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.