In the NFL, the most popular player on the team is the backup quarterback, or so the old adage goes. In Edmonton, the most popular goaltender in the organization is the one who might replace Nikolai Khabibulin in the lineup. Khabibulin last played 50 games four years ago and with a medical file as long as the Bayeux Tapestry it's a good bet he's going to fall far short of that number again this season. Enter the backup goaltenders.
Martin Gerber was signed as the reliable veteran backstop for the Oklahoma City Barons last season, but got the call to the NHL in the midst of whatever condition befell Khabibulin at the time. He appeared in only three games because Devan Dubnyk was as solid as he could have possibly been in that situation, but can he pull it off again this season? Or will the Oilers need to call on the newly-signed AHL veteran goaltender?
Our question today focuses on the Oilers' third-string goaltender.
Our lineup this time includes Pat, from Black Dog Hates Skunks, the blogosphere's version of David Mamet, Jeff Chapman, the big brain behind Oil On Whyte, Shepso and BCB, the philosopher kings from Bringing Back The Glory, Jerconjake, the insightful man behind Oil Acumen, Smokin' Ray, the only man covering the Oilers, Barons and Thunder and he does it all at Oilers Jambalaya, dawgbone98, 'sphere regular and resident lacrosse and hockey tactics expert, and sumoil, Copper & Blue's resident CHL tracker, the only man breaking down the top CHL prospects through detailed statistical tracking.
Today's Roundtable Question: How many games will Yann Danis start this season?
Dawgbone: I'm going with 4. Last year when Khabibulin got hurt the Oilers ran Dubnyk ragged and didn't give Gerber enough spot starts. I think they'll address that this year and try and give Dubnyk less back-to-back nights and less situations where he makes 4 appearances in 6 nights.
I'd actually like if this team would start getting smarter with their goaltender management as a whole. This notion of going with the hot hand usually results in a blow out loss and a fatigued goaltender who needs several days to pick up his game again. I don't care if you've only given up 3 goals in the last 3 games, this is the 4th game in 6 nights so you are sitting.
SumOil: I expect the Oilers to stand true to their word and make the starting job Khabibulin’s to lose. That’s where I expect him to get close to 20 starts by Christmas. Around that time Dubnyk should take over and play about 40 games this season. At some point Khabublin will get injured and Dubnyk will slump. Danis could come in and play about 5-7 games. So by my expectations it should be Danis 7 games; Dubnyk 45 games; Khabibulin 30 games.
BDHS Pat: A dozen unless Khabibulin is gone before ten regular season games pass, then all bets are off.
Jeff Chapman: I still don't know who the club is going to call number one. Going to say that Khabibulin remains playable (read: not injured for any significant length of time) this year, and that Dubnyk runs with his starts. Danis will play...eight games in Edmonton this year. If Khabibulin's back starts playing old tricks, then all bets are way off the table.
Jerconjake: Three; the same as Martin Gerber. Even if one of Dubnyk or Khabibulin suffers a ten-to-fifteen game injury, Danis won't be pushed ahead of the $3.75 million man or the youngster who needs experience.
Smokin' Ray: I could see Danis playing at least 12 games this year. At some point Khabibulin will be hurt and I'd expect Danis to be the guy who called up. I'd still roll with Dubnyk for most of the games, but Danis will get in a few. How many depends on the injury status of Khabibulin and when it actually happens. He's old, it's bound to happen.
BCB: I am not answering this question—(if I do then I will curse the team—but if I was forced my guess would be under two handfuls).
Shepso: S#@t, I don’t really want to touch this question at all, but I figure less than 25, more than two handfuls. And he won’t suck, either.
Follow our roundtable on Twitter: @blackdogpat, @dawgbone98, @oilersjambalaya, @oilonwhyte, @sumoil,