Reasonable Expectations Review: 09-10 Goalies

The Edmonton Oilers believe in Jeff Deslauriers. How do we know? This season has been devoted (after the Khabibulin injury) to seeing if they can count on him as a #1 goalie into the future.

His results over a long period have suggested the answer is “no.” JDD is about where Devan Dubnyk is: a legit prospect with enough ability to be in the mix for goaltending jobs, but also in need of some good fortune in order to establish himself in the show.

No matter, goalies who reach a certain level of experience often get a second, third or even fourth opportunity with different organizations. It’s a case of “well, he has some experience and that other team must have seen something in him.” When injury hits, and if you’re in the mix, you’ve got a chance to play in the NHL once the resume says “big league experience.”

Deslauriers has played in 46 NHL games and has gained some degree on infamy. He might end up having a career similar to men like Jason LaBarbera (4 organizations), Wade Flaherty (5 organizations), Corey Scwhab (4 organizations), Ty Conklin (6 organizations). Gary Smith played for 7 NHL teams.

I don’t think the Oilers believe he’ll be a journeyman goalie. Before the season was lost (and after the Khabibulin injury) there was a window of opportunity to trade for another goalie and the team chose not to do so. That train of thought reasonably suggests that the Oilers will be willing to run with JDD again next winter should Khabibulin break down again in 10-11.

It also points out that the Oilers clearly believe Dubnyk is a step behind. A small audition for the big western kid was hardly enough to prove himself and the fact that the team returned to Deslauriers so quickly again shows a bias for the Quebec goaler.

Here are the “reasonable expectations” I posted for each goalie before the season, compared to their current number. You can look at the original post by clicking on each G’s name below.

  • Khabibulin: Predicted- 48gp, 2.88 .914
  • Khabibulin: Actual-18gp, 3.03 .909

Aside from the injury, Khabibulin’s numbers aren’t far off from reasonable expectation, but of course his injury is the story of the season at this position. I think the Oilers might be exploring a way to get out of this contract but if Khabibulin can play at all they’ll be on the hook. It should be mentioned that there are rumors around the city that the veteran Russian is absolutely done, his injuries too severe to continue.

  • Deslauriers: Predicted- 27gp, 3.19 .898
  • Deslauriers: Actual- 36gp, 3.19 .900

That’s pretty close to spot on. Deslauriers has some positives: he’s durable, he’s confident and he’s young. I don’t know what his ceiling is as a goalie but this season has given him that good fortune discussed above, with the question now being “has he taken advantage of it to the point the organization feels confidence in him moving forward?” My guess is they do.

  • Dubnyk: Predicted- 7gp, 3.29 .899
  • Dubnyk: Actual- 9gp, 4.17 .861

Numbers are off from the predicted total but in a very small sample. We can say that Dubnyk hasn’t done enough to convince the coaching staff he should be used in tandem with JDD. The next question for him is “has he done enough to show he’s worth keeping 3 goalies in 10-11?” or “would the organization run with JDD and DD if Khabibulin is done?” and I believe the answer in both cases is no.

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