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Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Laurent Brossoit could be the perfect Oilers backup, if he survives expansion

2016-17 Edmonton Oilers: No. 1 G Laurent Brossoit

Laurent Brossoit could be the perfect backup goaltender for the Edmonton Oilers. On the other hand, he might also be a good fit for the Vegas Golden Knights, who will certainly have the opportunity to claim him in this summer’s expansion draft.

He’s somewhat projectable, which is always a desirable quality in an understudy. At 6’3”, he has the size which has become virtually indispensable for a prospect hoping to play goal at the NHL level. He just turned 24 in March and has a career 0.914 AHL save percentage. He’s a little older and his performance a little behind the curve for a prospect on track for a No. 1 job, but he’s still in a range where that’s a possible outcome.

Brossoit is also cheap, another valuable attribute in a backup goalie. He just completed the first season of a two-year contract with a $750,000 cap hit. The Oilers are going to have to be careful with their cap space this summer, and having a backup on a six-figure deal would be a good way to save some money for other positions.

Those cap savings can end up being a false economy if the backup goalie can’t actually fill the position, something that Edmonton learned with Jonas Gustavsson this past season, and given his short NHL career at this point it’s not totally certain that Brossoit is up to the job. He did, however, do himself a massive favour with his work this season.

Head coach Todd McLellan leaned heavily on starter Cam Talbot this year, but warmed up to Brossoit the longer he had him. Although the rookie goaltender appeared in eight games, he had only four starts after being recalled to the team in mid-January. Two of those starts came in the final eight games of the season.

Overall, Brossoit went 4-1-0 with a 0.928 save percentage, with those four wins being the first of his career after he went winless in six previous contests. He’s now 4-6-1 with a 0.910 save percentage on his NHL career, with this season’s performance helping to balance out an ugly showing over five games at the end of 2015-16.

Those numbers should be good enough, in light of other considerations (projectability, cost, the presence of a reliable starter) for the Oilers to give Brossoit the backup job out of training camp next season. They may also be just low enough to prevent Brossoit from being a priority target for Las Vegas.

Because the league’s expansion rules allow teams to protect just one goalie, the Golden Knights are going to have the option to pick up a lot of different players in Brossoit’s general class. The list of possible selections will likely include Philipp Grubauer, Linus Ullmark, Malcolm Subban and Joonas Korpisalo, along with many others; Brossoit belongs somewhere in that mix but likely not at the top of it. Given the choice between him and someone like Griffin Reinhart or Jujhar Khaira off Edmonton’s roster, Vegas may well opt for the skater.

Bottom line: Brossoit has put himself in a position to take the backup job in Edmonton next year, and probably isn’t quite famous enough for Las Vegas to select him over a long list of other available goaltenders.

  • Markkenko

    I really like Bross, and think that he has a spot on the team for future seasons. The more games he plays, the better he will be. I see his confidence growing.
    Now only if Chia can manage some sort of deal where Vegas claims Pouliot…

  • Dirtbag Daddy

    Vegas also has a cap for next year and I am sure that they have that in mind when they participate in the draft. Why wouldn’t they take Brossoit? They have some smart hockey people in charge as well.

  • kormega

    I don’t think Vegas looking at Brossoit. With options like Fleury/Murray, Gibson/Bernier, Howard/Mrazek, Halak/Greiss, Raanta and other more or less established NHL goalies I can’t imagine they will claim Brossoit.

    • Sir Dudeinstein

      Murray I feel will go, Bernier is a UFA,
      Why not if your thinking outside the box, grab murray, maybe get Ryan Miller as a UFA?
      Neimi/Lehtonen became expendable. But we dont know what under the table deals are going on either.

      • Dirtbag Daddy

        I thought that Vegas need to take 3 goalies. They need a goalie for their farm team. What if Pittsburgh maxed their options and traded Murray to Calgary for a draft pick? At least receive something in return. If Las Vegas should want and take Reinhardt or Khaira I wouldn’t lose any sleep. I would miss Khaira though. If Letestu is exposed do you thing Vegas would draft him?

    • Jonathan Willis

      It’s hard to find scoring in the NHL. I find it very difficult to believe the Oilers will be compelled to give away a 26-year-old who scored 20 goals in a down year.

      • Garnett

        I think it’s all going to boil down to what the cap space is worth. Not for this 17/18 season but 18/19. Are the Oilers going to need that cap space by then? The way I see it, is what you can get for Ebrle in a trade some time in the next year worth more that what you will loose to Vegas if you protect him?

      • Just like I said years ago, purge must be completed for the franchise to move forward, he gave up puck possession to a loose helmet . Is there a stat for that? Give him away, expose him to Vegas, bury him in the minors, whatever, he was given every opportunity and he failed miserably at all of them. Dead weight.

      • kormega

        If Chia will offer 1-year cheap contract to Pakarinen (assume he will take it) then Pouliot and Iiro will be the two forwards meeting exposure requirement (contract under 2017/18 and 40/70 rule) and Letestu could be protected. Is this variant possible?

    • Ivan Drago

      I know Ebs has some value as a player good for 20-25 goals but would a team trade their first rounder for him? If he’s not worth that how can he be worth a coveted spot on the protected list? Leaving him exposed means 6 mill in cap room and protect another player you value. Unfortunately for ebs he just doesn’t do anything other than get his goals, and when it mattered most he went blank in 13 games. Also is he not a UFA in 2 yrs, meaning after next season he will have even less value? Strike now while yo have the opportunity to dump a contract through expansion. I’m sure Vegas would take him.

      • pkam

        So you think we shouldn’t protect Eberle because he is not worth a 1st rounder. May I ask you how many Oilers forwards do you think worth a 1st rounder. Will you protect Maroon, Kassian? Do you think Maroon or Kassian will worth a 1st rounder?

        • Ivan Drago

          A first rounder was an example, because if you trade ebs for a player then I assume you would protect that player. All I’m saying is I don’t think losing ebs and getting 6 mill in cap relief and retaining another player in your org isht such a bad thing.

        • Donnie

          I would protect Maroon and Kassian well before Eberle every day of the year. He might some goals in the regular season but in the playoffs you need to wear your man pants and he seems to not have any.

  • Garnett

    Does anyone know if and when the protected/unprotected list for each team comes out? I’d be interested in seeing who the Oilers leave in protected… Basically, is Ebs “On the list!” or not.

  • vetinari

    I suspect the Vegas team will take three guys whose profiles likely look a bit like this: 1. a mature, past NHL starter who can handle the pressure of being shelled on a weaker expansion team; 2. a mature up and comer who can push the starter for ice time or take it from them; and 3. a quality prospect who can anchor the AHL team and potentially move up if needed and may clear waivers or be trade bait. I would guess a combination like: Howard (or Halak)/Raata/Grubauer. I think Brossoit is likely safe.

  • Sir Dudeinstein

    Does anyone know if theres a restriction on the number of RFA’s and UFA’s Vegas can pick in the expansion draft.
    When Free Agency opens for Vegas, do they have any exceptions to RFA’s or is it the standard compensations?

    • kormega

      Vegas will be granted a 48-hour window prior to the draft to sign any pending free agent (RFA or UFA, one per team) that was left unprotected. If a team loses a player to Vegas during this signing window they will not have a player selected from their roster during this draft.

      Also they have to draft minimum 20 players with contracts for the next seasons, so it leaves 10 slots for free agents.

  • Finnish Oiler fan in Edmonton89

    I just learned that Las Vegas has to pick 3 goalies using their 30 selections

    I honestly thought they would only have to only pick 2 and then just sign someone else. Since they need to take 3 goalies It’s more possible they take LB

    who are they going to share an AHL team with? Or are they going to wait on that for a bit?