Yes indeed, JDD is on waivers. So what the hell changed? How is it that after seeing Deslauriers play in a total of zero games since the end of training camp that the Oilers are now ready to part company with the (not-so) young goaltender after being so conflicted when camp ended? As recently as the 25th head coach Tom Renney was talking about getting both young goalies into a game ("I would like to see both of them play"). Now? Dubnyk played, Deslauriers didn't, and now it looks like his next start will be with Oklahoma (hopefully he doesn't poison the room with his negativity). After the jump, we'll talk about why Deslauriers may have been sent away.1. Nikolai Khabibulin is healthy - This is probably the biggest reason for Deslauriers being put on waivers. The Oilers knew that Khabibulin was coming off a pretty serious surgery. There would no doubt have been significant concern coming into the year that Khabibulin was not going to be ready to play because of injury (or court date, but that seemed mostly resolved by the start of camp), or that he would be ineffective because of all the miles he's put on his body, which is pretty common for goalies in their late thirties. Over his first eight starts, Khabibulin has played at a reasonable level, and in some games, has been one of Edmonton's best players. Injury is of course still a concern, but at least they know that he's recovered from his injury and able to play at an NHL level.
2. Devan Dubnyk is a flat-out better goalie - Dubnyk has only had one start so far this year, but he was fantastic. After a stronger finish than Deslauriers last season, a stronger pre-season than Deslauriers this season, and better numbers at the same age all down the line, it's been clear for a while now that Dubnyk is the better choice. This isn't exactly a new development, but Dubnyk's strong game against Columbus may have sealed Deslauriers' fate (as silly as that sounds).
3. The fate of Thomas Greiss and Erik Ersberg - These guys are at a similar level to Deslauriers and make significantly less money. Both of them cleared waivers. If the Oilers were worried about Deslauriers getting plucked off the waiver wire, watching those two make it through must have assuaged those (rather unreasonable) fears.
4. The fourth line is a God-awful monstrosity - The Oilers have played nine games so far this season and in three of them at least two skaters didn't get six minutes of ice time. That's no good. One of the main reasons for that is that the fourth liners haven't been able to play on the penalty kill, which is something Tom Renney said yesterday he'd like to see. Derek recently pointed out that the Barons' PK is tops in the AHL and as much as it might be the coaches' fault that the PK in Edmonton has struggled, I'd be willing to bet the coaches don't see it that way. It seems likely to me that the Oilers are looking to upgrade here, which is great news for guys like Liam Reddox, Ryan O'Marra and Colin McDonald.
5. The third defense pairing is a God-awful monstrosity - The only reason the Oilers may not recall a forward is the obvious need for help on the blue-line. Both Jason Strudwick and Jim Vandermeer have been terrible so far this season, so the Oilers may well want to take a look at one of Oklahoma City's defenders. Which one? I have no idea. It might be a veteran like Richard Petiot or Shawn Belle, but it could just as easily be a resurgent Taylor Chorney whose +1 rating is the best of any defender on the team (seriously).
6. Jeff Deslauriers didn't shove enough up enough backsides - In other words, this guy sucks, and I don't know that I need too much in the way of supporting evidence for that. We all know it, already.
It sure will be interesting to hear Steve Tambellini and/or Tom Renney tell us why Deslauriers was sent away now as opposed to earlier. I think it will be some combination of these reasons, but who knows for sure. This is the Oilers after all. For all we know they've been asking the Ouija board if it's time to send Deslauriers down every day, and today was the first day Deslauriers couldn't make it to the séance. The other thing I'm looking forward to is seeing which Baron gets the call. I think it will be Reddox, but there certainly have been a number of guys playing well in Oklahoma.