Goaltending has been an issue for the Oilers this season. I mean, many things have been an issue for the Oilers this season, but with Cam Talbot on the injured reserve for the new few weeks, goaltending has jumped to the forefront among Edmonton’s problems.
Laurent Brossoit and AHL call-up Nick Ellis are currently manning the net for the Oilers, which isn’t exactly ideal when the team has to jump over almost all of the Western Conference to get into a playoff spot. That brings us to this week’s What Would You Do Wednesday question. How would you address the Oilers’ goaltending situation?
Stick with Brossoit and Ellis
The first option, really, is just to wait it out. Talbot isn’t supposed to be out for very long. When he placed on the injured reserve on Nov. 30, it was said he would only miss a week, but that’s now been stretched to two weeks. Still, it apparently isn’t a serious injury, meaning Talbot should be back before Christmas at the latest, barring a setback.
Brossoit has played in eight games this season and he’s started five. In those games he owns a pretty ugly .872 save percentage. That’s significantly worse than the .928 save percentage he put up in eight games last season after the Oilers parted ways with Jonas Gustavsson. That showing was good enough to earn him the team’s backup role in 2017-18.
Nick Ellis was inked to a two-year entry-level deal back in 2016 after a very good season for Providence College in the NCAA. In his first professional season with the Bakersfield Condors, Ellis posted a respectable .918 save percentage, and this season he’s been just as solid, owning a .914 save percentage through 11 games.
Neither have NHL pedigree, but both Brossoit and Ellis have been solid at the AHL level. Is that enough to give the two of them the reigns until Talbot is back?
LOOK FOR HELP
Based on the hole the Oilers have dug for themselves early on, there isn’t much time to sit around and see if Brossoit or Ellis are good enough to fill Talbot’s spot.
Ellis is a complete enigma, we really have no idea what to expect. Brossoit has played in two games since Talbot went on the injured reserve, and while he showed flashes of excellence, he didn’t put together 60 minutes of strong play. Against the Leafs, he allowed a couple soft goals off the hop then battled the rest of the way, and against the Flames, he had a great first two periods, but almost threw the game away in the third.
The Oilers’ season could swirl down the drain with two more weeks of shoddy goaltending. Brossoit, 24, has allowed five or more goals in three of his last five starts and has an .872 save percentage this season.
Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli is working the phones to acquire a stopgap in Talbot’s absence, hastened by Brossoit’s shaky outing on Saturday night as Edmonton nearly blew a 6-1 lead in the Battle of Alberta. Talbot is expected to be out until at least Dec. 14, according to coach Todd McLellan.
There are a handful of teams out there with more experienced NHL backup options who fit the bill as rentals…
- Michael Neuvirth in Philadelphia has .912 career save percentage in 236 NHL games (though he is injured).
- Chad Johnson in Buffalo has a .913 career save percentage in 148 NHL games.
- Michael Hutchinson, currently playing with Winnipeg’s AHL team, has a career .910 save percentage in 99 NHL games.
Seravalli also cites a few other options…
- Petr Mrazek in Detroit. He has a .912 save percentage in 153 career NHL games. At one time, he appeared to be the goalie of the future in Detroit, but he’s struggled the past two seasons. He’s an RFA at the end of the year.
- Calvin Pickard with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL. Pickard had a decent run with Colorado and owns a .914 save percentage in 86 NHL games. He was claimed by Vegas in the expansion draft then dealt to Toronto after clearing waivers. He has a .933 save percentage with the Marlies.
- Garrett Sparks with the Toronto Marlies. Sparks has been a very good goalie at the AHL level but was mediocre in his 17-game showing on an awful Leafs team back in 2016. This season, he has a .944 save percentage in 14 AHL games.
What say you, Nation? Do we trust the young duo of Nick Ellis and Laurent Brossoit to get the job done while Cam Talbot is on the injured reserve? Or do the Oilers need to find another goalie on the trade market? Also looking beyond Talbot’s injury, do the Oilers need a better backup so they don’t have to ride their starter into the ground?
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