Yes, they should. What they do leading up to the season would suggest that they wouldn’t, but they should.
Why wouldn’t the Oilers want to explore the idea of getting another goaltender? Beats me. Tambellini was pretty clear that he expected the Oilers to retain the services of Nikolai Khabibulin and his 3.75M cap hit after locker clean-outs, quipping “We’ll have Nik back”. Heck, maybe he could play for another four or five years.
If you believe that last sentence, click the little ‘x’ at the top right of this window, turn your computer off, lay on a couch, your floor, or in the tub, stare at the sky, and think about your thoughts.
Now the rest of you…
A QUICK LOOK BACK
If Dubnyk didn’t have his rocky start to the season, he may well have finished with 25 wins on the 2011-12 Oilers, which would’ve been a miracle. He struggled to open the season, earning just four wins in thirteen decisions between October and December. Things would turn around in for Devan Dubnyk, as he would finish the season with twenty wins (the first to do so since Dwayne Roloson), a .914 SV% (on a 29th place team), and a pair of shutouts. Dubnyk should be in line for a nice shiny two year deal this offseason, and he’s shown that he’s ready for a make-or-break year, especially if Nikolai Khabibulin is the second goaltender.
Jonathan Willis is a smart guy, stating that it would be wise to buy out Khabiubulin. And he’s right. Willis goes on to say that although Khabibulin’s 35+ cap hit would be with the team this year, it’s a wise investment because guys like 4 and 14 have a year left on their entry level contracts, making Khabibulin’s cap hit almost an afterthought.
This would free up some actual cash, and make fitting in a 1A/2 goaltender that much easier.
SO WHO’S AVAILABLE THIS OFFSEASON?
Think short term, one year deals.
A short list of some potential UFA goaltenders and their 2011-12 info –
- Martin Biron, 34 (NYR) 12-6-2, .904 SV% 875K cap
- Thomas Vokoun, 35 (WSH) 25-17-2, .917 SV%, 1.5 M cap
- Scott Clemmenson, 34 (FLA) 14-6-6, .920 SV%, 1.2M cap
- Josh Harding, 28 (MIN) 13-12-4, .917 SV%, 750K cap
- Nikolai Khabibulin, 39 (EDM) 12-20-7, .910 SV%, 3.75M cap
And those were just the first four that I found. If you cut bait with Khabibulin, the team would pay him 2/3 of his remaining cap hit over the next two years, which would work out to Khabibulin getting $1.25M this year and next.
Do it. Do it yesterday. If you can bring in a replacement netminder for a year under 1.25M, you’re cutting Khabibulin loose AND getting replacement level goaltending FOR LESS than paying Khabibulin to stay a member of the Oilers.
Why wouldn’t you?
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