• A Move The Oilers Need To Make

    by  • April 5, 2009 • Uncategorized • 31 Comments

    I’m interested in reasons why the Oilers shouldn’t offer Josh Harding a one year contract for whatever the maximum you can pay a guy without giving up more than a second round pick in compensation is (about $2.6MM last year, according to speeds at IOF. As I see it, making the offer to Harding is as close to a no-brainer decision as the Oilers could possibly have.

    For those who are less than familiar with him, Harding is generally considered a blue chip goaltending prospect. He dominated the AHL at a young age and has a career .920 save percentage in the NHL. He’s the same as age as JDD but actually has a track record. Minnesota committed $24MM to Nicklas Backstrom this year and they’ve made their choice with respect to who their goaltender will be in the long term. Backstrom’s contract would likely prove difficult to move for any value.

    As you might be aware, you aren’t allowed to trade players whose RFA offers you have matched. In effect, if Minnesota were to match, all they’d be doing is guaranteeing that they’ll have the same problem next summer, in that they couldn’t trade Harding and he’d need a new contract after next season. They’d also be spending an obscene amount of money on their backup goaltending for this year, which is probably something that they don’t want to do at a time when they clearly need to make their time on the ice in front of their goalie better.

    Taking a one year $2.6ishMM offer would be to Harding’s advantage because he otherwise runs the risk of another year in Minnesota in which he makes maybe $1MM and sits as a backup. A longer contract might not be a good idea for him – the Wild might decide to match it and eat the cost for one year, before looking to move him for a better return than a single draft pick. Harding’s worst case from signing an offer sheet with the Oilers would involve serving as Backstrom’s backup for another year, while enjoying an extra $1.8MM in salary or so and having the security of a no trade clause.

    From Edmonton’s perspective, they can buy the rights to a blue chipper pretty cheaply, at the cost of only ~$2.6MM and a second round draft pick. That gives them a year to see what they think of him. At worst, they end up paying ~$2.6MM to Harding and finds out that, track record notwithstanding, he’s not much better than JDD. They can jettison him after the season, if they feel the need to. If the Wild match, Edmonton gets Minnesota spending ~$2.6MM on a backup goalie who they can’t trade and who needs a new contract at the end of the season. This will prevent them from spending that money to improve in other areas of the ice, which directly benefits the Oilers. At best, the Oilers get a great goaltending prospect on a one year deal for ~$2.6MM at the cost of a second round draft pick. They’ll own his rights for another year afterwards and can decide then whether they want to try and do something long term with him.

    Why wouldn’t this be something that the Oilers do?


    31 Responses to A Move The Oilers Need To Make

    1. April 5, 2009 at

      Because the franchise is managed by idiots.

      There’s an answer for your question.

    2. sketchy
      April 5, 2009 at

      Who do you jettison for cap space?

      The Oil are committed to $46.779MM next year with 15 or so FA’s to deal with.

    3. mc79hockey
      April 5, 2009 at

      One of them’s Roli. They don’t need to bring him back, although there’s a certain amount of risk in not doing so. I think he takes $2.5MM for one year but we’ll see – there aren’t a lot of starting jobs out there. You lose JDD’s cap hit too.

      The numbers could be worked out, I think.

    4. Quain
      April 5, 2009 at

      The 15 or so FA’s include a lot of guys that are either AHL call-ups that don’t matter or guys who are leaving. The numbers only pinch a bit if you want a Harding/Roloson tandem, and even then it’s easy enough with a few easy moves.

      The real reason this wouldn’t be something the Oilers do is because we spend the off-season throwing the moon and the stars at Hossa.

    5. Will
      April 5, 2009 at

      That makes too much sense. I’m sure between Pete Peeters and Buchberger, they’ll decide they don’t like Harding’s personal goalie coach and will go with a tandem in net of JDD & Liam Reddox.

      Kidding aside, if the Oilers do have the brains to make the move, are there other teams that might not do the same? Colorado?

    6. Till Horcoff Is Coach
      April 6, 2009 at

      Sold on your proposal.

      Actually I’m sold on any proposal that doesn’t sign Roli. It appears that this is the year for Oil to get a goalie for the next 3 years.. for the 10/11 season, we should already be comfortable with whomever we have, not trying to search then.

    7. April 6, 2009 at

      If I was Roloson, I’d look elsewhere. I’d figure I’d squeezed as much as I could out of this team. I’m not going to win a ring here. Remember, they tried to run me out of town last year and I had to move my family to another city, but my stellar play kept me here till the end of my contract. What’s stopping them from doing that again?
      And while I’m too proud to say I’m tired after 35 games in a row, I know I could be better with a game off every week or so. And if I signed in Detroit, I wouldn’t have to face 55 Wings shots four times a season.
      Why would Edmonton re-sign me? More like, why should I re-sign with Edmonton?

    8. April 6, 2009 at

      Very good argument MC.

    9. April 6, 2009 at

      Now Mirtle’s spreading the idea and driving up Harding’s price. Maybe you should have just sent this one in a brown envelope to Stauffer.

    10. Jon K
      April 6, 2009 at

      Your idea indeed makes a great deal of sense. As a result, I suspect we’ll see another team give it a shot. Colorado seems a likely team to attempt it.

      Roli’s free agent status worries me that we might not get the chance to have him signed for next year. A team like Detroit offering a 1-year deal would seem very tempting for a competitive guy like Dwayne.

    11. April 6, 2009 at

      Will, no way. JDD and Penner, so MacT can say he’s making Pens work hard.

    12. April 6, 2009 at

      Yeah unless he doesn’t get a sniff elsewhere I cannot see Roloson signing in Edmonton. He will sign with a contender.

    13. Joe
      April 6, 2009 at

      Per my calculations, next year the RFA compensation chart looks like this:

      950,593 and below = no compensation

      950,593 – 1,440,292 = 3rd round pick

      1,440,292 – 2,880,587 = 2nd round pick

      2,880,587 – 4,320,880 = 1st & 3rd round pick

      4,320,880 – 5,761,173 = 1st, 2nd, & 3rd round pick

      5,761,173 – 7,201,469 = Two 1st’s, 2nd, & 3rd round pick

      7,201,469 and over = Four 1st round picks

      So you can give up to almost 2.9M and only give up a 2nd rounder.


    14. sketchy
      April 6, 2009 at

      I’m all in, I liked Harding for a while.

      One issue, if JDD wasn’t good enough to spell off Roli this year why would he be good enough to help Harding next?

    15. April 6, 2009 at

      Sorry. I already called dibs for the Avs

    16. coach pb
      April 6, 2009 at

      Not a bad idea, MC, but I’d rather use that 2nd to do the dual offer sheets for one of the four teams with nice young assets.

    17. godot10
      April 6, 2009 at

      Why wouldn’t Minnesota trade him to Philadelphia before July 1 for, say, Simon Gagne, or some such deal?

      Philadelphia needs a goaltender, and need to shred salary at forward.

    18. mc79hockey
      April 6, 2009 at

      @godot10: If I was Minnesota, I’d definitely try to trade him before July 1. With that said, they’ve been talking as if they won’t trade him. The smart play on Risebrough’s part would be to move him. If he doesn’t, the Oilers should try to sting him.

    19. David Staples
      April 6, 2009 at

      This sounds like a good idea, one worth exploring.

      If there’s a coaching change here, Roloson is less likely to stay, as he was MacT’s man.

      Perhaps Oil could get a jump on Harding, offer Minny a second and a fourth before July 1, if a deal with Harding can be worked ahead of time.

    20. Schitzo
      April 6, 2009 at

      The only problem I see is that you make the offer sheet July 1st, and won’t have an answer from Minnesota for 7 days.

      In that week, you sit on your hands while Roloson signs elsewhere and the pool of available goalies begins to dry up. And then on July 8th when Minnesota matches, we’re stuck with a JDD/Sanford combo.

    21. Dennis
      April 6, 2009 at

      The whole idea of chasing Jagr actually did paint the org as being progressive and looking outside the norm. Sure, it was gonna give Jagr a big payday for ’10 in order to keep him from being claimed but the Oil thought far ahead enough to try and work out a deal with his KHL team.

      Sadly, I would wager that the Oilers would think about this but would decide against it not because they didn’t believe in Harding but rather because they’d rather go back to Rolieauries.

    22. April 6, 2009 at

      All I know is that Harding/Roloson looks a hell of a lot better than Roloson/Deslauriers.

      Do it.

    23. April 6, 2009 at

      Sorry. I already called dibs for the Avs.

      I’m sorry, but I’d previously called dibs for the Oilers.

    24. April 6, 2009 at

      I’m sorry, but I’d previously called dibs for the Oilers.

      1 day earlier than me too. Damn.

    25. April 6, 2009 at

      I’ve been barking up the harding tree since january, first at my home base and later in a few threads on lowetide. Glad to see you’re all catching up…so sorry jibblescribbits. The oiler masses have spoken, and for a change, this is group-think that is in a positive direction.

    26. PunjabiOil
      April 7, 2009 at

      It makes sense in theory; but could massively backfire, as argued by Schitzo.

      Say Oilers offer Harding a contract – on July 1 he accepts. That sends a signal to Roloson that you don’t want him back; he leaves. Then you are stuck with JDD/Sanford/Sabourin or some comparable alternative.

      I’m not saying I’m opposed to this theory; but what’s the disaster recovery plan?

      Then again, Kevin Lowe never has compiled such plans.

    27. April 7, 2009 at

      Roloson can be extended prior to July 1st (can’t he?) – just sign him before making the offer sheet to Harding.

    28. April 7, 2009 at

      The whole point of the idea is to use Harding as our starter, not to steal Minnesota’s absurdly expensive/talented backup for Bäckström and use him as an absurdly expensive/talented backup for Roli. There are not many goalies in the FA market we would want to give 60 starts to, but there are certainly some you could trust with 20 if you want to write off JDD.

    29. April 7, 2009 at

      In theory, I wouldn’t be opposed to bringing Roli back, if he’d come back for one year and $2MM to $2.5MM. You then have each of them as a safeguard for the other, with the added advantage that your backup goaltending should be considerably better than league average. Assuming Harding pans out, you push Roloson off on an ice floe the following year.

      That would, of course, require the Oilers both reading the market for starting goalies (there aren’t a lot of desirable jobs out there for fellows like Roli) and having the guts of a burglar and playing it out. History has taught us that the team has a tendency to fold its hand in these circumstances.

    30. lowetide
      April 7, 2009 at

      They’ll sign Roloson. It’ll be a lot of money.

    31. Schitzo
      April 7, 2009 at

      Tyler – the problem is that the Oilers likely aren’t the only team who might be talking to Harding on July 1st.

      If we clearly didn’t have a #1 goalie, at least you can pitch it as an opportunity to play 60 games a year.

      If we’ve already extended Roli, Harding is signing up for a chance to lose the starting job the first time old man MacT decides he trusts Roli more.

      Why not sign the offer sheet from the Avs at that point?

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