The Oil are a young team moving forward. Nikolai Khabibulin was once an elite goaltender.. that’s all. Okay, he wasn’t terrible last year. He should retire after this year (unless he takes a significant pay-cut which is unlikely). Make no mistake Nik is just a space-filler in the Edmonton net until the young guys can wrestle the position away from him. Might as well have a piece of plywood duct-taped to the posts.
Moving on, Devan Dubnyk (who split time with the Bulin Wall this past year) has been steadily improving and has taken a long time to develop into an NHL caliber tendy. To Edmonton’s credit, they haven’t rushed him and ruined his career. He’s had relatively little pressure on him because of Khabibulin’s fading-star status. In 47 games Duby racked up a 2.67gaa and a 91.4sv%. Those numbers do NOT justify a $3.5mil cap hit, so clearly GM Tambellini expects big things from the 6’5” Reginan. A slight increase in starts and a bit better numbers wouldn’t be unexpected, and at 26-years-old he’s entering those prime years.
Yann Danis possesses a very similar talent level to Curtis McElhinney. Although he’s not suitable for a large NHL role, the 31-year-old had an exceptional season in the AHL last year with a 92.4sv% and a 2.07gaa with 5 shutties. That’s worth a sniff or two at training camp at the very least. Danis will have to keep his head up though, else Edmonton’s young goalie prospects are liable to take it off his shoulders.
Olivier Roy is not related to Patrick Roy. So don’t think about it. Don’t make comparisons. This Roy put together a very good junior career, good enough in-fact to garner a position on Team Canada’s World Junior squad. He played his first professional season this past year at both Stockton (ECHL for 40 games) and Oklahoma (AHL for 3 games). Olivier must have enjoyed the bus trips because he was able to scrape together a very palpable 2.49gaa and a 92.5sv% in his first professional action as a starter for the Thunder. His 6 games in Oklahoma aren’t really enough of a sample to base anything on, but a prospect of his quality bears watching.
The Oilers used their fifth round pick in 2010 to select Tyler Bunz (Roy was also a fifth rounder in 2009), but being picked in the fifth round isn’t such a bad thing for a goaltending prospect. Bunz has just finished up his junior career in Medicine Hat of the Dub. He was quite good as the starter for 3 full seasons (115-55-19, 2.72gaa, 91.1sv%), thus he should be able to secure a job with the Thunder. It’s likely you’ll see Roy jump up and challenge Danis in Oklahoma while Bunz sets his sights on ECHL starts.
Haha.. BUNZ! I thought I could make it through the article, but I couldn’t! I just couldn’t do it!
Ahhh anyway, Dubnyk/Khabibulin combo should be alright, but don’t expect miracles from them. Oilers need to straighten out their defense core which hasn’t been any good since Pronger demanded a trade a few years ago (remember that? Yikes! He’s basically retired now). All-in-all 2 NHL calibre tenders to split time, 2 good prospects, and an AHL journeyman give the Oil passable depth at tendy. I give Tambellini 5 stiff-arms, a jerseying, and a fake haymaker (5/10).