Frankly, goalies drive me crazy. They’re inconsistent, rarely put back-to-back seasons together that resemble each other and are famously bad drivers. None of that is true (well, they are inconsistent as a group) but it feels true. If I asked you to name the five best goalies in the NHL, what would your answer be? According to straight save percentage (via NHL.com) the list would be Carey Price, Devan Dubnyk, Steve Mason, Cam Talbot and Corey Schneider. Last year’s top 5? Josh Harding, Tuukka Rask, Semyon Varlamov, Carey Price, Anton Khudobin. How about EV save percentage? Pretty much the same, although Pekka Rinne climbs into this year’s top five overall.
Ken Holland of the Detroit Red Wings put it straight years ago: If you’re not paying one of the three or four best in the league (Price, etc), then grab a guy from the enormous pool of goaltenders who are basically the same guy. Pay them well, but not too much, and keep them around until they can’t stop pucks as well as the next guy.
I’m never going to criticize MacT’s hiring of Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth because that’s the correct play. He won’t do it, and one can hardly blame him (MacT is on his last legs as a GM imo), but going right back to the same pool and grabbing Martin Jones is a far better move than overpaying for the continued erosion of an increasingly injury prone Craig Anderson. I think Edmonton spends incredible dollars on Antti Niemi this summer and there are worse ideas, one of them being trading qualified youth and picks for 32-year old goalies who can’t stay healthy.
I like Laurent Brossoit as an option but only to the point of ‘well, he’s a guy who could help let’s see how things go’ and for me that’s a completely reasonable guy to acquire. Let’s get three more like him, two for the NHL and one more for the AHL, and see how things roll. Let’s stay away from drafting a goaltender in Round 1 (although Vladar sounds promising) and acquire talent through college signings, minor trades that are good bets and waivers. Using first-round picks is for teams who know what the hell they’re looking for and Edmonton isn’t on the list. The one guy they’ve drafted this century with pedigree didn’t work out due to a monstrous two months that does not in any way resemble his career path.
We’ll be hearing this young man’s name a lot in the next few weeks, Elliotte Friedman has him visiting the Oilers after the completion of the Frozen Four. The Oilers have a chance, along with Buffalo, Calgary, Vancouver and the Rangers (according to Mr. Friedman). That would certainly qualify as an astute addition, as it costs only money and his resume looks good. Sign O’Connor, bring him to camp with the idea he shares the Bakersfield net with Brossoit next season and let’s see who wins the day.
CURRENT DEPTH CHART
- G Ben Scrivens
- G Viktor Fasth (UFA)
- G Richard Bachman (UFA)
- G Laurent Brossoit
- G Tyler Bunz (RFA)
- G Frans Tuohimaa (RFA)
Bachman is probably the most qualified of the free agents but I don’t see any of them coming back. Craig MacTavish is probably going to turn over an enormous portion of the roster at this position. A new No. 1 goalie in Edmonton, a solid backup in the AHL and new blood bubbling under. We could see a fall training camp list that looks like this:
- Antti Niemi (free-agent signing)
- Ben Scrivens
- Laurent Brossoit
- Matt O’Connor (college free-agent signing, he would be in competition with Brossoit for AHL No. 1)
- Michael McNiven (he should be available in the third round)
- Keven Bouchard
- Jordan Papirny (drafted)
The club would have to sign someone for the ECHL team but they might be able to bring back Bunz, Tuohimaa or Ty Rimmer as options outside the 50-man list. For me, I’d prefer leaving the early draft picks to other positions and not spending huge dollars on a big name free agent. I don’t think Craig MacTavish has that kind of rope this summer.
LOWETIDE TOP 10, 2015 DRAFT
- (1)C Connor McDavid, Erie Otters (OHL) 47GP, 44-76-120 (2.55) 5GP, 2-6-8 playoffs
- (2)C Jack Eichel, Boston U (NCAA) 38GP, 24-43-67 (1.76)
- (3)R Mitch Marner, London Knights (OHL) 63GP, 44-82-126 (2.00) 5GP, 8-5-14 playoffs
- (4)C Dylan Strome, Erie Otters (OHL) 68GP, 45-84-129 (1.90) 5GP, 4-3-7 playoffs
- (5)D Noah Hanifin, Boston College (NCAA) 37GP, 5-18-23 (.622)
- (6) D Ivan Provorov, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) 60GP, 15-46-61 (1.02) 5GP, 0-3-3 playoffs
- (8) R Evgeni Svechnikov, Cape Breton (QMJHL) 55GP, 32-46-78 (1.42) 5GP, 1-4-5 playoffs
- (7) D Zach Werenski, Michigan (NCAA) 35GP, 9-16-25 (.714)
- (10) C Mathew Barzal, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) 44GP, 12-45-57 (1.30) 4GP, 3-2-5 playoffs
- (9) D Oliver Kylington, Farjestad (SHL). 18GP, 2-3-5 (.278)
If the Oilers decide to use both first-round picks, they could help themselves for a long time. They could add Marner or Strome with the lottery pick and then trade up for one of the falling blue (Kylington or Werenski might make it to No. 15, you never know); they could also draft Hanifin or Provorov and then hope Barzal falls to a point where they could trade up. This is a massive draft. Why settle for one impact prospect when two are within reach?
— Cody Nickolet (@DubFromAbove) April 5, 2015
Greg Chase is on fire. I can’t wait to see him at the pro level, and this fall’s training camp should be very interesting. That first Bakersfield team should be fascinating to track, it could include two high picks (Draisaitl, Nurse) along with some impressive young forwards (Yakimov, Pakarinen, Chase, Slepyshev) and defensemen (Laleggia but also the current crop in OKC).
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
We hit the ground running after the long weekend, 10 this morning TSN 1260. Scheduled to appear:
- Scott Burnside, ESPN. This is as wide open a Stanley Cup chase as I can recall. Crazy.
- Jeff Krushell, Krush Sports. Time begins on opening day!
- Dennis King, Oilogosphere Icon. We’ll talk about the Cali trip and Saturday night.
- Bob Weeks, SCOREGolf and TSN golf analyst. Masters preview.
10-1260 on text, @Lowetide_ on twitter. Talk soon!