Oilers reportedly interested in Jaroslav Halak

Jaroslav Halak is an NHL goaltender playing in the AHL, a
victim of the combination of a big contract and the salary cap. That could
change in short order, though, with reports suggesting that 31-year-old goalie
is attracting trade interest.

One team supposedly entertaining a deal is the Edmonton

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Halak is an interesting player, one of four I identified
last week
as a potential “bargain” acquisition at this year’s trade
deadline. He’s had a distinguished career (including some brilliant playoff
performances) and is 14-2-1 with a 0.933 save percentage in the AHL this year.
Despite that, he probably won’t be too costly.

The reason for that has everything to do with that
, which runs into next season at a salary of $5.0 million and a cap
hit of $4.5 million. That’s a lot of money to fill the 1B goaltending position.

The obvious option is for the Islanders to retain salary,
which could potentially knock Halak’s cap hit down to $2.25 million. There are
two potential problems with that. The first is that Halak can’t be protected
from Las Vegas by the Oilers, and presumably the Golden Knights would jump at
the chance to get a good goalie at $2.25 million, though it’s possible that
would be seen as a feature rather than a bug.

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The other issue is that Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli has
typically used the backup goalie position as a place to save cap space:

Maybe the possibility of losing Halak to Vegas cancels out
that concern of sinking a lot of money in net, but I have to think that Halak at 50% cap hit is a valuable
piece, the kind a team has to pay for and hopes not to lose in expansion. 

The other option for a deal is a big contract going the
other way. Edmonton has two that might conceivably qualify: Mark Fayne and Benoit


Fayne, like Halak, has one year left on his deal and has
been impressive at the AHL level. He has 11 points in 22 minor-league contests,
and head coach Gerry Fleming is obviously a fan. Asked about Fayne’s attitude in
late January
by 630 CHED’s Bob Stauffer, the coach offered the following:

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Absolutely fantastic, he’s a real pro. He’s made guys
better, no doubt about it. I think he’s helped [Griffin Reinhart], like you
mentioned, but not only Griff but he’s helped our team. We’ve got some young
guys this year and his voice in the dressing room, his leadership on the ice,
the way he approaches practice, nothing but great things. He’s come down here
and he’s worked hard. He understands his role and he’s accepted his role. He’s
really made a difference on our back end.

The Islanders are in a tight playoff race and are presently without right-shooting veteran Travis Hamonic. Fayne could certainly be a fit there immediately and offer
the club a veteran third-pairing presence next season. Also of interest: the
gap between the salaries of Fayne and Halak ($1.5 million) next season is a lot
bigger than the gap in cap hit ($875,000) and that might well appeal to a team
looking to save dollars.

Fayne’s probably a better fit than Benoit Pouliot, who has
two seasons left on his current contract and has been a disaster for the Oilers
this season. It’s also hard to see where Pouliot would slot in on an Islanders
team that has 14
forwards already signed
for next season.

It’s the kind of deal which would address immediate need for
both teams, save the Isles some money and give Edmonton either some expansion
cover or a dynamite goaltending tandem next season. 


  • toprightcorner

    If we traded for Halak, this is the only way I would do it.

    Offseason Trade

    Eberle, Musil and 2018 3rd for Halak, Strome, and RD Pulock/RW Ho-Sang and Islanders do not have to retain salary. The salaries are basically a wash, Oilers won’t have cap issues next year and maybe LV takes Halak as their veteran starter. Strome is McDavids best friend and could play his wing and drop Drai to 2C or have them both play RW. Lucic –
    Nuge – Drai could be aa great line. Strome needs to get away from Snow’s black cloud. Pulock is a great RD prospect just ripe to full time NHL work and Ho-Sang is a RW that puts up points

    Gives the Islanders the RW to replace Okposo on Tavaras line and they have played together a few times and are friends. The get to dump Halaks contract and put that money into Eberle. They are souring on Strome and think Strome wants out.

    Worst case for Edmonton is they add no salary, have Strome replace Eberle as RW who is cheaper and under control, add a blue chip RD prospect in Pulock who has 10G and 27 pts in 30 AHL games this season. You pay Halak a lot as a back up, for close to a wash in cap.

    Both teams rearrange cap into players that better suit their needs.

    Options for getting rid of Halak:

    LV picks him up as he would be the most valuable Oiler unprotected or maybe Oilers trade him to Vegas so they don’t have to waste a pick on a goalie. Or trade him to a team next year if there is an injury to a starter or a trade deadline deal for a 3rd pick.

    Oilers won’t have cap issues next year, it is the year after that and they will save $3.5 mill on Strome for Eberle and have a cheap RD on entry level contract.

    I beleive Strome will be able to match Eberles’ offensive output of 65+ pts per season and with his bes friend McDavid as his center, he could easily scrore close to a pt per game pace, he definitely has that type of skill.

    Maroon – McDavid – Strome
    Lucic – Draisaitl – Puljujarvi
    Caguilia – Nuge – new (Eaves/Vrbata)
    Khaira – Letestu – Kassian

    Klefbom – Larsson
    Sekera – Benning
    Nurse – Pulock

  • deferoiler

    Do this trade chai. Especially if isles are willing to retain salary. Halak is a proven veteran that can help this team for a playoff push and into next year as well.

  • Poke Check

    Before someone waltzes in here, sees that he’s in the AHL, and declares that he’s done, just remember that Halak posted a .941 save percentage (including .931 in back-to-back high stakes games against Team Canada) behind a Frankenstein team less than 6 MONTHS AGO. He’s someone who can steal Ws while Cam rests a little for the playoffs.