On the night of November 30, 2013, Laurent Brossoit stopped 30 of 31 shots and backstopped the Oklahoma City Barons to a win. Since that night, he has been the great hope for an organization known for an inability to find the goalie magic via the draft and amateur procurement. This fall, he gets his chance right from the start of the season after being a callup in 2017-18, and after posting 8gp, 1.99 .928 in the show.
Brossoit has some fascinating competition on the way. Consider the save percentages for the other goalies who will play pro below him this season:
- Nick Ellis, now 23, went 34gp, 2.69 .918 in Bakersfield (AHL).
- Edward Pasquale, now 26, went 29gp, 2.43 .919 in Grand Rapids (AHL).
- Shane Starrett, now 23, went 37gp, 1.99 925 with Air Force Academy (NCAA).
These are fine numbers and Brossoit has been consistent at the AHL level (three dates around Christmas 2016 aside). There isn’t much fame behind Cam Talbot but the resumes have some impressive boxcars. As is the case up front, Peter Chiarelli’s Oilers do not resemble the classic roster of a team getting ready for Stanley, but rather of a building team looking for answers to the final questions outstanding. Some pedestrian names are going to get some at-bats this winter, goaltenders included.
FREE AGENTS, 2017
It rolled out in such unusual fashion, I thought it might be an idea to go back and examine the Oilers in free agency. The bigger signings happened late, everyone is making basically the same money, and (as is the case with the goalies) fame has eluded the most of the new hires.
- F Jussi Jokinen: I love the signing because it brings balance and structure to the forward group, and one assumes some real competition to LW. Jokinen has substantial skill and could end up playing with 97 during the year. There are so many applications for Jokinen on this roster the Oilers could use another. He’ll spend the entire season in the lineup if health allows.
- LD Yohann Auvitu: I have him making the opening night roster and playing well enough to hang around all season. He may get some power-play time on the roster too, so the boxcars could exceed some regulars.
- R Ty Rattie: He has scored 27 goals per 82 AHL games during his career and that is a solid total. His competition for NHL work (Draisaitl, Puljujarvi, Slepyshev, Kassian, Caggiula Pakarinen) is solid but in many ways unproven. He is going to need a lot of luck, and second-round picks sometimes don’t get a third chance, but this is a reasonable bet for both player and team.
- LC Brad Malone: Anton Lander’s replacement brings some of the same elements in his play. I have him as an early recall, someone like Joe Gambardella could catch and pass him during the year. My final two spots on the opening night roster go to Jujhar Khaira and Iiro Pakarinen, but Malone, as a center, could force his way into the conversation.
- LD Ryan Stanton: I have him No. 9 on the defensive depth chart, meaning No. 8 with Andrej Sekera’s injury. I have Stanton just ahead of Mark Fayne, but that might be the other way around for Todd McLellan. Either way, Stanton will play in the NHL this season, pretty sure.
- R Mitch Callahan: You know, his resume is pretty damned good. He averages 42 points per 82 AHL games and plays a gritty two-way game. I do not have him on my RE list.
- G Edward Pasquale: It would be easy to overlook Pasquale on the current depth chart, but he has a lot of pro experience compared to the rest of the AHL group. He has been solid since sitting out the 2014-15 season recovering from hip surgery.
- LD Keegan Lowe: I do have him as a recall option, Dillon Simpson is ahead of him on my list, so that puts Lowe at about No. 12 (sometimes those defensemen make an NHL appearance, sometimes a team uses fewer or acquires other options). He could play this season with the Oilers.
- R Brian Ferlin: He is a promising longer term option but this season probably sees Ferlin play exclusively in the AHL and staying healthy. A strange and difficult career path, I’ll be cheering for him.
- LC Grayson Downing: One cool aspect of this signing? Downing is not an AHL veteran, meaning there are no restrictions (AHL teams can only dress a certain number of veterans). I’m not sure we know what he is yet (48 points per 82 AHL games) but he is an interesting prospect.
WHAT’S UP WITH LEON?
Nothing shaking but that’s not a big deal. Arizona, Nashville, Carolina and New Jersey have $10 million to spend if they wish but the chances of this happening remains a distant bell based on history.