Sour Milk

I was reading the sun a few days back and there was an article about how the Oilers made a big mistake trading for Roloson instead of Biron back in '06 (remember?). Thats a difficult statement to make, first of all your assuming that the Biron trade was there to be made which could likely not be true due to the Sabres wanting two goalies for a cup run. Secondly your assuming that what we give up for Biron won't be more than draft picks. Thirdly, if we did have a different goalie or gave up more than draft picks would this team have still gone to the finals? Honestly I don't change a thing in case I never get to live the experience of that run. Roloson wasn't what carried this team to the cup (See: Pronger) and Jussi played well in his absence, but I have to say that he did a great job and I'm glad he was on this team.

Now in the "what have you done for me lately" category, the 07-08 Oiler goaltending issues. The Oilers have not received the caliber of goaltending they have been expecting, from either Roloson or Garon, and the third worst team GAA of 3.38 (behind T.O. and ATL) at least implies it could be better. But Roloson is 38 and Garon is not a future starter in this league (contrary to some preseason speculation). So what is the future for the Oilers goaltending? We have two legitimate prospects in Jeff-Drouin Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk with Glenn Fisher and Bryan Pitton a distant (and unlikely) reality. Heres a look at what JDD and Dubnyk have done in the past two years of pro:

JDD: 07-08 5-2-2 2.41 GAA .920% in 10 gp
06-07 22-12-3 2.47 GAA .908% in 40 gp

DD: 07-08 1-3-0 3.18 GAA .914% in 5 gp
06-07 2-1-0 2.94 GAA .855% in 4 gp (AHL)
24-11-7 2.56 GAA .921% in 43 gp (ECHL)

At first there are some positive things to take out of these stats. Dubnyk had an excellent 06-07 season, even being an allstar in his league. JDD has put up decent GAA in the AHL over the last two years, and is have a good season so far this year (though limited action). There are also some negatives to take out of it. JDD's SV% last year was 21st in the AHL, and if your looking at your future starter that is clearly not good enough, especially on the WBS Penguins who were a good playoff team. As for Dubnyk, how many goalies do you know starting in the NHL the last few years that have ever played in the ECHL? I'd actually be interested to know, but i bet you i can count with half a hand. Lets compare them to their draft class.

JDD was drafted in 2002, so lets look at the goalies drafted that year in the first two rounds along with any others that have NHL experience.

Of the three goalies taken in the first, two are starters and Toivonen has had an up and down career, but spent some time as Boston's starter before ending up in St. Louis behind Legace this year. In the second, Harding had a spectacular AHL career and is now an NHL backup being considered for the future starting role. Leneveu has been an average AHL starter and not succeeded in the NHL but he does play for Phoenix. Stephen and Daigneault have had similar progression to JDD and then Norrena was a decent NHL starter last season (2.78 .904 in 55gp for Columbus) only to lose his job this year to one of the hottest goalies in the NHL.

Clearly if JDD is going to become a candidate for a NHL starting role his should have shown greater progression by now. This is his fourth pro season and no one has him penciled in for NHL duties. As for Dubnyk, there is less expectation of him playing NHL games (being 2 years younger than JDD), and it may be too soon to lay judgment on him but lets look at how the goalies drafted in the first round of 2004 have done for themselves.

6. Al Montoya - up and down pro career in his first season (played 2 ECHL games). Good year last year as AHL starter.
14. Devan Dubnyk - first year pro in the ECHL was all star and played well. Got shelled in his 4 AHL games that year. Playing average this year. I suspect next year will be his defining year.
17. Marek Schwarz - This is the man that brings a lot of the debate, he was rated higher than Dubnyk and many believed was the better goalie. Been a decent AHL goalie (good GAA not good Sv%) and got into 2 NHL games last year.
26. Cory Schneider - college player playing his first year of pro, bad in the 5 AHL games he's played.

From my opinion Dubnyk is 3rd on this list. Both Montoya and Schwarz have established more at a higher level then Dubnyk; whom we have yet to discover if he can play at an AHL level. Based on the progression of some great young goalies (Ward, Harding, even Toivonen) we can't expect Dubnyk to become an NHL starter. These goalies went from junior to the AHL and had immediate success at this level. Dubnyk has not played very many games but has not won the starting job either, especially from goalies like Deslauriers who have not been stellar.

As it is now I don't see a goalie in our system who will have the ability to take over after Roloson retires and the Garon experiment fails. This team has spent valuable picks on goalies in 02 and 04 without success. We've reached our hand into the goalie fridge and not gotten what we wanted.

No comments: