Reasons the Oilers need to trade for a backup goaltender

Oct 14, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN;Vancouver Canucks goaltender Casey DeSmith (29) makes a save on a deflection by Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman (18) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 14, 2023; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN;Vancouver Canucks goaltender Casey DeSmith (29) makes a save on a deflection by Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman (18) during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Edmonton Oilers need a quality backup goaltender who will help address the situation and provide more stability to the lineup.

The Edmonton Oilers sent goaltender Jack Campbell to the AHL to work on his game after a terrible start to the 2023-24 season, although the early returns in Bakersfield are extremely concerning. General Manager Ken Holland is at a standstill as to what to do with his current predicament in net.

The Oilers are in need of a steady and quality goaltender to back up and compliment Stuart Skinner. In addition, they would need the credentials to come in whenever required, given Skinner’s own struggles at times this season.

The need for a new backup goaltender who can help the Oilers is clear in their quest to compete for the playoffs, with the team last in the NHL in save percentage and tied-third worst in average goals allowed per game. However, it is unlikely to come at a cheap price, with the front office probably needing to make a serious offer in any potential trade.

However, the biggest conflict in addressing this need, is balancing possibly mortgaging the future against the need to win now. How much will Holland’s need to improve his reputation in Edmonton with a strong push for the playoffs, go against leaving the organisation with a solid foundation when he (likely) moves on from his GM role at the end of this season?

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Holland must decide what package or single-player swap he can complete in exchange for a strong backup goaltender, at what is still an early stage in the season. Who is the best fit in terms of what they bring to the table for the Oilers?

One of the better goalies to pursue is Casey DeSmith, who has been playing well in net for the Vancouver Canucks. He has a cap hit of $1.8 million, but will become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Another option the Oilers could consider is Marc-André Fleury, who at this stage of his Hall of Fame career is better suited to a backup role. The main issue here though is his $3.5 million cap hit, although he will also be a free agent in the summer.

Next. Deep dive into the Oilers defence and goalie issues. dark

There are plenty of decent goaltenders out there for the Oilers to consider, as they look for a quality backup. Given their current defensive issues, they will likely aim to make a move well before the NHL trade deadline of March 8.