Dropping Dubnyk

Source: The Oilers Rig

Source: The Oilers Rig

As expected, the Oilers shipped out goalie Devan Dubnyk. This season has not been his best, but Dubnyk did show a vast improvement from the start of the year. He’s an average to good NHL goalie that had to face a ton of shots playing behind a weak defensive team. A lot of the goals he allowed were magnified nightly mainly because the team did not have enough talent to get one back.

I’ve been a fan of his mainly because of the issues he had to deal with developing in the Oilers system. Keep in mind, when Dubnyk completed his junior career, the Oilers did not even have their own farm team. He was stuck scraping minutes on another club’s farm team, which is challenging as other goalies had higher priority for ice time.

Goaltending is one of those positions that I don’t value as highly as others. In my opinion, you need average goaltending behind a solid system and tactics to have success in the league. Goalies are just too difficult to predict. Far too often you hear stories about goalies almost coming out of nowhere to lead their team to success. An example would be Martin Jones in LA or Viktor Fasth in Anaheim. Both were relative unknowns who have put up some decent numbers playing on well structured teams.

Having said all that, I can appreciate MacTavish making a move that he thinks is best for the team. What I don’t understand is the return he got for Dubnyk. I think a couple other posts put it best: From The Copper and Blue:

Hendricks signed a four-year deal with the Predators as a free agent in July of last year; a deal that comes with an annual cap hit of $1.85M. Oh and he’s 32. In 44 games this season he’s scored two goals and added two assists. His 0.09 points/game this season is well of the areer best of 0.32 that he posted in 2010/11, but if you look at the years in between is probably the type of production that should be expected during his time with the Oilers. The fancy stats don’t put him in a much better light either. His Corsi% this season is 42.3%, lowest among Predators forwards. He has had tough zone starts though, second toughest on the team, but even when you account for that the results are not very good. All signs point to a players who belongs, more often than not, on the fourth line.

From mc79hockey:

It seems to me that there was an obvious alternative: send Dubnyk to Oklahoma City. Sure, it stinks for Dubnyk’s career given that he’s probably looking to drag his save percentage above .900 before he becomes a free agent but then Dubnyk’s career is not the Oilers’ problem. If faced with a choice between what’s best for Dubnyk’s career and what’s best for the Oilers, the decision is simple: do what’s best for the Oilers. The Oilers went another way. At the end of the year he goes. The Oilers get nothing in return but then nothing trumps negative something. There are Hendricks’ available for very little every summer who don’t need four year deals at $1.85MM. The Oilers just ate a ton of risk that Hendricks won’t be able to play in the NHL in a year or two for no apparent reason.

Considering the Oilers used a first round pick to select him and that they spent so much time developing him into a legitimate NHL goalie, it’s hard to understand what problem MacTavish was trying to solve with this trade.

Cutting Room

I find it interesting that MacTavish picked up Ben Scrivens, another goalie who spent time in the LA Kings goalie development system. MacTavish had high praise for Jonathan Quick recently and also pursued Jonathan Bernier in the offseason. Should also note that former Oilers goalie Billy Ranford is one of the goalie coaches in Los Angeles.

It’s getting quite tiresome to constantly hear the Oilers pursuing Alberta born players. Before acquiring Scrivens, who just happens to be from Spruce Grove, Cam Ward, a Sherwood Park resident playing in Carolina, was confirmed to be of interest to the Oilers,

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Thoughts on the Oilers: MacTavish on goaltending and coaching

Source: Calgary Sun

Source: Calgary Sun

Oilers GM Craig MacTavish provided some insight into the state of the Oilers in a recent interview with David Staples of the Edmonton Journal. The interview is broken up into four parts, the first of which can be found over at the Cult of Hockey.

Regarding goaltending, MacTavish revealed his hopes that one of his netminders would provide a “spark”, similar to what Jonathan Quick provided the LA Kings.

Quick developed. And he gave them the spark. He was the guy that gave them the spark that ignited that team. The team still has trouble scoring goals but they really were challenged back that year and it was all based on defence and the play of Jonathan Quick.

I find this point interesting only because LA, even though they were on the verge of a breakout, had some decent defencemen in front of Quick. Not to say that Quick isn’t an elite goalie. But I’d like to see how he would do playing behind the current defence core of the Edmonton Oilers. This also explains why MacTavish was after Jonathan Bernier, who was the backup in Los Angeles and developed in the same system as Quick.

MacTavish also provided strong support for head coach Dallas Eakins.

And I would say, absolutely, yeah. I love the coach. To me, he’s done a lot. There’s been a lot of heavy lifting for him. We’re going to have continuity of coaching going forward, which is going to make a big difference going into next year. It’s the same coaching staff, the same messaging. You know how disruptive it is to change coaches. We’re going to have this continuity of coaching. For me, this guy has got the right balance of supporting the players and holding them accountable. There’s an accountability that like.

Even though Eakins is struggling this year, I think it’s critical that they maintain some consistency behind the bench. I think by the end of next year, if things don’t turn around, MacTavish may have to make a change.

I was pretty skeptical about the Oilers hiring MacTavish. The optics were just terrible as another former player was getting the job based on their alumni status rather than their professional credentials. But since his hiring, MacTavish has completely re-done the roster through some excellent, simple, trades and free agent signings. I really do think the team is heading in the right direction and feel a lot more confidence in him over Steve Tambellini.

Highly recommend the entire interview over at Cult of Hockey.

Recommended Links

Did Craig MacTavish Move Ladislav Smid to Calgary Just in Time? – OilersNation

Simple Concepts – The Copper and Blue

 

Thoughts on the Oilers: Losing Streak; MacTavish and Goalies; Omark Traded

Source: Edmonton Oilers

Source: Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers have only three wins in their last ten games. The club is in the midst of a 5-game losing streak and will be hosting the St. Louis Blues this Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada. The way this team is playing, especially defensively and on the powerplay, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the streak continue to finish off 2013. Fun times in Oil Country!

MacTavish and Goalies

Looks like the Oilers will continue rotating between Dubnyk and Bryzgalov until one of them is the clear-cut starter. I’m still hoping Dubnyk can bounce back and reclaim the starter position, but it’s clear that he doesn’t have the confidence of management. Prior to signing Ilya Bryzgalov, the organization had sought other goalies including Ben Bishop from Ottawa back in April and Jonathan Bernier from LA in the summer.  Then there were all sorts of rumors about Ryan Miller being of interest to the Oilers in the early part of the season.

Looking back over the years that MacTavish was head coach, he never seemed to have a clear-cut, elite, number one goalie. Tommy Salo was the starter early in MacTavish’s coaching career, but was phased out to make room for Ty Conklin. Conklin never really panned out, and the organization was forced to have a ridiculous goalie rotation in 2005-2006. The Oilers had to deal a first round pick to acquire Roloson who played a big role in getting the Oilers to the finals in 2006. Roloson appeared to be the guy for MacTavish in 2006-2007, but then split playing time with Mathieu Garon the following year. What stands out in this goalie history is that MacTavish never had the luxury of having a solid, consistent, goaltender, and, because of his experience, likely overvalues elite goaltending.

Omark Trade

The Oilers shipped out Linus Omark yesterday to Buffalo in exchange for a 6th round pick. Omark has a tremendous amount of skill that was showcased in the AHL, where he scored 47 points in 46 games and was heavily relied on by the Oklahoma City coaching staff. Stats like that typically indicate the player could put up some decent numbers in the NHL according to Desjardins equivalency calculation. Unfortunately, Omark didn’t get the right opportunity in the NHL, as he was typically brought up for short stints to play empty minutes on the third and fourth line. There’s an abundance of skilled forwards in Edmonton with higher draft pedigrees than Omark, so hopefully he gets a fair shake in Buffalo.

Here’s hoping we’ll read about his renaissance in a few years, similar to what was recently written about former Oiler Dustin Penner.

Recommended Links

The Linus Omark I Knew (Was the one that surprised me the most) – Tend the Farm

Segla framåt, du begåvade – Lowetide

Fare Thee Well, Linus Omark – The Copper and Blue

Building a Winner – OilersNation

Now Eventually You Do Plan To Have Power, On Your Powerplay, Right? Hello?  – OilersNation

Burke, Value and Truculence – FlamesNation