Vancouver, BC (Sports Network) - The Edmonton Oilers seemingly have solidified
their goaltending plans for the upcoming season with the signing of free agent
Jason LaBarbera to work alongside incumbent starter Devan Dubnyk, but there
remains plenty of questions surrounding the position.
The Oilers are responsible for bringing up many of those questions and doubts
about their goaltending situation with their not-so-secret pursuits of former
Los Angeles King Jonathan Bernier and former Vancouver Canuck Cory Schneider,
who were traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs and New Jersey Devils, respectively,
in recent weeks.
This all came despite the fact Dubnyk, who is entering into the final season of
the two-year, $7 million deal he inked just last summer, posted some decent
numbers on a young and somewhat defensively suspect Oilers club. It was his
first true season as the team's undisputed No. 1 goaltender, finishing with a
2.57 GAA and a .920 save percentage.
Dubnyk may be the starter heading into this season but it seems evident the
Oilers' brass, led by new general manager Craig MacTavish, isn't quite sold on
him being the franchise netminder moving forward.
Even though the Oilers have the 33-year-old veteran LaBarbera signed to a one-
year deal and have brought in 25-year-old former Dallas Stars backup Richard
Bachman into the mix as well, neither of those two are likely destined to be
part of Edmonton's long-term plan.
With that said, here are three potential goaltenders around the league who
Oilers fans might want to keep on their radar, knowing their team may still be
in the hunt for a netminder who could push or possibly usurp Dubnyk for the
MARC-ANDRE FLEURY - PITTSBURGH PENGUINS
Contract status: Signed through 2014-15 at a $5 million cap hit; unrestricted
free agent in July 2015.
Fleury has proven himself to be a very solid regular-season performer, but the
former first overall pick has taken a lot of flak for his play in the playoffs
over the years despite leading Pittsburgh to a Stanley Cup championship in
The final straw might have come during this year's playoffs when the 28-year-
old lost his starter's job after the first four games of the Penguins' playoff
run to veteran Tomas Vokoun, who carried the load the rest of the way.
While Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma has given Fleury a vote of confidence and
suggests he'll be the team's No. 1 netminder come the fall, you'd have to
wonder if a change of scenery might be in the cards.
JAMES REIMER - TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
Contract status: Signed through 2013-14 at a $1.8 million cap hit; restricted
free agent in July 2014.
Reimer finds himself in the position that Dubnyk would have been in had the
Oilers been successful in their attempts to acquire either Bernier or
Despite posting career numbers and helping the Leafs snap a nine-year playoff
drought, Reimer's status as the No. 1 netminder in Toronto is very much in
doubt after the Leafs brought in Bernier via trade with the Kings.
Reimer will reach restricted free agency status at the end of the upcoming
season as well and will be in line for a raise, meaning the Leafs might be
looking to shop the 25-year-old.
The Leafs may publicly be suggesting Reimer and Bernier will be able to push
one another and battle for the top job, but it certainly seems like the
writing is on the wall for Reimer as far as his time in Toronto is concerned.
JAROSLAV HALAK - ST. LOUIS BLUES
Contract status: Signed through 2013-14 at a $3.75 million cap hit;
unrestricted free agent in July 2014.
Halak has turned in some fine performances for the Blues over the last three
seasons when he's been in the lineup.
Unfortunately, he hasn't been in the lineup enough for the team's liking,
especially over the last couple years when he's battled a number of injuries.
At 28, Halak still has plenty to give and is mentioned as being among the
league's elite, but with Brian Elliott grabbing the reins as the starter this
past season and with another capable up-and-comer in their system in Jake
Allen, that could leave Halak as the odd man out.
With Halak less than a year away of being able to just walk away from the Blues
- leaving them with nothing - St. Louis might be looking to get some value out
of him on the trade market while it still can.
The Sports Network