The offseason will officially get underway with free agency set to begin on Friday, and we’ve already heard plenty about what the Edmonton Oilers could do, though we have yet to see anything really materialize. Much of what we’ve heard to this point relates to their situation between the pipes.
The Oilers have been mentioned as a landing spot for Ilya Bryzgalov and they reportedly pursued Cory Schneider pretty hard, to the point of a couple of draft picks and a prospect. That would indicate that Devan Dubnyk‘s job was at risk, which may not necessarily be the case. The Oilers need to be focusing on helping Dubnyk to succeed, rather than to try and challenge him.
Dubnyk has already noted his surprise at the Oilers pursuing other goaltending options this summer. He’s expecting to roll into the next season as the starter, and while competition might be nice, the Oilers are certainly sending mixed signals to their no. 1 netminder. What they need to be doing is to put him in a position where he will best succeed.
Dubnyk hasn’t really been afforded the opportunity to play behind a quality club in his time with the Oilers. He has seen a significant amount of starts over the past two years, posting a record of 34-36-9 over that span. Heading into a contract year, it’s time for the Oilers to see what Dubnyk’s got.
He’s shown some signs of brilliance the last couple of years, but there’s only so much you can do behind a club that has been as shoddy defensively as the Oilers have been. He’s only 27 and heading into a contract year. The Oilers need to be setting him up for success to see if he has the chops to be a franchise goalie, which he may indeed have the potential to be.
The focus needs to be on improving the team in front of him and finding him a true backup, rather than to send mixed signals and trying to find someone to potentially supplant him as the no. 1 guy.