The Edmonton Oilers made a move earlier on Monday, and could be eying a second move. On Monday morning, the club claimed veteran goaltender Alex Stalock off of waivers from the Minnesota Wild. Stalock will need to undergo a two-week quarantine as part of COVID-19 protocols, but will join the active roster following that time.
Stalock has missed the start of the 2020-21 season with an injury, but was strong for the Wild a season ago. In 38 appearances, he posted a record of 20-11-4 to go with a 2.67 GAA and a .910 save percentage. In addition, Stalock posted four shutouts and beat out veteran Devan Dubnyk for the starting job in August’s play-in series against the Vancouver Canucks.
Stalock was 1-3-0 in the series against the Canucks with a .897 save percentage.
Stalock fills a number of holes for the Oilers, and gives the team insurance in net. While Mike Smith has played exceptionally well since his return, he’s also an older goaltender that has always run hot and cold throughout his career. Mikko Koskinen, meanwhile, has proven that he’s a good goaltender but cannot handle a heavy workload.
Stalock has posted a .910 save percentage in two of the last three seasons, and at $785,000 per season on the cap, he has a value contract. Stalock also can be exposed in the expansion draft, which means the Oilers will protect Koskinen and allow Smith to hit the open market for the second off-season in a row. That, of course, is pending trades of some kind.
The Stalock bet is a low-risk, high reward proposition for the Oilers. He’s posted good numbers at the NHL level, is cheap, and offers the team protection in the expansion draft. Hell, I honestly wouldn’t rule out Stalock making a run for the starting position with the Oilers if given the chance. He’s a good goalie and may be able to outduel both Smith and Koskinen.
It’s a solid, and unexpected, bit of work from GM Ken Holland.
Oilers Interested In Rakell:
The Anaheim Ducks are once again struggling. They are having a hard time finding goals, and as a result are having a hard time finding wins. The system is full of good, young players, but the Ducks appear two to three years away from really making any kind of push. A rebuild is long overdue in Orange County, but could be starting in the coming weeks.
If the Ducks start selling pieces, Holland is likely to be right in the mix. According to sources close to ‘The Oilers Rig’, the club would like to add either a third line center or top-six winger in advance of the April 12th trade deadline.
The reasoning? Give the club three real lines that can tilt possession and score goals. If a center can’t be acquired, a winger would be the target. That would allow natural center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to center a dangerous third line that few teams could match, especially in the North Division.
One of those wing targets? Anaheim’s Rickard Rakell.
The Fourth Period reported on Sunday that the Ducks are considering a variety of moves. Among them is moving the skilled but slumping sniper. If they do, the Edmonton Oilers are interested in acquiring him.
Rakell, who signed a six-year, $22.8 million deal in Oct. 2016, might be the most attractive asset up for grabs, even though he’s having for the worst offensive season of his pro career.
He is coming off back-to-back 40+ point seasons (in less than 70 games) and had two 30+ goal seasons before that. At just 27, a change of scenery might reignite Rakell’s offensive game that has almost disappeared in Anaheim with the rest of his teammates. And his cap hit, a shade under $3.8 million, makes him an appealing reclamation project for a team in need of a second-line boost.
The Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Edmonton Oilers are among the teams that have interest in a player like Rakell, if they can make the money work.
Rakell has just nine points (2 g, 7 a) this season in 21 games with the Ducks. That said, regression is coming for Rakell. He’s shooting just 3.1% this season, way down form his career average of 11.4%. In addition, Rakell is still posting solid possession numbers. He has a 50.9% Corsi For (1.9% Rel) and a 50.7% Fenwick For (.8% Rel). He’s moving the puck in the right direction, but just isn’t getting the results.
If the Oilers put him on a line with someone like Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl? One expects Rakell’s luck would begin to turn.