"I know he was the best goalie in Sweden this year, but I hadn't seen him and I didn't know he was this good."
--Magnus Paajarvi on Viktor Fasth
Fasth's rise to the top of the SEL has been remarkable as he's already been saddled by the mostly-ominous "Best _________ not in the NHL" tag. He's set to come to the NHL next season and has a number of suitors. Jim Matheson has written that Fasth wants a one-way deal to come to the NHL and the Oilers are in a position to give him that for next year, especially if they finally decide to part ways with Nikolai Khabibulin. The risk is extremely low, especially with a one-year deal and especially if they were retain the services of Martin Gerber or a similar reliable veteran goaltender for the Oklahoma City Barons next season.The Oilers should be a front-runner for the 28-year-old goaltender because Edmonton would be a soft landing spot for Fasth. The Oilers already have fellow Swedes Paajarvi and Linus Omark on the roster and have the very real possibility of adding two more Swedes, Anton Lander and Adam Larsson, to the roster in 2011-2012. The presence of so many young Swedes presents a very exciting opportunity for Fasth and the Oilers could afford to pay a premium, especially on a one-year deal. Paajarvi's endorsement can only help his chances.
The hangup, of course, is the contractual albatross that is Nikolai Khabibulin. The Oilers owe Khabibulin $3.75 million over each of the next two years, though they could reduce their obligation to $5 million total over four years if they choose to buy him out. Beyond the monetary issues, Oilers management has been vehement in proclaiming Khabibulin their "MVP" and a cornerstone for the team. A decision to jump from the Khabibulin bandwagon at this point would result in a number of sprained prides at Rexall Place.