Here is where the Edmonton Oilers need to pull out the rosary beads, because even if everything else falls into place, if the goaltending lets them down, everything will be all for not. The Oilers don’t need spectacular goaltending to get where they are going, although it would help, but what they do need is for it to be steady and more importantly, make saves in critical situations in any given game. It’s not so much about how many you stop but when you stop them.
– Should get every opportunity to run with the ball this year. After all, it’s not like there are an abundance of other options to rely upon. Dubnyk had a solid last 2 months of the season to garner himself a 2 year, 7 million dollar deal. The money and his age tell us that he should be ready to run with the ball, but I remain skeptical in his ability, athleticism and conditioning. The Oilers should be a team that once again, gives up a ton of shots. We’ll have to see how he will hold up when he gets the lion’s share of the workload. I don’t think there will be more pressure on any other player more than there will be on Dubnyk this year. If the team fails to improve in the goals against category, the torches and pitchforks will be looking for Dubnyk.
– The sun is setting on an otherwise fantastic career for Nikolai Khabibulin. Khabibulin has shown in his time with the Oilers that he is no longer able to run with the ball full time. Many things have gone into his demise. Too many shots faced, declining reflexes, losses piling up, DUI charge. Father Time eventually beats everyone and Khabibulin is facing his day with him. I thought it was a mistake at the time to sign Khabibulin to a 4 year deal. The Oilers were going nowhere and everyone knew it, so why sign an aging goaltender at top dollar? I dunno but its not my money. I feel that he should be fortunate that the Oilers haven’t shipped him off to Europe in favour of some cheap backup. It speaks to his character that they would want to keep him around. If Khabibulin is forced to play over 40 games this season, its likely going to mean that Dubnyk has faltered and the season has ended in disaster once again.
– Danis should be the starter in Oklahoma City once again this season. Danis has been a good soldier in his time here and has given OKC rock solid goaltending. He’s a smallish goaltender and not really a threat to take a job from Dubnyk or Khabibulin but is a decent, short term replacement if injury arises.
Olivier Roy & Tyler Bunz
– I’m going to lump these two in the same category because it’s essentially 2 dogs, 1 steak. Both will compete for the backup gig in OKC while the other will get games in the ECHL in Stockton. Olivier Roy has the inside track due to experience while Tyler Bunz will be getting his pro career underway.