This is the last installment of my “Summer Of Mac” series, but it certainly won’t be the last time you hear from me today. It’s getting very interesting out there, and we might even have some movement at some point this afternoon.
Back to business, today we are taking a look at goalie options for Craig MacTavish’s Oilers this summer, and I’ll say this was the toughest position to predict. Anything could happen here.
The Starter: Odds are, Devan Dubnyk returns to start for Edmonton once again this season. DD has been trending upwards the last two years, and has provided Edmonton with some solid play behind some pretty bad teams. DD hasn’t been the problem in Edmonton, but the argument can be made that he isn’t a sure thing as a starter in this league.
He was solid last season, but has room for improvement. I’ll say he returns, but there are other options out there for the Oilers.
Option one is Roberto Luongo. The Canucks are having some real trouble moving him, and it appears that he could become a compliance buy-out. However, putting Luongo on waivers could open the door to Edmonton for him, as TSN’s Bob McKenzie mentioned last night on the radio he thinks the Oilers would claim Lou.
At another site, I’ve been writing about this possibility for almost a year, and I still believe Roberto is a top ten NHL goalie that is simply caught in a bad spot. IF, and that’s a huge if, Edmonton can get him on waivers, he would become the team’s starter.
Other rumors have the Oilers after young goalie Corey Schneider, who has lots of potential but is an unproven guy. Regardless, if Edmonton can work a deal out for him, he becomes the Oilers starter.
Other names, but highly unlikely names, that have also been thrown out there include Mike Smith as a UFA and Marc-Andre Fleury via trade.
The most likely scenario that happens? The Oilers come into the season with Dubnyk as their starter, but I wouldn’t be shocked either if Luongo is wearing Oilers orange and blue.
The Back Up: Nikolai Khabibulin was the Oilers backup for the 2012-13 season, but it has been made clear that he won’t be returning for the 2013-14 season, so Edmonton will be adding a new netminder. IF the Oilers claim Luongo off waivers, I assume Dubnyk will serve as the backup, but again, big IF.
Other options include the recently bought out Ilya Bryzgalov, who’s agent said he would be open to playing in Edmonton. I just don’t see Bryz as a fit with the Oilers right now, and I think he goes to the KHL for a year to regain his form.
Another option is Florida’s Jose Theodore. Theodore has had a solid NHL career, and was very good for the Panthers during their surprising 2011-12 campaign. He’s coming off of an injury, but he could be a solid short-term option for Edmonton, and a guy that helps teach young Dubnyk.
The best fit might be Bruins backup Anton Khudobin, who is going to be a UFA that would come as a low risk, but high reward kind of guy. Anton was pretty solid for Boston this season when he played, and he has the ability to play some really good hockey. He’s only 27 years old too, so he has the ability to improve.
He went 9-4-1 this season with a 2.32 GAA, and was pretty solid most games. Being out in Boston, I got a chance to watch him quite a bit, and I must say I was impressed by him most of the time.
He won’t cost much either, in fact I’ll be surprised if he gets much of a raise off of the $875 K he is currently making.
I’d ideally sign Khudobin to a a one year $1 M contract and let him push Dubnyk as Edmonton’s back up this season. It’s a safe bet to bring in a younger guy with some true potential in him, and I’d rather MacT do that than try and get a big name like Bryzgalov or Theodore.
The rumors are swirling in Edmonton right now. I’ll be back later today with more content. Until then, catch up with me on twitter @Alex_Thomas14