There has been much talk surrounding the Oilers goaltending and what to do with the position between the pipes this off-season. I’m going to weigh in today with a few different options Peter Chiarelli has in his pocket to improve the position.
The options to sign a free agent goalie are slim this summer. While there are a few big names out there, none of them really jump out as front runners to come in and solidify the spot.
Antti Niemi is available, and while he has the most experience of available goaltenders I don’t think he’s the answer. His numbers are decent, but after watching many of the Sharks games last season I don’t like his rebound control or his positioning all that much, he’s definitely got a lot of chaos in his game.
The other “Big Name” Free agent goalie out there is Karri Ramo. He posted pretty good numbers in 14/15, .912 SV% and at 28 years old may be coming into the prime of his career. A shorter 2-3 year deal on Ramo might be worth a look by Chiarelli.
The nice thing about going the free agent route is that the Oilers won’t have to give anything up as far as assets or draft picks, and that could come in handy when it comes to acquiring those top end defensemen this team so badly needs.
The trade route has probably been the most talked about move in the last 10 days or so. Robin Lehner, Cam Talbot, Eddie Lack, Jacob Markstrom, Martin Jones are all names that have been linked to the Oilers in one way or another recently. Although Jones is apparently close to signing and extension with the Kings. One has to think that the Oilers will have to part with at least one of their second round picks to acquire one of these guys.
My personal favourite would be Talbot from the Rangers, who you could argue was that teams MVP during the regular season after posting outstanding numbers filling in for an injured Henrik Lundqvist. Another decent option IMO would be Eddie Lack from the Canucks, but we all remember how they tried to fleece MacT when he tried to get Schneider from them a few years back.
Giving up a few 2nd round picks will be the cost, anything earlier than that (i.e. a 1st rounder) would be an overpay. The other risk with this move is, well, we’ve seen this movie before. Many, including myself, applauded MacT when he went out and got Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth. I assumed, wrongly, that one of the two would be able to take the reigns as the teams number 1 and run with it. Sadly that didn’t happen, and while this might be the easiest way of acquiring talent in the net, it may also be the riskiest.
Going the draft route to find a number one goalie can often be a crap shoot, and also means that the team still needs to do something to improve immediately as a drafted goalie is on average 3-4 years away minimum.
There are a few good goalie prospects out there. The top ranked goalie is Ilya Samsonov is expected to be a first round pick, and I suppose there is a slight chance that the Oilers use the 16th overall pick for him, but I mentioned that goalies in the draft can be a crap shoot and using a 1st rounder to get a goalie that may or may not work out is quite the risk. Chiarelli has done this before though when he drafted Malcolm Subban at 24th overall back in 2012, so it isn’t an impossibility,
The other top ranked goalies are; Mackenzie Blackwood from the Barrie Colts, Daniel Vladar from the Czech Republic, Callum Booth from the Q, Sam Montembeault also from the Q, and Matej Tomek from Topeka in the NAHL. There is a goalie that didn’t make Bob McKenzie’s top 100 but I really liked his play in the world junior tournament and that is Denis Godla, who could probalby be had with a very late pick and may be worth a look no matter what Chiarelli does to shore up the position immediately.
What Would I do?
I’ve been thinking about this for a while. The Oilers have one higher end prospect in the system in Laurent Brossroit, he put up decent numbers last year, had an amazing NHL debut vs. the San Jose Sharks but is likely still 2-3 years from getting a real shot at an NHL spot.
So, If it was me, I’d go after signing a free agent stop gap for a few years, either Niemi or Ramo. Sure there are some options for trade, but like I mentioned we’ve seen that movie before. If Chiarelli doesn’t use the #33 pick to upgrade the position or as trade bait for a legitimate top end defenseman then I’d hope to grab Samsonov at that spot if he is still around. The other move would be to use the 33rd and on of the 3rd round spots to try and trade up, back into the 1st round to get Samsonov.
There are plenty of options available to the Oil, and for sure we know that the goaltending is likely to look a lot different in the coming weeks. What would you like to see happen from the options listed above? Or is there another scenario that you think might happen?
Thanks for Reading.