Busy day, so I figured why not share my thoughts on 3 topics regarding the Oilers.
First off, Jonas Gustavsson is out, and the Oilers need a new backup.
While some on Twitter have said there is no need to rush, simply bring in Brossoit for the time being and worry about outside options closer to the deadline or wait until the offseason (??insanity??). I say the complete opposite, every win/point matters right now for the Oilers, so based on my look at the standings they have 10 days to find themselves a quality back-up.
Here is my breakdown of just how much a quality backup goalie could mean to this team in the last half of the season.
Games they would likely play:
Jan 20th vs Nashville or Jan 21st @ Calgary (back to backs)
Jan 26th vs San Jose (second of a back to back)
Feb 3 vs Carolina (second of back to back)
Feb 22 vs Florida (second of back to backs)
March 18 vs Vancouver (Lots of hockey in March, weak opponent)
March 23 @ Colorado (weak team, second of back to backs)
April 9th vs Vancouver (depending on playoff scenario)
That’s 7 games, or 14 potential points in the standings. Having Gustavsson would have likely resulted in something like a 2-5 record, only really beating the weaker teams. A struggling Laurent Brossoit means you might go 3-4. Not good enough for a team that isn’t exactly in a comfy play-off spot right now
But going out and getting a quality veteran, with big game experience or a solid track record could result in these 7 games being something that cements the Oilers into a playoff spot, and even gives them the confidence to rest Cam Talbot a little more down the stretch. If you’re Peter Chiarelli, it might also show the locker room that you arent going to sit on your hands, you want to help them win.
Who’s out there? Well most names have been talked about in great detail for the past few weeks so I won’t dig into them too much, but here’s my brief list:
- Jaroslav Halak: If the Isles take Fayne, I’d do it. If not, then I say no. You don’t want to be attached to that cap hit next season. Apart from the contract situation he would be a dream fit. But it’s a salary cap era, so who knows.
- Ondrej Pavelec: He holds a worse GAA, but better SV% when compared to Laurent Brossoit, and the experience gives him the edge in my mind. His contract is up at years end, so if he doesn’t work there is no real loss and I’m sure Winnipeg just wants to lose the salary.
- Andrew Hammond: Do we need a guy to get hot during the stretch drive or no? All jokes aside, he was a one hit wonder, but maybe he can reclaim that form for a few games in 2017. Not the worst option (because Gustafsson is) but he certainly isn’t the best option either.
- Anton Khudobin: Sub par backup, would be a decent fit if it’s an hour before the deadline and Chiarelli needs to do something. Similar to Hammond though, we’ve seen him get hot for a while, but every goalie does. I would avoid.
- Curtis McElhinney: “Claim him for free!” Well its not that easy, the Oilers have 48 contracts and are 2 away from the limit. You have to be careful when adding another one without one going out because you don’t want to handcuff yourself at the trade deadline. A low level prospect, and then I would take the man they call C-Mac.
- Eddie Lack/Cam Ward: Each have a year left after this season, but it’s not as bad as Jaroslav Halak. If the Cane’s decide to deal one for some value before losing one to the expansion draft, Chiarelli should be all over it. With that said, the Cane’s are still somehow competitive right now and they also might prefer to lose one to the expansion draft over a younger player. But keep an eye out for these two.
- Jhonas Enroth: Do the Leafs pump and dump him for some value at the deadline? It would be the Leafs thing to do. He has a decent track record, I like him personally, was a name I wanted Chiarelli to look at in July. I would want to see some decent games out of him first, which pushes back the timeline, which contradicts what i said earlier about doing this quickly. So maybe not a fit, but a name to keep in mind nonetheless.
For those saying to “buck up” and go after Fleury. Using that amount of assets on a backup goalie is insane. You need quality, but don’t have to go get another bonafide #1. Those assets (picks/prospects) are better off spent on RW help or a d-man for the powerplay after the season.
There is more to developing a hockey player than his minutes during games. Being around the NHL coaching staff and NHL caliber practices helps a young kid. Also when going to a new country, that adjustment can be hard for anyone, nevermind an 18-year-old kid in an insane hockey market.
I didn’t mind the move to keep him around, but now they’ve gotten to work with him a little and he has some familiarity with the culture and what he needs to work on. The whole RFA year lost thing sucks, but sometimes that’s the price you have to pay (bad MacT reference).
In the long-run I think this first stint helps Jesse realize what it takes to be an NHL’er and what living in Edmonton is like. He should be much more comfortable come next September, and I think we’ll see that comfort level translate into some on-ice success.
I heard an interview on the Jason Gregor Show today where Patrick Maroon talks about how important confidence is in this league. That rings true with what Pouliot is going through.
Trust me I swear at the TV and get irritated when he turns over the puck just like everyone else, but I also see some very bad calls on him, and some good efforts that arent rewarded. Despite all the negativity, you need to remember this is still a quality vet who, when confident, can play in all scenarios (PP & PK) and contribute 5v5. If he starts shooting the puck more (currently 2.5 shots/60 off his career average) I have faith that he can bounce back and be an important contributor to the Oilers down the stretch and into the playoffs (PLAYOFFS?!?!).
The Oilers will be going to a two jersey system next year, as will the entire league when Adidas takes over production for the whole league. An awful decision league-wide. Lot’s of great jerseys will be left behind in the Reebok era including the “Cannon Blue Jackets”, “Handwritten Minnesota Wild”, “Yellow Crown Kings” “Big O Senators” “Classic Stars Over Capitals”. Sorry those were tough to describe.
As for the Oilers, they will be ditching the home blues and will be making their orange jersey’s the new home set. I love the oranges so I’m not that upset, but I will miss the blues. It was classic Oilers. With that said, it will be interesting to see if they go to a different road set similar to the ones used in the old WHA days (pictured). That might be cool.
Other team jersey news: The New Jersey Devils will be revamping their whole set, which should be interesting. Also I’m interested to see if the Winnipeg Jets will go back to the old school logo based on how popular it’s been this year. Also keep an eye out for the Blues, who could go back to their bright Blues that were used in the Winter Classic.
I’ll be keeping tabs on all the changes for the next year!