One from the Stands

Justin Goldman




After signing Martin Gerber to a one-year, two-way deal on Friday, the Edmonton Oilers now have quite the interesting fantasy goalie situation heading into the season. Since it happened on an otherwise boring summer day, tons of interesting depth chart topics came bubbling to the surface from hockey writers and Oilers analysts everywhere.


The most pertinent fantasy questions included the current health and off-ice situation of Nikolai Khabibulin. Does the team know something we don't about his rehab process and pending court appearance? Then the obvious question of where Gerber was slated to play this season came into view. I also posed the question of whether or not new Oilers assistant coach and former Team Switzerland coach Ralph Krueger played a role in bringing Gerber back into the NHL.


As of now, the Gerber signing is nothing more than a veteran presence in an otherwise inexperienced and shallow, albeit quite talented, depth chart. Jeff Deslauriers will be entering his third NHL season, Devan Dubnyk his second and Olivier Roy is still playing juniors in the QMJHL. So Gerber goes a long way in providing the Oilers with experience and decent, streaky upside at a very flexible and cost-efficient two-way deal. Overall, it's a great move by Edmonton to fill a void they had in Oklahoma City.


What it truly means in regards to Khabibulin remains to be seen, but we can derive that Edmonton wanted to cover their bases. We already know he's going to have to work hard to shake off the rust and re-strengthen his back and stomach. Injury concerns might lead the coaching staff to limit his minutes in the first half of the season. Or maybe it will be another frustrating battle with dehydration, which has always been an issue. I can't give an exact percentage, but the odds of Khabibulin being in game shape by the preseason, shaking off the rust, adjusting to the current speed of NHL games and performing well in October are slim.


For Dubnyk, not much changes. His one-way deal leads down one of two paths. Either he out-performs Deslauriers in camp to such a clear degree that Edmonton feels a less-experienced goalie belongs behind Khabibulin, or they want him to log a ton of minutes in Oklahoma City. The latter option makes most sense to me, as Dubnyk is in the first year of a new two-year deal and clearly needs another full season of AHL conditioning before he can be set up for real success in Edmonton.


For Deslauriers, well, he was on the verge of arbitration before signing his $1.05 million, one-year deal, so the time is now. He eith