The Oilers got a jump of the trade deadline this afternoon making a couple of trades to help solidify the team's goaltending situation. On the way out of town is Ilya Bryzgalov who, as you'll recall joined the team in November. Coming in to replace him will be Viktor Fasth, who was acquired from the Anaheim Ducks.
Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) March 4, 2014
The Oilers started the season with a goaltending combination of Devan Dubnyk and Jason Labarbera. That didn't work out well and so Craig MacTavish brought in Bryzgalov to play alongside Dubnyk. Unfortunately Dubnyk continued to struggle and so he was sent to Nashville, and Ben Scrivens was brought in to replace him. Now MacTavish has pulled the trigger on yet another trade, this time bringing Fasth to town and sending Bryzgalov packing. You can criticize MacTavish for any number of things this season, but failing to try and address the problems in net is not one of them.
The return for Bryzgalov - a fourth round pick - is minimal at best, but given that it seemed unlikely that Bryzgalov would be back in Edmonton next fall, a lottery ticket is probably better than nothing. With Bryzgalov the early results were good, he posted a .936 save percentage in his first six games but his play fell off rather quickly after that. In his short time in Edmonton, Bryzgalov ended up appearing in 20 games posting a .908 save percentage. Those are numbers that won't turn many heads. Getting a fourth round pick for that isn't bad at all.
In Fasth the Oilers get a bit question mark. Last season Fasth played 25 games posting a .921 save percentage. This season however, Fasth has been hampered by injuries and has dressed in just five games, posting a .885 save percentage. That is the entirety of his NHL career right there. 30 games. And he will be 32 years old when next season starts. Could he be a capable backup to Scrivens? He could be. He might also be a below replacement level goalie. Only time will tell.
There is risk in this deal but I don't think this is a terrible move. With just one year and a $2.9M cap hit ($3.4M salary) Fasth's contract isn't going to hurt the Oilers. The fifth round pick is a longer long shot than the pick they got for Bryzgalov, and a third round pick next year is something that might have helped the Oilers starting in the 2019/20 season. I don't have any issues with the team rolling the dice on a move like this right now. Low risk, high rewards.
Looking forward to ext fall, it certainly appears that the Oilers are set between the pipes. With Scrivens set to make $2.3M the Oilers goalies will cost them a total of $5.2M. That's a cheap goaltending combo, and it leaves the team with a lot of cap space to address the great many other holes that currently exist in the team's roster. It's a gamble for sure, one that could blow up in MacTavish's face, but I'll give him credit for at least trying to make the team better.