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Oilers Pass On Thomas Greiss, Should They Have Claimed Him?

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Yesterday, The Mercury News reported that Thomas Greiss was being waived by the San Jose Sharks.  The Sharks had found themselves in the unenviable position of carrying three goalies on one-way contracts after signing Antti Niemi this off-season.  Though the goaltending market continues to be over-saturated, hockey pundits questioned whether Greiss would made it through waivers and into the AHL.  From The Mercury News:


It will be learned this morning if he was claimed by another team. His modest, $550,000 salary could make him enticing for other teams in the market for a young goalie with potential.

One team that may have been interested in Greiss was the Edmonton Oilers, given they are carrying two marginal backups, one of them still termed a "prospect", on the roster.  Neither Kevin Lowe nor Steve Tambellini has been able to make a decision on either one, and for the third time in four years, the indecisiveness means they Oilers have three goalies on the active roster. 

Thomas Griess comes at a bargain price of $550,000 so would it make sense to waive both Devan Dubnyk and Jeff Deslauriers and install Griess as the full-time backup to Nikolai Khabibulin?

Below is a table showing the progression of each goaltender by age, save percentage and goals against average with AHL seasons in purple, and in NHL seasons in red.


Jeff Deslauriers
Devan Dubnyk
Thomas Greiss
Age SVPCT GAA
SVPCT GAA
SVPCT GAA
20 .888 2.96



.912
2.61
21 .897 3.12
.904 3.12
.892 3.09
22 .908 2.47
.896 2.97
.898 2.47
23 .912 2.90
.915 3.02
.912 2.69
24 .901 3.33





25 .901 3.26





 

In each table below, I've compared the stats of each goaltender to the stats of the other goaltenders on the same team in each season.  Once again, AHL seasons are in purple, NHL seasons in red.


Jeff Deslauriers
Age SVPCT GAA
Bck SVPCT BCK GAA
20 .888 2.96   .913
2.45
21 .897 3.15   .903 2.95
22 .908 2.47    .896 2.70
23 .912 2.90   .901 3.21
24 .901 3.33   .911 2.84
25 .901 3.26   .899 3.29

 

Deslauriers' bizarre and winding development path has often been blamed for his lack of consistency, positioning, puck-handling and various other deficiencies.


Devan Dubnyk
Age SVPCT GAA
Bck SVPCT BCK GAA
20




21 .904 3.12   .911 2.95
22 .896 2.97   .904 3.05
23 .915 3.02   .882 3.92
23 .889 3.57   .903 3.19
24




25




 

Dubnyk has always been the brunette to Deslauriers' flashy blonde game, but Dubnyk's numbers look better and for worse - much worse - teams.


Thomas Greiss
Age SVPCT GAA
Bck SVPCT BCK GAA
20 .912 2.61   .892 3.13
21 .892 3.09   .893 2.98
22 .907 2.47   .884 3.08
23 .912 2.69   .922 2.43
24




25




 

Greiss is the same age as Dubnyk, but with the exception of his handful of games with the powerhouse Sharks in 2009-2010, his numbers fall short of Dubnyk's.

None of these three goaltenders has ever been spectacular in the professional game.  Dubnyk's AHL save percentage is .908, Deslauriers comes in at .906 and Greiss .904, and none of them have done enough at age 23, and now 25 for Deslauriers, to deserve regular NHL work.  Dubnyk's numbers are better than Deslauriers' have been at nearly every age level.  In addition, Dubnyk is still two years younger than Deslauriers.  Clearly, Dubnyk is the right choice between the two, but the flash in Deslauriers' game keeps the Oilers coming back.

The Oilers thought better of the idea and passed on Greiss, with Bob McKenzie reporting every other team did too.  The epic saga of the three-headed goalie monster continues.