I think JDD needs a more colorful nickname. “Boris the Spider” or “Jimmy Legs” or “the Crab” but something that gives him some personality and establishes him as unique. That’s his problem, I think. Jeff Deslauriers has been a pro for 6 years, has now enjoyed a full rookie season and the Oilers are no clearer on him than they were one year ago. If they were certain he was clearly better than Dubnyk the contracts would have been much different that sending JDD to UFA status and retaining Dubnyk for two seasons at $800,000.
With the organization likely having to choose between their two young goalies this fall, my bet is Devan Dubnyk (Big D? the Big Dub? the Big Dube?) wins the day. I’m listing Deslauriers because he could end up being everything from the everyday starter to lost on waivers. It is a crazy time in Oilerville.
- Boxcars: 48gp, 3.26
- SP: .901
- WLT: 16-28-4
- SP behind starter: .008
- Cap hit: $1,050,000 for the season (UFA 2011)
- What do these numbers tell us? There were 6 rookie goalies who played over 1,000 minutes in the NHL last season. They were: Rask (Bos) .931; Howard (Det) .924; Varlamov (Was) .909; Gustafsson (Tor) .902; Deslauriers (Edm) .901 and Dubnyk (Edm) .889. The top 3 goalies on the list played for good to great hockey clubs, while the bottom three played for the dregs. If you had an expansion pick and were choosing between Gustafsson, JDD or DD, which one would you choose? Would it matter? It gets back to my original point about him (and really DD, although I think there’s a better goalie there): he’s average or below. A team hoping to win the Stanley 5 years from today can’t build their G on average or below.
- How could these numbers be better? JDD does have one year’s experience now and must have picked up a few things along the way. I don’t think his resume looks like a starting goaltender’s, but it is also true this is a tough position to project (partly because it relies so heavily on the quality of the men in front of the goalie).
- What about injury? He’s healthy. That should be a consideration, because goaltenders who can play (and cost around 1M) can have long careers.
- What about a trade? The Oilers do like him, but it is likely that Tambellini will deal one of the kids. Deslauriers probably has more trade value based on his NHL experience.
- What now? You’re keeping Dubnyk but JDD has more value? A team trading for Dubnyk is getting a two-year, $800,000 prospect with 19 games of NHL experience. Deslauriers is the more established player, and NHL General Managers looking for a backup would probably place more value on JDD’s experience.
- The Oilers might just send down Dubnyk. They might, and who knows there’s so many goalies around that the Big Dube could clear waivers and stay down all year. But I wouldn’t count on it. With NK’s problems the Oilers will likely make certain that they don’t lose a young G to waivers. Gerber is the guy they’ll send down to Okla City.
- Maybe they’ll keep all 3! Great, another year of not making a decision. The Oilers do have some unusual circumstances here, beginning with Khabibulin’s physical.
- Could he start in front of a healthy Khabibulin? I don’t think so. His EV was .905, which trails the veteran (.924) by a lot and isn’t much better than Dubnyk’s (.902).
- How important is he to the organization? I don’t know if he’s in the long term plans. The Oilers have to choose sooner or later between the two young goaltenders OR flush both of them and go another direction. Olivier Roy is going to have something to say about it sooner or later.
Prediction for 2010-11: 18gp, 3.33 .900
Free Agent a year from now