On Wednesday, February the 10th, the Edmonton Oilers called up goaltending prospect Laurent Brossoit, while Anders Nilsson, whose season began with considerable promise yet failed to find consistency, was sent to the Oilers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors.
The move, given the Oilers current place in the standings, is of virtually no risk, yet could carry a substantial reward.
Once again sitting in last place in the NHL, the Oilers decision to re-call Brossoit was an intelligent one, as he is the organization’s top goaltending prospect. As such, the Oilers can afford to provide Brossoit with a few, if not numerous starts as the season begins to wind down, especially so considering how well his play has developed throughout this season.
Further, with Cam Talbot locked up through the 2018-19 season, there is no need to over-burden their now official starting goaltender with a heavy workload in what is yet another lost season, so handing the crease over, at times, to Brossoit will not only further his development, but allow the Oilers to truly understand both his value, as well as potential as an NHL goalie.
Lastly, and quite hopefully for the Oilers, Brossoit’s presence, and the possibility of him playing extremely well down the stretch, could once again ignite a battle for the Oilers crease.
A Rising Talent
Since arriving in the Oilers’ organization, Brossoit’s play has continued to improve on an annual basis.
Originally drafted by the Calgary Flames in the sixth round, 164th overall in 2011 and traded to the Oilers in November of 2013, Brossoit is now in his third year with Edmonton, where his play has ranged from the East Coast Hockey League to the AHL, and one previous game with the Oilers at the NHL level.
Brossoit’s most notable play however has come in his past two years of professional hockey, from 2014-16.
In 2014-15, his first full season with the organization, Brossoit was the definitive starting goaltender for the Oklahoma City Barons, the Oilers’ previous AHL team. Over 53 games played last season, Brossoit was exceptional as a rookie, recording 25 wins, four shutouts, as well as a 2.56 GAA and .918% SVP. Due to his stellar play, Brossoit was called up for one NHL game, where he took the loss against the San Jose Sharks despite allowing just two goals on 49 shots.
This season, 2015-16, Brossoit’s play has been no different, if not better, once again leading the Oilers’ AHL affiliate with incredible goaltending. Although his numbers through 26 games with the Condors this year are relatively similar to 2014-15, carrying a 2.70 GAA and .921% SVP, he was on pace for career highs in both wins and shutouts prior to his re-call, indicating his growth as a successful netminder.
The Future of Oilers Goaltending?
As the Oilers top goaltending prospect, Brossoit now has the exclusive opportunity to directly challenge Talbot for the starting role. Unless Nilsson can discover a higher form of consistent goaltending during his coming time in Bakersfield, there appears to be no one stopping Brossoit from now receiving consistent playing time at the NHL level, provided he plays well enough to justify his presence.
To date, Brossoit has certainly proven his capabilities as a goaltender, primarily at the AHL level but also in the NHL, as we have seen. At 6 foot 3, 200 pounds, Brossoit has the size and proven skills of a promising NHL goaltender. Further, at the young age of 22, Brossoit has the potential to not only seize the Oilers crease, but to also help lead the Oilers out from their state of perpetual irrelevance.
Relatively the same age as current Oilers stars, Brossoit would be the perfect solution to the Oilers goaltender woes, as he would not only develop alongside similarly aged stars, but would retain the shear ability to help lead Edmonton back into contention in the Western Conference and NHL as a whole.
Moving forward, Brossoit will certainly have to make the best of all opportunities provided to him. He has the skill and experience necessary for a promising NHL career, however, whether he can make the most of his first true, prolonged taste of NHL action will likely determine whether he is given a legitimate chance to grasp the Oilers crease in the immediate future.
Brett Slawson is a four-year veteran of The Hockey Writers who covers the Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL prospects, and the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads.
Contact Brett on Twitter @brettslawson92, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.