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What are the Oilers getting with Anthony Stolarz?

On Friday night, the Oilers finally announced a move that had been rumoured for a few days. They sent veteran goaltender Cam Talbot to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for 25-year-old Anthony Stolarz.

The Flyers selected Stolarz in the second round of the 2012 NHL Draft and he is currently in his fifth professional season. He strikes me as a goalie who is getting to the ‘make-or-break’ portion of his career.

Stolarz has the physical makeup of a modern number one goalie. He’s listed at 6’6 and just a bit over 200 pounds. Safe to say, he takes up a lot of the net.

He’s started 113 games in the American Hockey League throughout his career and has proven he can be successful at that level. In 2015/16, he posted a 0.916 save percentage and a 2.92 GAA in 47 starts. He had a brief stint earlier this season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the Flyers AHL affiliate, and the numbers weren’t pretty. In just five starts he had a 3.58 GAA and a 0.901 save percentage.

He’s gone through some adversity as well, missing close to the entire 2017/18 campaign after undergoing his second surgery in just five months to repair a torn left meniscus. That same knee caused him problems earlier in 2017. He appeared in just four regular season games, three in the AHL and one in the ECHL.  

On December 15th this season, he exited a game with a lower-body injury that kept him out of action for over a month. The injuries at such a young age are definitely a concern.

He’s healthy now and has appeared in 12 NHL games this season with the Flyers producing a 3.33 GAA and a 0.902 SV%. There have been a few rough games this season that have really hurt his numbers. He gave up six goals to the Flames back in December and got shelled for four goals against in a relief appearance against the Jets just three days prior. His best game of the season no doubt came on January 29th when he stopped 38 shots in a shutout performance against the New York Rangers.

He has an even strength save percentage of 0.905, which ranks below Cam Talbots (0.911) and Mikko Koskinen (0.914) and puts him 55th amongst NHL goalies who have played at least 500 minutes this season. He’s done well when faced with high-danger chances, which we know the Oilers give up a lot of. His 0.865 high-danger save percentage ranks 8th among goalies (min. 500 minutes)

Another area I found interesting was his play when his team was shorthanded. The Flyers have had an awful penalty kill this season, currently sitting 27th in the league with a 76.6%, but Stolarz has been one of the leagues better PK stoppers. Granted, he’s only been in net for 56 shorthanded minutes, he ranks 8th in the league in PK SV% with a 0.902 and has a high-danger save percentage of 0.909, which ranks third. The Oilers really struggle on the PK as well, they’re 29th in the league, so Stolarz will likely be tested a lot when he gets between the pipes.

(all numbers via naturalstattrick.com)

His contract is very interesting as well. This season, he has a cap hit of just $760k. The Oilers cleared out over $3.5m in this trade, which is a clear win as it allows them to recall Andrej Sekera come Monday morning.

Talbot was also a UFA at the end of the season while Stolarz is an RFA, so the Oilers could control his rights at the end of the season. The reason I say they “could” is because if Stolarz doesn’t play at least 30 minutes in at least ten of Edmonton’s final 25 games, he becomes a ‘Group IV UFA’ which means he would be free to sign wherever he pleases.

TSN’s Ryan Rishaug is reporting that the Oilers aren’t too concerned with this and they really shouldn’t be. If Stolarz comes in and plays good, then the Oilers should have no problem giving him ten starts. If he comes in, plays poorly, and doesn’t reach the ten game mark, then they likely won’t want to resign him anyways.

All things considered, I like this move by the Oilers. Talbot wasn’t going to come back and now they get a look at a 25-year-old goaltender with great physical attributes, lots of professional experience, and some potential to be a legit backup goaltender next season.

We’ll see how the next 25 games play out.

STOLARZ’S SEASON SO FAR

Season GP GS W L T OT SA GA GAA Sv% SO MIN
2018-19 12 10 4 3 0 3 358 35 3.33 .902 1 630
NHL Career 19 14 6 4 4 539 48 2.86 .911 2 1,006

    • Alfonso

      Most of us see this as an extension of the misery Oil fans are faced with … let’s be honest … neither the Stolarz or Gags deal improved this Oil team one iota …there’s more 75 point seasons ahead for this team …

      • the dope $teez

        It’s going to take a loooong time (ie longer than two days) for Gretzky or whoever the new GM is to undo Chias damage. The important thing is that Gretz is taking the right first steps. He’s accomplished more undoing by now than I thought he would so all we can really do is just see how things go into summer.
        If he can somehow rid us of two of Lucic, Sekera, Russell and then Manning of course, while having a strong draft, we may be able to look at playoffs in two to three years.

        • Beer_League_Ringer

          There will always be a market for experienced, depth D-men at the deadline. Manning fits the pressbox/6th D role to a tee. IMO, the guys “staying” will be Gravel and Petrovic.

  • joilers

    Why not take a good look at a young goalie as a possible backup? There is no risk in giving him 10 starts. The Oilers season is done like my chances with Jennifer Lawrence.

  • camdog

    You never know when/if a young goalie is going to be the next big thing until it happens, it really is like playing darts. He’s got good numbers lately so he should have confidence. Big goalies look small if they are slow going post to post. We’ll see soon enough if that’s a problem playing behind this team.

  • Bills Bills

    The only downside to this trade is Schwartz is going to have a couple months to teach him how to go down early, stay down and be as deep and small in the net as possible.

  • Ass Eatn Szn 69

    Does it matter which goalie we have, get or draft as long as the goalie coaching is still the same and the management who are the culture problem are still here?

  • Serious Gord

    He’s a goalie who was deemed dispensable by the Flyers. ‘Nuff said.

    On (an even) more discouraging note – the oil are, after these past two games, now on track to finish with 75 points. That’s 3 points WORSE than the 78 they got last season.

    Your eyes do not deceive you. This team is more terrible than they were last year. They are going the wrong way.

    • Flint

      Are you sure this is true (although the sentiment remains) the Oilers had 52pts in 58 games after a 4-2 win over the Avs on Feb 18th. This year they lost their 58th game last night to the Isle, but still have 53pts.

      So, they are pretty much on track to be the same team, which is what anyone who had any non-biased assessment of the Oilers would have thought for this year since they are effectively the same team as last year, and with the exact same problems.

    • Kool-Aid Man

      Quitting smoking is definitely healthier than choosing to not invest any emotion into the Oilers. Choosing to not invest any emotion into the Oilers is definitely easier.

      Personally I’m numb and have no energy to care, it’s absolutely no fun to be an Oilers fan anymore and really, other than the 16-17 season, hasn’t been fun for the past 10yrs.. The only thing I hope for now is: at the end of the season, there is a high percentage of fans and corporations that stop financially supporting (season tickets and merchandise) the Oilers.

      Perhaps that some how convinces Katz to clean out the whole, pathetic, crony management team he so dearly covets and replace them with a competent management team. I doubt it but a guy can dream, no?

    • Kool-Aid Man

      They want to see if Stolarz has got the right stuff (he hasn’t been Shwartz’d yet). As far as Bakersfield is concerned, if it isn’t broke why fix it? It also keeps Starrett away from Shwartz, it’s a win-win situation for him.

    • The real minnow

      At the very bottom of the very last thing this organization needs to do is rush yet ANOTHER prospect into playing anywhere near the top of the organization. ANYWHERE NEAR. Keep him in Bakersfield until he’s ready to win the Vezina trophy.

  • Clayton

    Quote from Ken Hitchcock: “This is a test drive for Koskinen (after Cam Talbot trade). What can Koski handle? That’s our priority. What can he accomplish? We want to see how he deals with this, this is a new experience for him and us. Can he handle the type of load that starters handle?” A test drive?? Don’t you usually do a test drive BEFORE you buy? Think the Oilers already BOUGHT on Koskinen!

  • Abagofpucks

    There’s no point in complaining anymore this year the teams fate is sealed in the basement boo hoo. Instead i have a Q is there a GM we could hire that would be able to lure Joel Quenneville.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    The flyers were worried enough about his health issues that they decided it was worth the risk to let Stolarz. go in a trade as he hasnt gained much traction due to his health problems, and for the Oilers he is either a cheap back up they could resign for not a lot next year, or they can qualify him and trade him or let him walk, so really there isnt any risk, they can use some of the games left to assess him and see what way they go with him and for god sakes keep him away from Schwartz, that guy already has Koskinen in bad habits

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      Honestly when I hear that the trade might be for Elliot I wasnt too excited, good cap hit and a yea to go on his contract, this trade is way better as we save some cap space and the Oilers arent tied to him past the season… so a much better trade than what the rumor mill had happening. Stolatz seems happy to be traded a lot less goalies in the crease here than in Philly so better chance to see if he can gain some traction, so we shall see what happens when he gets some games in, lord know he isnt going to get much help from the team in our zone so he’s going to be getting challenged

  • Total Points

    Connor is the greatest player in the game today. He is way above any player on the Oilers. The problem I see is what kind of system do the Oilers play. One system when he is on the ice and one system when he is off the ice?

    I think that needs to be addressed moving forward. When Connor played junior the same problem, all hell would break lose when he was on the ice and not so much later..

    How do the Oilers establish a team identity ?

    • D

      @Total Points – you raise a good point here. And the answer may be to build the rest of the team as the hard-working overachievers of the late 1990s and early 2000s, while Connor is considered an “added bonus”. How many Stanley Cups could the team of Doug Weight, Bill Guerin, and Curtis Joseph have won if McDavid was on that roster?