Finding a Goalie for the Edmonton Oilers

I’ve spoken about this before but as we near the NHL entry draft in Florida things are becoming more clear to me. Whilst in Sunrise for McDavid Day the Oilers need to acquire a goalie. Whether that is for next season or 4 seasons down the road, trade or draft, it’s imperative that the Oilers set their goaltending future up right.

I believe the options are laid out as such:

Trade
I reckon a good goalie could be had via trade but it really depends on what the Oilers are looking for in regards to their goalie. Are they okay with a high-priced veteran and a cheap back-up or would they prefer to keep the cap down between the pipes?

The Edmonton Journal’s David Staples recently wrote about the subject here.

Personally I’d like to see Peter Chiarelli stay away from Cam Talbot and Craig Anderson. Talbot has played half of a season behind one of the best defences in the league (very Scrivens-like) and Anderson is 34 years old and on the wrong end of his career. The other thing with Anderson is which guy are you getting with him? Are you getting the goalie who’s top notch and deserves to be mentioned in trade rumors at his advanced age or is he the headcase that got traded from the Avalanche after slumping horribly? He’s got more ups and downs during the season than the Fantasyland roller coaster.

Two other goalies rumored to be on Edmonton’s radar are Eddie Lack out of Vancouver and Robin Lehner from the Senators. Does anybody actually think that the Canucks would trade one of their players to an inter-division rival unless he was robbing them blind and I’ve got my reservations about Lehner. His confidence must be in the same shape his head was in when he was concussed in a collision with teammate Clarke MacArthur versus the Hurricanes back in February and Ottawa seems pretty set on including David Legwand or Colin Greening in any deal involving one of their goalies.

If we’re talking about a serious swap here I’d like to see the Oilers reach out to Toronto for Jonathan Bernier or to the Dallas Stars for Kari Lehtonen (I wrote about the Oilers acquiring Lehtonen over at The Oilers Rig). Surely the vast opinion is that both could be had at a discount price because their teams aren’t exactly enamored with them at the moment.

Jonathan Bernier, drafted 11th overall by the LA Kings in in 2006, is only 26 years old and in goalie years that means he’s entering the prime of his career. He hasn’t seemed to run into the injury bug (knock on wood) yet and his numbers are quite respectable given the team he’s been on the last couple of seasons.

If he could be acquired for draft picks and prospects, Chiarelli would have to consider it.

But would Toronto do it? Would it be sane to hand more draft picks and prospects to the Maple Leafs? I think they would do it. I think that perhaps Leafs brass isn’t sold on Bernier and Reimer would probably play for less money. The recent photo of Bernier’s baby and his fiancee’s comment doesn’t do much but fan the flames on the rumor of his availability and the Leafs taking Bernier to arbitration is not going to sit well. Bernier is an RFA and one year away from UFA status. I imagine he’s looking to make some mad skrilla this summer or sign a short-term deal with intentions to hit the market in 2016.

The second option is Kari Lehtonen, drafted 2nd overall in 2002. He’s a solid keeper with no.1 goalie pedigree and that’s something a lot of Oilers fans are crying out for. I think with Lehtonen most people are turned off by his injury history, age, and salary. Yes, he’s had some problems staying healthy in the past, he’s 31, and his cap hit is $5.9 million for the next 3 seasons.

To that I say, it’s only 3 seasons and beggars can’t be choosers. When Lehtonen has played on successful hockey teams he has put up great numbers. The Oilers don’t need spectacular in the crease, they need solid. Todd McLellan has had a bit of experience with Finnish goalies in his career if that helps. If Dallas really wants to rid themselves of Lehtonen perhaps they’d be willing to eat a bit of salary or take a bad contract back. Lord knows Edmonton has a few of those and Dallas is looking for defencemen…

I’d be happy with a veteran goalie to give Laurent Brossoit and Eetu Laurikainen more time to marinade in the minors. Especially if said veteran goalie’s contract expires at the same time the prospects are ready to come up and take over.

Out of the two, I’d personally take Bernier. And don’t give me any of that crap about how he’s a Maple Leaf and nothing good ever comes out of Toronto. It’s utter nonsense to even think that way. I’m sure there’s a good majority of you who’d have taken Wendel Clark, Doug Gilmour, or Mats Sundin back in the day. And you can’t tell me that Kessel wouldn’t score goals here and Phaneuf wouldn’t be crushing bones on the back end. If you feel so inclined to let out your anti-Leafs rhetoric, don’t.

At the Draft

At no.16 I think it’d be a mistake to take a goalie. But what if the Oilers could swing a deal to trade down a few spots and pick up an extra 2nd rounder? A draft pick in the 20s I’d definitely trade for a goalie. As for the actual draft. there are lots of candidates this year as well.

Ilya Samsonov – (Magnitogorsk, MHL) – 6’3″ 201lbs –
The best goalie to come out of Russia since Andrei Vasilevskiy and if you watched the TB backup during his time with the Russian world junior team, that comparison holds some weight. At the moment he’s the no.1 ranked European goalie and he’s either been no.1 or no.2 amongst goalies throughout the year on the lists of major scouting websites. Mckeen’s has him at #17 on their list and Bob McKenzie has him at #19.

Craig Button’s report on Samsonov w/video

MacKenzie Blackwood – (Barrie Colts, OHL) – 6’4″ 216lbs –
The top NA goaltending prospect goes to the towering Barrie Colts netminder. Blackwood has ice in his veins and competes for every puck thrown at him. He was McKeen’s top rated goaltender for the 2015 NHL entry draft back in March and has been fighting Ilya Samsonov all season long for the no.1 overall ranking among draft eligible goalies for the upcoming draft. Blackwood sits at #1 for NA goalies according to Central Scouting and Mackenzie has him at #35.

Craig Button’s Report on Blackwood

Daniel Vladar – (Kladno, CZE2) – 6’5″ 185lbs –
“Darth” Vladar is ranked #2 by NHL Central Scouting and #47 by Bob McKenzie. Vladar put up very respectable numbers for Kladno’s senior team in the Czech league. In 8 games he had a GAA of 1.88 and a SV% of .933. He was drafted by the USHL’s Chicago Steel and will be plying his trade there next season. The folks over at thehockeywriters.com feel he doesn’t have a true comparable but his reflexes are akin to that of Dominek Hasek. Craig Button likens him to Martin Jones.

Craig Button’s Report on Vladar

Felix Sandstrom – (Brynas, SHL) – 6’2″ 192lbs –
Draft Guru Corey Pronman had Sandstrom as his top goaltending prospect back in May ahead of Vladar, Samsonov, and Blackwood. Draftsite.com’s Bill Placzek had this to say about Sandstrom:

Another solid Swedish goal prospect who has flexibility, great mechanics, solid positioning and a calm demeanor. As with many Euro-tenders, he sometimes gets under the bar. Has displayed the ability to stop breakaway shooters coming in one on one. Difficult to beat low, and very quick reactions to the play.

He also has a twin brother… I know another great Swedish goalie who has a twin brother… Coincidence? We’ll have to wait and see. Sandstrom is ranked at #3 for European goalies.

Matej Tomek – (Topeka, NAHL) – 6’3″ 181lbs –
After spending the last season playing in the North American Hockey League for the Topeka Roadrunners, Matej Tomek will be heading to the University of North Dakota for the 2015 campaign. Tomek has been all over the rankings this year and some folks believe that is due to the competition he faced in the NAHL which is a tier lower that the USHL. He’s got the frame and the tools but hasn’t been tested to the extent that other top ranking goalies have. The big Slovakian is ranked 5th for NA goalies by the NHL’s Central Scouting and 60th by the boys over at The Hockey Writers.

Craig Button’s Report on Tomek

I think the Oilers would be good to take any of those 5 goalies in the 2nd round of the upcoming draft.

What Should the Oilers Do?

I would like to see them trade for a no.1 goalie AND draft a high end goalie. The earlier notion of trading down and getting another 2nd rounder and using the newly acquired 1st rounder as bait to trade for a veteran goalie is preferable. But I’d like to see them use that 33rd overall pick on a goalie too. If Edmonton can come away with say, Ilya Samsonov and Bernier, that’d be money! Samsonov can play in Russia a year or two more and then come to North America, Bernier can backstop the team, Ben Scrivens can play out his contract and Brossoit can replace him.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Quickly before you go, I’d like to direct your attention to the Beer League Heroes t-shirt shop! If you like what you see click the t-shirt below and head on over. The designs are only available for a limited time though. Pick one up today and be ready to show your BLH pride when the new season starts!

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The Drop

 

Beer League Hero Written by:

I'm the Beer League Hero! I am from Camrose, Alberta but I make my home in Taipei City, Taiwan. I've been through the ups and downs and the highs and the Lowes, the Bonsignores and the McDavids, the Sathers and the Eakins but I'll never leave my Oilers, no matter what! They're with me until the end and then some. GO OILERS GO!

  • Glory Days

    Good post except for one thing. If you honestly believe Kari Lehtonen is a good idea, you’re high.

    • Beer League Hero

      Thanks for reading! Why do you say that?