A Look at Edmonton Oilers Goaltending

 

Oiler Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin

The Edmonton Oilers probably won’t make the playoffs in the 2010-11 season. Many prognosticators are already predicting that the Oil will finish dead last in the Western Conference, and it’s only August. Obviously over the course of a long hockey season, anything can happen, but the Oilers are in a re-build mode, and the most important thing for the team is start developing the promising talent they have in the system, starting with last year’s first overall pick Taylor Hall. The Oilers have made a few minor moves in the offseason, but all signs point to another losing season in Edmonton. Last week, the Oilers signed veteran netminder Martin Gerber to a two-way contract, and he will likely battle for a starting job on the Oilers farm team. With Gerber now in the system, the Oilers have four NHL level goalies, and it’s anyone’s guess who will be on the bench come the start of the season.

Nikolai Khabibulin

The 37 year old Russian hasn’t exactly had a great career in Edmonton thus far. The former Stanley Cup champion signed a four year deal worth $15 million dollars with the Oilers on July 1st, 2009, but played only 18 games before undergoing surgery for a herniated disk in his back and sat out the remainder of the season. His record wasn’t stellar, going 7-9-2 with 3.03 goals against average. In February, he was arrested for speeding and impaired driving and was forced to appear in court. If he is convicted, the Oilers could void his contract, but there’s no indication that will happen. Assuming his legal issues and back problems are resolved by training camp, he will be the Oilers number one goalie.

Martin Gerber

Signed as an insurance policy for the Oilers AHL affiliate the Springfield Falcons, the 35 year Swiss born goaltender will likely not see NHL action unless there are injuries to the other three Oiler goalies. Since his playoff run with Carolina in 2006, Gerber’s career has been less than notable. He went through stints with the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs, but found little success. Last season he played in the KHL, but suffered a serious neck injury and was hospitalized. He is fully recovered now, and is hoping for another fresh start in the Oilers organization.

Devan Dubnyk

The rookie started 19 games for the Oilers last year, and while his numbers weren’t great, he managed to show some potential playing for such a terrible team. Dubnyk recently re-signed with the Oilers for two years on a way one contract, signaling that he could be the back-up to Khabibulin in the upcoming season.

Devan Dubnyk (goaliej54- Wikimedia)

Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers

Long pegged as the goalie of the future in Edmonton, Deslauriers was thrust into a starting role last year when Khabibulin was injured, but didn’t fare exceptionally well. Many thought the Oilers had given him enough chance to develop and would let him go, but Edmonton puzzled many by signing him to a one year contract extension. The contract extension indicates that there’s probably uncertainly surrounding Khabibulin’s status, and Deslauriers is another body to have in case of injury, and despite poor numbers he has proven that he is capable of playing at the NHL level. Needless to say, however, goaltending may not be the shinning point of the Edmonton Oilers season.

Marcy Di Michele

Marcy Di Michele

A hockey player, and huge sports fan, Marcy has worked as a Sports Journalist for the esteemed online magazine Suite 101 in addition to being a Lead Writer at the Hockey Writers.
Marcy Di Michele

5 Comments

  1. I’m not at all saying that we should judge a goalie by the team in front of him, what I’m saying is if you look at the most important stats Deslauriers was right on par with an avg/good full time goalie. Look at kiprusoff’s stats not too much better and he had a decent year

    • Marcy Di Michele says:

      True…but the Flames had a terrible season and it was Kiprusoff that kept them competitive. The Oilers never stood a chance. In fact, based on overall points regardless of conference, Calgary would have been in the playoffs.

  2. Pingback: Edmonton Oilers 2010-11 Season Preview | The Hockey Writers

  3. Deslauriers didn’t fare well? This is a perfect post of someone who doesn’t understand to read stats. He may have let 3+ gpg but he also was having 40 shots per game. The main stats you need to look at before writing total garbage is his save % which was very decent for being thrust into #1 spot for a crappy team last year. Secondly even with that team he got 3 shutouts. Deslauriers is and can do great things for the Oilers and it’s stories like this one that give people and fans who have no clue the wrong info.

    • Marcy Di Michele says:

      Okay, easy tiger ;)

      This post is simply about the state of the Oilers goaltending. Did Deslauriers have a stellar year? No, and if the team was so impressed with him, Dubnyk would not have gotten as many starts as he did. Yes, the Oilers were a bad team, and not many goalies can look good playing for them. Both of these goalies are young, and need more experience obviously. I’m not saying Deslauriers is a bad goalie, but your comments open a can of worms I’m not sure you wanted to open…that we should judge a goalie’s stats by who is playing in front of him

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