So far in the Armchair GM series I’ve covered off the following topics:
Bring on the goalies!
The Oilers current goaltending depth is interesting. Not as interesting as the defense but it’s close. Before Chiarelli took over I truly believed the Oilers management and coaching staff felt that Laurent Brossoit would be NHL ready by the 2016/17 season. Which is why Ben Scrivens’ contract was only a 2 year contract, in hind sight it was better than what could've happened (see Nikolia Khabilbulin). Anyway the Oilers’ entire organization only has 3 goalies under contract, Ben Scrivens, Laurent Brossoit and Eetu Laurikainen. This is obviously a bit of an issue and whether you think Scrivens should be given another chance or not, the Oilers still need to find at least 1 more NHL level goalie.
Originally I was going to follow the same format I was using for the skaters but the pool of useful UFA goalies is a little shallow so I changed up my strategy. About a month ago Darcy McLeod posted this gem on his blog. It was a nice break down of 5 UFA goalies and 10 other goalies that seemed to be available via trade. From Darcy’s original list I’m going to remove Ben Scrivens (obviously) and Devan Dubnyk (#BecauseOilers). I will also be removing Corey Crawford and Jonathan Quick because of the long term and big dollars attached to them. Finally I am also removing Brian Elliott because I don’t see St. Louis moving him, Craig Anderson’s 3yr contract at $4.7M/yr isn’t a risk I’m willing to take, and Robin Lehner because I do not see him as a number one goalie in the NHL.
At least two of the four UFAs are going to get over paid.
Ramo helped Calgary through a Cinderella season. Even though he wasn’t the de-facto #1 he still started 32 games in 2014/15 and 40 the season before. His boxcar numbers look decent with a 0.912 SV% and 2.63 GAA.
Niemi is the other. Niemi has won a Stanley Cup, been nominated for a Vezina (2013) and has maintained a 0.916 SV% and 2.39 GAA over 6 NHL seasons. His previous contract of $3.8M/season makes his price even higher and the term will be at least 3 years. At age 31 that brings him to 34 or older. The biggest thing for Niemi and a possible signing is that he and Todd McLellan have history together.
Neuvirth is a tricky one. While in Washington most of Neuvirth’s time was spent platooned with Semyon Varlamov or backing up Braden Holtby. When he went to Buffalo he backed up Ryan Miller and then shared the net with Enroth. His boxcar numbers are better than Enroth’s but he’s only played 168 NHL games.
Enroth is the other tricky one. He was drafted by Buffalo, played backup to Miller and after being traded to Dallas he didn’t look spectacular either. Thanks to his boxcar numbers of 0.909 SV% & 2.88 GAA and only 131 GP, Enroth may be doomed to the same fate as Neuvirth.
The nice thing about both Neuvirth and Enroth is that they may not be signed in July. If the other UFA options fall through or is Scrivens can be traded then either would be a nice addition to the Oilers.
Cam Talbot is in an interesting situtuation. He will be a UFA at the end of the 2015/16 season, there is next to 0% chance he ever becomes the Rangers’ starting goalie and the Rangers are skirting the cap line quite closely. Trading Talbot in the offseason means that the Rangers need to go out and get another goalie to fill his spot. Someone like Curtis McElhinney, Michael Leighton or Joey MacDonald at league minimum may be able to fill that spot.
Like I mentioned earlier, the Rangers are right up against the cap so acquiring an actual NHL player probably doesn’t help them too much. Chances are NYR will be looking for picks at this year’s draft. The Rangers don’t pick until 59 since they traded their 1st round pick to Tampa Bay and their 2nd round pick to Arizona but have Tampa Bay’s 2nd round pick.
To acquire Talbot I’d start with St. Louis’ 3rd round pick (86 overall) and a forward prospect like Bogdan Yakimov or Greg Chase and go as good as the 33rd overall pick with the same prospects. Unless another team is willing to give up a first round pick for Talbot this is probably the best offer the Rangers will get for Talbot at the draft. No matter what there will probably be no actual NHL salary going to the Rangers for Talbot.
Bernier is probably going to end up getting resigned in Toronto. He’s done well and will probably be the number one guy there. Jones is tainted, like Scrivens before, Jones looks good because of the defense infront of him but I am just too wary of Los Angeles Kings goalies.
Raanta looks to be the odd man out in Chicago but they do need a goalie down in the AHL so if he clears waivers he’s obviously the guy. If Raanta hits waivers the Oilers better be claiming him though, he could help as a backup to Talbot and it would allow Scrivens to waived as well.
Well the obvious decision is going to be Talbot here. Like I said I don’t see him costing more than a second rounder and a prospect. His contract is cheap $1.45M and it’s only 1 year so if it doesn’t work out then he’s gone in 2016. The cost of acquiring Talbot bring the total cap space available to $6,832,083.