The Oilers Should Replace Jonas Gustavsson

After Thursday’s loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, Jonas
Gustavsson now has a 0.893 save percentage over his six-game career with the
Edmonton Oilers.

In most cases, this would be the time to remind people that
it’s only been six games and four starts, and that there’s no sense getting
worked up about an established NHL goalie after such a short time period. In
this case, though, it’s a good time to remind people that this is Gustavsson’s
established level of performance.

Or rather, that we’re within a single goal of Gustavsson’s
career averages this season.

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In 172 NHL games prior to his arrival in Edmonton,
Gustavsson made 4,129 saves on 4,578 shots. That’s a career save percentage of

If he’d made one extra save last night—and given the number
of bad goals he surrendered, it’s easy to imagine that—he would have stopped
110 of 122 shots faced this season. That would work out to a save percentage of

In other words, what you see is what you get. Gustavsson has
been a poor goaltending option for the Oilers this season, and that lines up
entirely with his work over the bulk of his career. It’s always difficult to
predict what a goaltender will do next, but in this case there’s no logical
reason to think the future is going to look any better than the past did.

Given that, general manager Peter Chiarelli’s decision to
sign Gustavsson on July 1 remains confusing. The best defence of that decision I saw over the summer was that the GM had faith in organizational depth; that Gustavsson was
a placeholder who would quickly be pushed aside by prospect Laurent Brossoit,
who was coming off a 0.920 save percentage run as Edmonton’s AHL starter.

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Bakersfield is certainly an option as the Oilers weigh what
to do next. Brossoit, still in the No. 1 role, has an impressive 0.925 save percentage over
a dozen games. If that continues, this will be his third season as a strong minor-league goalie. College free agent signing Nick Ellis is also playing well, with
a 0.930 number over seven games, so finding more minutes for him could be a secondary benefit of a Brossoit recall.

The risk in bringing Brossoit up at this time is two-fold.
If he plays well, it increases the chance that Las Vegas becomes interested in
him at this summer’s expansion draft. If he plays poorly, Edmonton is right
back where it started—forced to pin all its hopes on Cam Talbot because the
backup isn’t capable of delivering NHL-quality goaltending.

Calling up Brossoit is probably the smart play, anyway. If he plays badly, then Edmonton knows what it has and can take appropriate steps. 

As for the risk of expansion, that’s frankly not worth worrying about at this point. Vegas can only take one player anyway, and if they snag Brossoit it means that the Oilers won’t lose Brandon Davidson or somebody else. 

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More importantly, it’s December and the Oilers
are in the thick of the playoff race. Come April they may well need every single point they can muster. The longer they wait, the more likely it is
that some poor Gustavsson start becomes the difference between the postseason and the golf course. 

  • elliotsmom

    Absolutely, the Oilers should replace him. The only problem is that Chia does not admit or fix the mistakes he’s made. JG is definitely one of them.

  • Strange Tamer

    Can we send RNH down too? He was brutal last night. 6 Million a year for a center who can’t win a face off, is soft as butter and is scoring at 0.44 ppg clip and is now terrible defensively. No wonder Chiarelli couldn’t get a defenseman for him.

    • TruthHurts98

      No need to berate somebody because you disagree with them, it’s childish and incredibly narrow minded. I don’t agree with some of the writers including JW from time to time but we’re all entitled to our opinions. If you want to debate do so in a constructive manner.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    He’s definitely a place holder. The plan this year is to play Talbot 65-70 games it seems. I wonder if other goalies didn’t want to come here because they wouldn’t get much of a chance to play.

    Hopefully Brossoit can get a few starts in to see if he’s improved. Nick Ellis isn’t looking too bad on the farm either(.930sv%).

    But yeah The monster is scary…scary bad.

  • Wiggleswag

    The numbers for Gus last night were directly related to the play in front of the goalie NOT the goalie. They didn’t defend Gustavsson in more ways than 1 last night. You want Brossoit to experience that!!!

    • MaxBoost

      Bottom line is that if Talbot’s in net it’s a cakewalk for the Oil. Sure they had some turnovers but i for one was nervous every time the puck went towards the net.

      When a guy drives wide with a d-man all over him, you don’t drag your blocker on the ice and give the guy half the net to shoot at. Fundamentaly he’s all over the place, which worked 15 years ago for Hasek, Jospeh, et al…. these days you have to be able to move around the net quickly and stay in position. He just doesnt have what it takes and i’ve been saying it all year, last night just proved the point

      • Max

        Head trajectory is what’s making today’s goalies so sharp. Scrivens flopped around, Gustavsson is the same, if not worse. Is our goalie coach even trying to get him to learn the new way? Flopping around like a fish out of water causes no end of problems, either listen to the goalie coach, get a different goalie coach, or hit the road.

  • CaptainLander

    Would there be any concern from the the Oil that if Broissoit played x number of games that there would be a risk that Vegas would be interested?

    Also I would be ok with a Gus for Pavelic trade if the Peg would be willing to retain a couple mil.

  • Petrolero

    I’ve seen enough of the monster. Given that Calgary is now tied with edm for first place in the division, Chia needs to make adjustments sooner rather than later.

    It looks like it’s going to be a dog fight for a layoff spot from now till maybe the last game of the season and I want the Oilers right in the middle of it, so come on Chia time to suit up.

  • Keg on Legs

    Here’s and idea: Leave LB in Bakersfield getting the #1 minutes, bring up Ellis to ride the pine behind Dadbot, his .930 save % isn’t a fluke

  • eiznekeM

    Everything about Gus is shaky. Watching him between whistles against Minnesota on Sunday, he is battling himself as much as the puck.

    There’s no confidence there, he’s never square to the puck, can’t choose angle or depth, squirrely as all heck.

    I find it hard to watch an ‘NHL’ level goalie spin around in his crease as often as we do with him. Woof. Wasn’t Chad Johnson a free agent this summer?

  • Jay (not J)

    Oh, come on. I had as much to do with last night’s loss as the Monster did. May as well turn a firehose on him and give him crap for being wet. It would have been nice if he could have stolen a save on one that went in, but putting this loss on Gustavsson is letting the team off the hook when the entire second half of the game they were atrocious in front of him. Talbot, Dubnyk, Lundquist… none of those guys would have done much better last night.

  • OilersGM

    He should never have been signed in the first place but our boonhead GM thinks he knows everything but everyone knows that’s the furthest from the truth wether one admits it or not.

  • Maggie the Monkey

    “The longer they wait, the more likely it is that some poor Gustavsson start becomes the difference between the postseason and the golf course.”

    This is Oilers Nation, right? I’m confused – I thought the postseason was the golf course.

  • CMG30

    JG was a headscratcher when he was signed in the summer and time has not cleared the mystery. He was a disaster in Toronto and I have no faith he’ll turn it around in Edmonton.

    The Oil are not yet good enough to survive without top shelf goaltending. PC! Fix your mess!

  • TruthHurts98

    I thought it was bizarre that PC signed him. I wanted him to sign Chad Johnson, Peter Budaj or just about anyone else. I think it’s worth giving LB a shot if they are serious about getting out of this lull. But what do I know..

  • toprightcorner

    He’s had 1 bad game in 3 starts and played well in the others. If you can get a backup to play well 2 out of 3 starts, that is not bad these days. Sure he looks funny but so did Hasek (no comparison) I still think Chia picked him for his athletisism thinking the NHL wouldnt lose their head in each others ass with the smaller equipment.

    Other problem Anyone agreeing to come to Edm as back up has to accept he is a back up, no chance to become a starter and LB is the future #1. losts of goalies don’t want that. Johnson signed in Cal becasue Elliot had never been a full time starter so there was a chance he could become a #1.

    1 bad game ans the sky is falling, he gives 2 more bad games out of 4 then lets start worrying.

  • Anton CP

    Nick Ellis actually earns more than Gus.

    I think that Gus was more of an experiment than a real option. The hope is to have someone very cheap (800k is even less than the big Yak that is still wondering in Siberia) to hold the spot until they absolutely have to bring up someone. I don’t think that Chiarelli made a clear decision that which goalie in the minor could be the future starter.