So the Oilers have finally decided to sign a goalie, and as it turns out, they've gone to someone who was well under the radar. Yann Danis is a goaltender with some recent NHL experience who spent last season with Amur Khabarovsk of the KHL. He turned thirty in June, and even though all I've heard so far about the contract is the term - it's a one-year deal - I know already that I like the signing.
Danis was a player that I had in mind for the role of third goaltender last off-season, but the Oilers decided to go with Martin Gerber instead. Most of the reasons I liked Danis then are still applicable now. The most important of those reasons is his performance, and especially his performance at the NHL level. Danis has seen exactly 1,000 even strength shots in his NHL career - all of them since the lockout - and has an EV Sv% of .926, which is pretty darn good! And while that sample size is small, it's not much smaller than Devan Dubnyk's 1,316 even strength shots, and Danis' .926 blows Dubnyk's .914 out of the water. And before we run to the "but Dubnyk played for the Oilers" defense, it's important to know that Danis saw most of his shots behind the last-place Islanders in 2008-09, and his performance on that team really stands out: he had a .923 EV Sv% on 712 shots, compared to a .907 EV Sv% on 1,235 shots for Joey MacDonald, and an .892 EV Sv% on 166 shots for the two other goaltenders that were used. Based on recent NHL performance, Yann Danis is now the best goaltender in the organization.
So why couldn't this guy find an NHL job? Unfortunately, his performance at other levels is somewhat less encouraging. Danis has played a lot in the American Hockey League. He has seen a total of 5,354 shots with a save percentage of just .909. A look at how he fared when compared to his partners in the seasons he spent primarily in the AHL also doesn't give much reason for optmism:
Jaroslav Halak is a good goaltender but that's an absolute mugging, and 2004-05 is a long, long time ago. His most recent year in the KHL isn't much better. He posted a .910 save percentage, which was good enough for just 26th out of the 51 goaltenders with at least ten games, and was slightly worse than his partner's .913.
But even with all of those struggles in other leagues, his performance in the NHL is strong enough that I'm happy to give the guy a chance. I'm hopeful that he'll be a quality man for the Barons, and a good fill-in for the Oilers when Nikolai Khabibulin finally wears out his welcome (or his back, or his knees, or his hips...).