skillset hasn’t changed much over last year.

          As Hitchcock has said what concerns him most is not Oiler players but the new coach. McLellan has a lot of teaching on his hands.

          • Train#97

            Simple deduction should tell anyone that a high percentage means all shots are less likely to end up in the back of your net with a high percentage save number . Is that to hard to accept ?

          • Train#97

            K we get what you are trying to say, but I’m not sure anyone’s buying it. For example you can have a great QB but if the O-line sucks his stats won’t be that good. Make the O-line better and the QB will look better!!

          • Train#97

            Yes, a high save pct is predictive of team success. Could you miss making playoffs with a .920+ save pct? NO!!!

            But we can correlate in reverse. We have indications after Valiquette that a high save pct correlates to conditions about the shots taken.

            That is, with high confidence we can compare NYR versus Edmonton save pct from last year and know that Edmonton gave up far more green zone+Royal Road chances.

            That is, save pct is as much a team stat as individual stat.

            Winnipeg has one of highest team improvements in preventing green zone shots last year and Pavelic save pct goes up.

            Goaltending is NOT voodoo.

          • bazmagoo

            Anyone who thinks our goalies save percentage last season isn’t directly correlated to the ineptitude of our coaching/team defence doesn’t watch enough hockey or doesn’t understand the sport. Just my opinion.

          • bradleypi

            So you are saying that scrivens is a bona fide number 1 then? Cmon you have to admit scrivs was pretty bad last year. Especially down the stretch when the oil started playing better. He couldn’t stop a beach ball.

          • Train#97

            Why try to complicate things when all that’s required is your eyeball and save percentage that’s readily avaiable to see the difference in shots . Is your approach going to come to a different conclusion ? If not , then why bother complicating things . There is a nuisance and complication/confusion in being to overly analytical . Go to the horse races and use all their stats (the big form with all the added stats ,not just the track form or mini version )and you’ll soon find out why . Don’t complicate things unnecessarily , condense it , as the same conclusion is probably going to be the same either way . There are so many things more the eyeball can tell and analyze for you than just stats can normally do .

  • Train#97

    Gustavsson….no thanks. I remember when he first came into the league, teams were allegedly fighting over who would sign him, that he was the next big thing LOL. He has done absolutely nothing to establish himself as a bonafide starter in the NHL and is barely a back up. Wait a minute am I talking about Justin Schultz or Jonas Gustavsson…so confused.

      • Train#97

        You can take an average goalie and put him in front of a great defense and he goes from average to very good. Only with elite goalies does it work the other way! Look no further than Dubnyk!

        • Train#97

          Good example and with Dubnyk I agree somewhat . Why MacT. replaced him after 1/2 season is puzzling as that was perhaps his worst start to a year and his confidence was shattered .

          Dubnyk 2009-2010 = .889 first season , 2010-11 = .916 (35games) , 2011-12= .914 (47 games) , shortened season in 38 games a very good .921 and we came close to a playoff under Kreuger , 2013-14in 32 games he plummeted to . 894 and Mact. prematurely in retrospect pulled the plug on Dubnyk . After Oilers Dubnyk still struggled with other clubs with very good defence to suspect defences . 2 games Wash =.850 and he was gonzo , Hamilto Bulldogs in 8 games a measley . 893 , Arizona however he went back up to .916 for 19 games , yet they to let him go . Minn in 39 games with a very good defence Dubnyk sky rocketed to .936 . Here’s hoping we do not prematurely rid ourselves of Scrivens , as his numbers were not bad the season when we got him and several years before . It took Dubnyk a while to get back to being a good goalie after that bad start here and several coaches as well . I think we are all happy he has panned out so well , but it will still be tough for him to keep the .936 elite status percentage that high in subsequent years .

  • Train#97

    Talk about defense equals better goalies.. I think the coach also. Dubnyk played amazing under kruegs, then terrible under Eakins. Eakins destroys our goalies confidence. I think it’s reasonable to expect talbot to get over .910 sv%. A new coach is the biggest change here.

  • bazmagoo

    Talbot all the way! We have to win one of these long shot bets eventually. Now that the curse of Kevin Lowe has been lifted, we should be fine. He sold his soul in 2006, and we’ve been suffering for it ever since.

    Part of me thinks it was all worth it now that we have McDavid!

  • Train#97

    Speaking of horse racing…quit beating a dead horse save % is not an exact indicator of how good a goaltender is.
    Defense helps a goalie immensely!! Without that save % sucks.
    Next topic please

  • Train#97

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Broisot get a shot in preseason and that’s probably what the other 3 need to see. Make them all realize the spot is Open to who plays best .

  • bradleypi

    I think most of us are being a little rough on Scrivs.Yes the numbers don’t lie. But he was left hung out to dry way to often last year by a lackluster team defense. I think we can expect better results from him this season because Im sure with better coaching our defence as a five man unit will be much improved. And if Talbot carries over his play from last year ….goaltending should be much improved thus season