Edmonton Oilers Season Preview - The Goaltenders

A few days ago, Derek wrote about the forwards, and Ryan followed that with some thoughts on the Edmonton's defense. Both of them delivered reasonable predictions for the season to come with Derek's take being a lot more positive than Ryan's. But whether it was optimism or pessimism, each writer delivered a realistic look at what lies ahead. In that I also hope to deliver a realistic analysis, you can guess which way I'll be going...

Pessimism. Extreme pessimism.

 

The Ins and Outs

 

In: an unconscionable pile of nothing. Out: my respect. The Oilers could have bought out Nikolai Khabibulin without any worry about it impacting future cap space since, with a 35+ contract, the cap hit remains the same whether or not the player is actually playing. A buy out would have saved money (the cost would be $1.25M per year over four years as opposed to $3.75M per year over two years). It would also have helped to ice a better team in 2011-12 and 2012-13 since they could almost certainly spend $1M per year over the next two years, and get substantially better performance. A no-brainer, right? No, sir! Nikolai Khabibulin is back in the fold!

 

The Depth Chart 

 

Devan Dubnyk

Nikolai Khabibulin

 

Analysis

 

I know that I said "realistic look", and that a realistic look probably means Nikolai Khabibulin as the starting goaltender, but that's just too depressing, so I have Dubnyk starting. The problem is... that might not be a whole lot better. When I looked at Dubnyk's statistical comparables earlier this summer, the average goaltender played in 37 games and had a save percentage of .906. That seems like a pretty good line in the sand for Dubnyk this year to me, but it also seems a lot worse than what most folks think he'll do. I hope they're right. If they are, maybe the Oilers do improve a lot more than the eleven goals that I've predicted. If he falls short of that line, Steve Tambellini may well be assuring the TV audience that he "doesn't want to be standing here next year" for the third time in a row.

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