In looking at the Edmonton Oilers goaltending situation for 2010-11, there are two main questions: how healthy will Nikolai Khabibulin be? which of the two young G’s will the Oilers choose to move forward with?
I think the answers are “not as much as hoped” and Devan Dubnyk. The Oilers are going to be forced to choose between the two youngsters during training camp, as both are waiver eligible. The organization COULD end up placing Khabibulin on IR and keeping the kids, but I suspect Gerber would grab one of the remaining jobs.
No. This training camp is about their “goalie of the future” and my feeling is DD gets the nod. Why? I think it comes down to Deslaurier’s inconsistency. He is clearly an exceptional athlete capable of stunning saves, but he’s also shown a galling tendency to fall back into bad old habits at the worst possible time. Deslauriers is my pick to be sent away.
The next question is “how much will Khabibulin play?” and my answer is not much, at least early. This is a player who was born during the Nixon administration and the Golden era of Tony Orlando & Dawn. Add to that the fact that Khabibulin hasn’t played a game in anger for most of a calendar year and one suspects the rust is going to be real and the chance of injury greater based on age and lack of activity. Dubnyk is unlikely to be the opening night starter, but I think he ends up playing a lot on the back end of the season when the “evaluation” period begins anew.
- Boxcars: 19gp, 3.57
- SP: .889
- W-L-T: 4-10-2
- SP behind starter: .020
- Caphit: $800,000 times 2
- What do these numbers tell us? His boxcars are poor, the worst of the rookie goaltenders who played 1,000 or more minutes this season. His overall EV SP (.902) is close to JDD’s (.905) and his late-season performance was very good. In his final 10 games Dubnyk’s SP was .912 overall.
- How could these numbers be better? He needed to perform at the level of his final 10 games, but we didn’t get to see it. There’s no real conclusion we can draw from these numbers, except to say we all “saw him good” at the end of the season and he appears to be a more substantial goalie than JDD. Really what the Oilers need to do is decide on one of the young G and then devote a couple of seasons to developing them. I think they’ll pick Dubnyk.
- How confident are you about this choice? About 60/40. I think the young G Edmonton picks will end up playing more games than the veterans (why bother having Gerber fly sorties when you’re ensconced deep in the 2nd division?) The reasons I’ve picked Dubnyk? More consistent, his arrows are pointing in the right direction, Deslauriers is a free agent next summer and might cost way more than he’s worth.
- What if you’re wrong? Being wrong on the internet? Oh the humanity.
- How important is he to the organization? He could be a big part of the future. Or he could drift off into a journeyman’s career. It is my guess he’s earned to opportunity over the other guy.
- Were you influenced by anyone re: this decision? Yes. Asiaoil. Asiaoil has earned the reputation of being a solid on the goalies. AO:
- Dubnyk is the better option because he is 2 years younger than JDD and is significantly further along in terms of development than JDD was at the same age.
- After a rough initial period of getting used to the NHL game after his first call up (common for young goalies) he outplayed the more experienced JDD down the stretch. SPR was decent with Dubnyk who they relied on a lot and was absolutely awful without him.
- Athletic goalies with bad technique look like JDD – occasionally spectacular but having a tendency to regularly let in a soft goal. Making the big save is not however what keeps you employed in the NHL – it’s eliminating the softies which cost wins. Although he is not as athletic – Dubnyk’s technique is way better than JDDs who still has frighteningly big holes in his game. NHL goaltending is about consistency and that is something that JDD has never shown anywhere in his pro resume.
- It’s no contest – you keep DD and give him 30 starts next year with a vet to continue his development. The latter part of the season showed that DD has potential – whether that potential is realized is another issue – but we already know JDD’s upside is backup NHL goalie and should not waste any more development time (and wins) on that.
Prediction for 2010-11: 30gp, 3.21 .902
Big man gets a huge opportunity in the NHL