As the Oilers search for help in goal, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports they have had talks with two-time William M. Jennings Trophy winner Jaroslav Halák.
The nightmare continues for the Oilers and their fans. The defensive effort — or lack thereof from the team — continues to hold the team back.
As of Wednesday morning, the Oilers have the worst team save percentage in the entire NHL, at .873 percent. Additionally, they have the third-worst Goals Against Average (GAA), at 3.88 per contest.
To be clear, we’re not putting this all on the goalies. For example, despite allowing four goals on Monday night, Calvin Picard actually played quite well in the 5-3 loss to the Panthers in Florida.
Regardless, the Oilers do still need some help between the pipes. And not that we’re asking for much, but a relatively cheap veteran option, who can still play well but is willing to take on a backup role, would be just fine.
Well, as it turns out, one such option might well be available and within reach for the Oilers. More specifically, Jaroslav Halák.
As per Jim Parsons of NHL Trade Talk, the Oilers have actually already spoken to Halák’s camp about potentially signing. The report originally came courtesy of TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun.
LeBrun advised that Halák had been on a PTO with the Caroline Hurricanes, but was no longer with the team. Apparently the Hurricans had preferred for him to first complete a conditioning stint in the AHL, whereas he wanted to return straight to the NHL.
So where do the Oilers fit into all of this? Discussing the situation on TSN, LeBrun said:
"“The door is not closed on Carolina but in the meantime, his camp has been talking to other teams, including by the way, the Oilers. But of course Edmonton has been looking at every single goalie possibility out there so I wouldn’t read too much into that, but they have talked to him.”"
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However, even though nothing is imminent, Halák still makes for an intriguing option in Edmonton. While not at the same level as in previous years, he’s still a quality goaltender who can immediately help the Oilers.
Consider that last season, the 38-year-old performed well in 24 starts (25 appearances overall) for the New York Rangers. He went 10-9-5, producing a .903 save percentage and 2.72 GAA in the process.
There are also a couple of motivating factors for Halák, which the Oilers could use to their advantage as they attempt to save their season. First, that he’s constantly been underrated throughout his nearly two decades in the NHL, and has a chip on his shoulder to his day.
Second, the two-time William M. Jennings Trophy winner is within reach of a remarkable personal milestone. He needs just five more regular season wins to reach 300 for his career, something while only 39 goaltenders have achieved to date.
Of course, even pending how serious any mutual interest is between Halák and the Oilers, there are the financial implications. Everyone concerned, is well aware of how tight the Oilers’ salary cap situation is this season.
However, there is hope the Oilers could work something out, at least if you go off last season for the 2015 All-Star. His one-year contract with the Rangers had a base salary of just $1.25 million and a cap hit of $1.5 million.
Overall, we appreciate the chances of Halák ending up in Edmonton are low, together with the reality he would only represent a short-term solution. However, he is an option we believe the Oilers should give some serious consideration towards.