Photo credit:© Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Potential goaltending targets for the Edmonton Oilers
3 months ago
There are no secrets in the NHL. Your needs are always glaringly obvious, and other general managers are only interested in doing you a favour if it benefits them, which is precisely the situation Ken Holland is in.
Reports suggest that Holland is searching for a new goaltender after Jack Campbell failed to live up to his $5 million per year contract. The options are thin and expensive; however, the team must address the problem, but the playoffs become out of reach.
Stuart Skinner has held down the crease over the last handful of games with a 3-1-0 record since Campbell was sent to Bakersfield. Sitting on the bench waiting for an opportunity is Calvin Pickard, a veteran of 131 games in the NHL. Unfortunately for Pickard, he is not the answer to the problem.
A name being speculated is Juuse Saros. However, Saros’ name is being reported more by fans as a want rather than insiders suggesting the possibility. It is more likely that the Nashville Predators will resign Saros and move on from Yaroslav Askarov, their 11th overall pick in 2020.
The one name being linked to the Edmonton Oilers is Jake Allen. Allen is now 33 years old and splitting time in the crease for the Montreal Canadiens with Samuel Montembeault. This season, the veteran goaltender has a 0.907 save percentage, which is better than those of both Skinner and Campbell. While his save percentage is good, his 3.54 goals-against average is nothing to brag about.
There’s little doubt that Allen would be an upgrade over Campbell and Pickard. The obstacle is his contract, which is $3.850 million, which ends after the 2025 season. Montreal would unlikely take Campbell back in the deal, but if they did, then Edmonton would likely need to retain the difference between Campbell’s $5 million and Allen’s $3.850 million.
While reports suggest that Allen is the main target for Holland, they also noted that Edmonton has expressed interest in Montreal’s other two goaltenders, Montembeault and Cayden Primeau. Of the two, Montembeault would be a better option from a play perspective and a financial one as he holds a cap hit of $1 million.
The 27-year-old has a 0.907 save percentage, too, but at 5-on-5, he has one of the best in the NHL. He holds a 0.944 save percentage and a 1.40 goals-against average through eight games. He’s allowed eight goals at 5-on-5 but holds an expected goals against of 13.38. Montembeault has a 0.888 high danger save percentage at 5-on-5, which is fourth compared to other goaltenders who have played equal or more minutes than him.
Either Allen or Montembeault would be good 1A 1B partners with Skinner. However, if the Oilers want to show their trust in Skinner, a few cheaper backup options would also work well.
Montembeault would headline the list, but another potential target could be Alex Lyon, who’s with the Detroit Red Wings. Many will remember Lyon from his late-season heroics with the Florida Panthers when he posted a 0.914 save percentage in 15 games. Lyon has yet to find that same rhythm this season, having played only one game. What could make him a target is that the Red Wings have two other goaltenders on their roster, Ville Husso and James Reimer, who are an established one-two punch. Lyon has a cap hit of 900K and is a free agent in the summer.
Another cheap option is Anthony Stolarz, who was with the Oilers when they traded Cam Talbot. Stolarz is now with the Florida Panthers, serving as the backup goalie. Like Montreal and Detroit, the Panthers are running a three-man group. Florida is currently waiting for Spencer Knight to make his way back to the NHL. They’re likely in no rush to get Knight back into the league, but when he does, perhaps Stolarz becomes expendable. This season, the veteran goaltender has a 0.917 save percentage, the 18th-best in the league. At 5-on-5, it is even better, with a staggering 0.966 save percentage and a 0.947 high-danger save percentage. If the Oilers are willing to wait for the Panther’s situation to play out, Stolarz could be a cheaper option if Florida is ready to play ball.
Undoubtedly, many of those names aren’t glamorous; however, Campbell was one of those highly touted names and look how that turned out. The Oilers need someone who will stop the puck more often than not. Skinner is capable, but he needs support, and Holland needs to get that done yesterday.
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