Last night on The Oilers Rig Live Broadcast we touched briefly on the subject of Richard Bachman and if he is capable of providing short term relief for the goaltending situation on the big club. I’m not a CBA or NHL rule aficionado but one could think after reading the language of the rules there may be some room for creative interpretation.
Bachman started “a bit wobbly in the first two games of the season” but has since recorded his first win, has started 4 of the 5 Barons games and is carrying a shining .927 SV%, having allowed only 8 goals off of 110 shots. Even though it is the AHL where he is doing it, it’s miles ahead of where the Oilers are sitting with their goaltending.
For those of you who don’t know Bachman, he was drafted by the Dallas Stars in the 4th round of the ’06 draft and was once touted as a decent goalie prospect. He is undersized by today’s standards being only 5′-10″ and this is undoubtedly one of the reasons he’ll probably be, at best, a call-up/AHL option for the balance of his career. Here are his stats since entering the pro ranks in ’09-’10.
With that now entered in as evidence I will make my case. Even if Bachman comes in and only gives the Oilers .901 tending, with the team only allowing an average of 28.3 shots per game, they will shave off 1.76 goals against per game. If that is what the Oilers could have been getting to this point in the season they will have stopped an additional 12.4 goals from entering the back of their net. They wouldn’t be sitting at 1-5-1 and chances are they would start to win a few games.
I’ve tried to stay positive on Dubnyk to this point. He’s had a run of horrible luck or yips or whatever you want to call it. And LaBarbera hasn’t been much better. It has been brutal. But, like everyone keeps eluding to, it won’t last.
Now to the tricky part. Is it even possible to get some relief in net without selling off the future for what would probably end up being, with respect to long term numbers, a lateral move? Maybe, but it is a long shot. If I put on my armchair GM hat I would sit down with Dubnyk and his agent and have a frank talk with him about the future and expectations. Ask him if he is open to resting for a week. If yes, have the team physician write up a note stating that Dubnyk is unfit to play due to personal issues and put him on the 7 day IR.
I’m probably simplifying the issue a little, so these are the rules as I understand them.
The NHL Hockey Operations Guidelines states that…
All determinations that a player has suffered an injury warranting injured reserve status must be made by the Club’s medical staff and in accordance with the Club’s medical standards.
The CBA, 16.11, states that…
e) Any determination that a Player is eligible to be placed on the Injured Reserve List, or designated as Injured Non-Roster, shall be made by the Club’s physician in accordance with the Club’s medical standards and documented by a verification signed by the Club physician and countersigned by a Club executive … (which shall also be signed by the Player)
f) The Commissioner may take whatever steps he deems necessary to investigate the circumstances under which a Player is: (i) placed, or remains, on the Injured Reserve List, or (ii) designated Injured Non-Roster. If the Commissioner has reason to believe that the Injured Reserve List or Injured Non-Roster status has not been utilized properly by the involved Club or otherwise Circumvents any provision of this Agreement, or if he determines that the Club has used the Injured Reserve and/or Injured Non-Roster designations to evade the Active Roster limit, he may take such disciplinary action against the Club as he deems appropriate.
So there you have it. A long shot, but I’ll let all you readers judge.
Bachman isn’t a long term solution. He a #3 depth chart guy who will undoubtedly see some time in the NHL moving forward due to injury and otherwise. Desperate times call for desperate measures but not so desperate that management starts trading Yakupov or Eberle or Hemsky or any other number of prospects. They are 7 games in and can still come out of this tail spin. The sky is not falling, yet.
If Dubnyk starts tomorrow night and he still struggles the axe may just fall. The chatter is loud enough that something will give. But until that point there is still a little time before the rumors and actions kick into overdrive. Lets take what we can get for now.
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