The Kings’ long quest to find stable goaltending took another twist Tuesday when they traded Jason LaBarbera to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2009 seventh-round draft pick.
LaBarbera, who had a 5-8 record, a 2.83 goals-against average and a .893 save percentage, fell behind Erik Ersberg (8-5, 2.38, .903) on the goalie depth chart and became expendable with the recent emergence of rookie Jonathan Quick (2-3, 1.72, .937).
A guy like Labarberra who has out-performed JDD in both the AHL (by a wide margin) and NHL is worth a 7th rounder. That’s the market and all this BS about JDD being so in demand is just smoke being fed into the mainstream media by Oiler mgmt to justify their usual inept handling of the goalies.
There are 2 goalie markets – the elite guys are worth gold and very hard to get – but replacement value for everyone else is almost nothing (eg 7th rounder) because there are so many Aulds, Labarberras and Garons around.
AO nails it, I think, although my concern is more with the wasted roster spot than anything else. You need an awful lot of evidence before you can be really sure that a goalie is anything worth investing in and, to date, the evidence is that JDD isn’t particularly worth investing in – yes he has nice numbers through six NHL games but there’s a mountain of AHL evidence that isn’t particularly compelling. You can run down the list of goalies – goalies who are far more proven than JDD – who have moved for basically nothing and it is, I think, clear that your average NHL goalie doesn’t have a heck of a lot of worth. When JDD is inevitably moved from Edmonton after having failed to turn into anything that you can’t get for a seventh round pick or for free, there ought to be some questions asked about the wisdom of running with a short roster all year long in order to keep a spot open for him.
I’m looking forward to LaBarbera in Vancouver, just to see how he does away from the gong show that has been the LA Kings for the past few years. My suspicion is that he’ll see his numbers bounce back some. He’s not a world beater but he’s got value in the backup role.