NHL Notebook: Is Jake Allen a fit for the Oilers, and news on the Coyotes’ future ‘days or weeks’ away

Photo credit:© Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
4 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers’ turnaround this year has been significant. From one of the worst teams in the NHL, they are now one of the best.
Their early season woes came from many facets, including that of their goaltending, and poor defensive play. While it landed netminder Jack Campbell in the American Hockey League, where he’s seeing much success, it also saw the Oilers bring up Calvin Pickard to backup Stuart Skinner.
His play has been excellent, with a 5-2 record and .915 save percentage, but it begs the question: do the Oilers really need to address their backup goaltending spot?
It’s not often we see goaltenders move mid-season, but when you see a team like the Montreal Canadiens running a three-headed goaltending monster of Jake Allen, Cayden Primeau and Samuel Montembeault, you wonder if one is set to shake loose.
And on Monday morning, Daily Faceoff’s Matt Larkin opined that the Oilers would be an “obvious fit” to acquire Allen:
The Oilers are a juggernaut, winning 16 consecutive games, playing vastly improved defense under new coach Kris Knoblauch. They’ve also been getting the saves they weren’t getting when Jay Woodcroft was behind the bench earlier this season. Since the coaching change, Stuart Skinner is 21-4-0 with a .925 SV% and two shutouts. He has solidified himself as the team’s No. 1, so the Oilers aren’t on the market for a replacement. But they have a real shot at winning a Stanley Cup this season, and Skinner imploded in the playoffs last year to the point he was pulled four times in 12 starts.
While Calvin Pickard has looked competent in relief, he spent most of the last half-decade in the AHL and has never logged a minute of NHL playoff hockey in his career. Allen has 29 playoff games and 23 starts to his name, and his career postseason numbers are low-key outstanding: 2.06 goals-against average,.924 SV%. He would be a much safer insurance policy behind Skinner.
Making the money work would be a challenge for the cap-crunched Oilers, however. They still have $3.85 million of Jack Campbell’s buried $5 million on the cap – the exact same amount as Allen’s AAV. But Campbell has three years left on his deal after this one. Would Montreal really want to take on that albatross? I’d want a first-round pick if I were Hughes.
With the way Calvin Pickard has performed as Stuart Skinner’s backup, is there a need for the Oilers to dive into the goalie market at all? Do they need a more veteran presence between the pipes as a 1B just in case?

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Coyotes future hanging in the balance

Days after the head of the NHL Players Association ripped into the Arizona Coyotes’ arena situation, a report Monday implies we could be close to getting answers about their future.
Locked out of Gila River Arena two years ago due to owed taxes to the City of Glendale, the Coyotes have since been playing out of Mullett Arena, a 4,600-seat arena home to the University of Arizona Sun Devils.
“I have serious concerns about Arizona,” said Walsh Friday during a media availability at the NHL All-Star game. “I’m extremely disappointed with the ownership of Arizona, with the president of Arizona (Xavier Gutierrez). They have not reached out to the NHLPA and talk to us about what the situation in Arizona is.”
During Monday’s episode of Daily Faceoff Live, Frank Seravalli reported we could be learning more about their future soon.
Tyler Yaremchuk: Some scathing words from Walsh last Friday, and it really speaks to the frustration the NHLPA is feeling against the Coyotes organization.
Frank Seravalli: I think it really speaks to the frustration that the players are voicing to Walsh. He’s the guy who has the bully pulpit, who may not have an avenue available to him or the players in the CBA, as the NHLPA can’t determine where these teams play. However, because he doesn’t have that, he can use his voice to explain to fans that players aren’t happy with the situation.
It’s not just the arena part of it, it’s the unsettled nature of “what happens next?” I’ve been saying for months that the Coyotes are on the clock: that’s not my opinion, that’s reporting and fact, and I believe we are within days or weeks of getting some sort of announcement on the Coyotes front, one way or another.
You can listen to the full episode below.

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Updated: Further links and context (2/5/2024)

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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