TSN has suggested the Oilers look to the Sharks to solidify their goalie position, but is the worst team in the NHL really the answer?
There’s no doubt the Oilers have a significant issue with their defensive play. Ahead of Sunday’s action, they have the second worst team save percentage and third most average goals allowed per game.
Looking to change the defensive scheme hasn’t helped, nor the subsequent attempts to tweak the system. Players have struggled to adapt and are making far too many mistakes, including rudimentary errors.
One potential solution is to bring in a new goaltender, whether it be to act in tandem with Stuart Skinner or serve as a quality backup. The question is, who would be both a capable and realistic target for the Oilers?
Certainly there’s been a lot of potential options for the Oilers to consider. Interestingly, this now theoretically includes the team with the worst record in the league so far this season.
One of the few sharks with teeth
More specifically the San Jose Sharks, who have the fewest points in the NHL at the time of posting. This would be the same team who have allowed the most average goals per game.
Regardless, TSN‘s Darren Dreger believes the Oilers should consider looking to the Sharks to solve their current goalie dilemma. As per Mark Easson of NHL rumors, Dreger said:
"“I’d be looking at Mackenzie Blackwood in San Jose. I’d be looking at every goalie option there is and I’m sure (Ken Holland) is. … I feel a deal has to get done sooner than later in Edmonton.”"
Now we appreciate Mackenzie Blackwood is only one of numerous goalies being mentioned as possible targets for the Oilers. However, is he really someone for them to seriously consider?
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Blackwood certainly has the attributes you look for in an NHL goaltender. He’s athletic, talented and big, which all alludes towards having intriguing potential.
It also helps that the 26-year-old still hasn’t yet reached his playing peak. Perhaps his only real achilles heel is that he hasn’t proven to be consistently productive so far.
In fairness though, it doesn’t help when you’re playing for a team, which is regarded as one of the worst in the NHL, both defensively and in general. Further, this has been the case for the majority of Blackwood’s five-plus seasons in San Jose.
Given all the above factors, the Thunder Bay, Ontario native has performed admirably well so far this season, even allowing for his poor 2-9-2 record. Despite dealing with circumstances outside his control, he has a .897 save percentage and 3.80 Goals Against Average in 15 appearances, which includes 13 starts.
Long-term positive results
If this makes critics dubious, consider Blackwood’s career record of 65-57-18 in 152 games, which incorporates 143 starts. In the process, he has an overall .906 save percentage and 2.97 Goals Against Average.
Taking everything into account, the 2015 second round draft pick has performed well so far in his career, again taking note of all the various factors. Of course, there is also the matter of the financial implications.
Oilers fans are well aware of their team’s salary cap situation this season. This leads to how feasible it is to take on Blackwood’s contract, with a cap hit of $2.35 million for this season (pro rata) and next, before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
This leads to the question of what the Sharks would be prepared to accept in any return package? If nothing else, their ambitions allude towards thinking about the future as opposed to right now.
Ultimately, you can make the argument Blackwood would be an excellent addition for the Oilers, when combining his age, talent and contract situation. Whether or not they consider him someone they want to pursue though, remains to be seen.