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Oilers place Al Montoya on waivers for purpose of assignment

According to a tweet that just came out from the Oilers, Al Montoya has been placed on waivers for the purpose of assignment to the Bakersfield Condors, ending the conversation (for now) about who will start the season as the backup goalie.

After having a slow start to the pre-season, Mikko Koskinen wasn’t exactly endearing himself to the Oilers faithful and actually seemed to be causing more questions than he was offering answers. Some of the goals he’s allowed during these warm-up games have not been great to put it lightly, and that led many to wonder if Al Montoya could sneak in there and steal the backup job. But after having a solid outing last night against the Coyotes, Koskinen clearly did enough to cement his place on the roster and send Al Montoya to the waiver wire with the intent of sending him to the Bakersfield Condors.

An interesting part of this transaction, for me, is that Shane Starrett will get the call to be the emergency backup on the Europe trip to Germany and Sweden. Obviously, there’s only a teeny tiny chance that he Starrett gets anywhere close to playing but you’d have to think that the guy is pretty excited about being able to experience an overseas roadie with an NHL team. That’s a once in a lifetime experience that he’ll never forget, and you also have to believe that seeing how the pros do it offers a taste of the good life that will only benefit his drive to succeed moving forward. At least, you’d hope.

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Anyway… With the regular season inching closer, the roster is starting to take its final shape and another position is now locked down as we found out that Koskinen’s early blunders were not enough to see him punted from the spot he was signed to fill. As for Al Montoya, it will be pretty interesting to see what the future holds for him because you’d have to think that the organization would want some of their younger goaltending options to play the bulk of the minutes in Bakersfield, right? Then again, maybe it would be nice to have a veteran goaltender down there to help mentor a young goalie like Stuart Skinner? That is, of course, unless someone decides to pick Montoya up off waivers. Needless to say, there are still questions about how everything will work out in terms of overall deployment but today’s move certainly gives us a better idea. We wait.

Source: Edmonton Oilers, Official Twitter Account, 9/28/2018 – 9:00 am MT

  • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

    Honestly I don’t mind this at all. While fans will be spinning this as “the Oilers need to justify the $2.5M” I see it as two things.

    1. The cap hit would be the same regardless of who played.
    2. Montoya is a veteran goalie and you need that to help mentor the young kids in Bakersfield.

  • Koskinen didn’t have to clear waivers and probably would have been better served playing a bunch of games early in the AHL to hone his skills on the smaller ice rather than sitting on the bench watching most of the time. Then next month send Montoya down and bring him back up

    • Kevwan

      The only problem with this strategy is that in a month time it’s almost certain that other teams will have goalie injuries and the roster spot to pick up Montoya. Right now they don’t have the room. Otherwise I agree that it would be better to get Koskinen time in Bakersfield with Montoya up.

  • Spydyr

    Come on people, did you really think Chia would send his 2.5 million buck backup goalie to the minors? That would have made him look foolish. The best case scenario for everyone involved is some other fool picks up Montoya off of waivers.

    • A-co

      Say a team picks up Montoya off waivers and CAUSE IT’S IN does prove he can’t play in the NHL…where would that leave PISTOL PETE and the Oilers?? Can Talbot play 80 games??stay tuned…..

    • TKB2677

      Montoya is a 33, going to be 34 yr old career mediocre at best NHL back up. He might be capable of giving you 15 OK starts if you are lucky but in those starts, you better score a lot of goals. There is zero upside to him. He is what he is. I don’t like the Koskinen contract because I think it’s too much money but there is at least a chance he might be something There is NO upside to Montoya.

    • Big Nuggets

      Montoya will be perfect for Bakersfield. They get a solid tender and mentor for the young team. Goaltending can sink a team or raise it. Having something to play for is the most important factor in the effort a player gives. Strong goaltending should help the young team to compete for playoffs and get the most development possible out of a nice group of prospects.

  • JariCurry

    The Oil have invested in Koskinen for a reason. Better to keep his confidence high and build him up than to demote him. On the trip he can bond with the team. Sure he is older than pujl, but probably needs some adjustment etc to feel at home/part of the team. He will be fine.

  • VK63

    When jobs that are supposedly up for grabs are in fact, pre-ordained, the pretence of competition and ancillary things like organizational integrity are essentially a farce.
    Why change.
    Things have been going swimmingly…. right?

    • Kneedroptalbot

      Jobs up for grabs? Come on smell the coffee. Chiarelli signs Ludicrous contracts to players (Lucic, Kassian, Strome, Benning)….do you think they will play?? “The Gift that keeps Giving”. Ice Time.

  • btrain

    This just proves Montoya didn’t even have a chance. Giving him 20 minutes in pre-season is just a shame. Koskinen was gifted the job based on the 2.5 mill they paid for him, end of story. There is no telling how badly Koskinen would have had to perform in the preseason, regardless of Montoya’s performance, for him to lose the backup spot. I think what is most discouraging is that there were good options to play this a little more carefully. Send Koskinen down to work on his game, don’t risk losing Montoya or having him take development time from the youngsters, and revaluate as you go. Montoya is not likely to light the world on fire, although he has in the past in the NHL, but he is as safe a bet as any to backup at this level.

    I think its also a shame that the Oilers may yet again be the landing spot for a decent career to die! Hope for Montoya’s sake he gets picked up by another team as he was not give a fair chance in Edmonton.

    • Derian Hatcher

      If the Oilers thought Montoya was a cpable backup, they would have brought in koskinen. Everyone saw what Montoya was capable of last season as a backup. Obviously, the Oilers thought they needed someone better. Not sure if Koskinen is that guy, but it’s apparent they they don’t think Montoya IS that guy.

      • btrain

        Doesn’t that just further prove the incompentance of management? In his brief stint with the Oil last year, besides a couple tough outings (normal for ALL tenders), for a team that quite frankly sucked, he did just fine. Even shut the door completely on a couple early relief appearances. He also has a 9 year NHL track record to hang your hat on. Not 5 total games like Koskinen. Anyway, I just think they handled the situation poorly from day 1 and not respecting the body of work of a veteran NHLer or even give him a reasonable chance to earn his spot, may come back to bite them.

        • Derian Hatcher

          Not diagreeing with you at all. Just saying that the Oilers obviously didn’t think the same. If Koskinen plays well, their decision looks good. If not, well…..