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Examining the Edmonton Oilers goaltenders

by Bill Meltzer

Complete Oilers Analysis:
Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards
Feature | Numbers | Sked | Roster

Who's No. 1?

Amidst the Oilers’ struggles throughout the 2006-07 season, starting goaltender Dwayne Roloson was a workhorse. He turned in an admirable effort in playing nearly 4,000 minutes and fashioning a .909 save percentage and respectable 2.75 goals-against average.

More than anything, Roloson, who lost six overtime/shootout decisions, was a victim of poor goal support. There were too many nights last season where he was forced to make do with one or two goals. Even when Edmonton scored first -- which happened in 40 games last season -- Roloson often got little else with which to work. Edmonton finished with a so-so 22 wins in those games. But Roloson usually slammed the door when the club took a lead into the third period. The Oilers won 22 of the 24 games where it led after 40 minutes.

There have some concerns voiced that the keeper, who will turn 38 early in the season, may not be able to carry such a heavy workload for much longer. Goaltenders, however, typically decline at later ages than many position players; a counterbalance to how long it often takes young goaltenders to develop.

Roloson is likely to receive better goal support this season. On the flip side, if the Oilers’ defense struggles, he could be in for a busy year in his end of the ice.

Backup plan

Veteran Mathieu Garon replaces Jussi Markkanen as Roloson’s backup. Last season, Garon played 1,779 minutes and was the most successful contestant in the Los Angeles Kings’ game of musical goalies.

Garon, 29, posted a 2.66 GAA, 13 wins, two shutouts and a .907 save percentage. In the process, he topped the charts in every category among the five different goaltenders who manned the crease for LA in 2006-07.

In the Wings

Jeff Deslauriers -- The Oilers drafted the 6-foot-4, 190-pound keeper in the second round (31st overall) of the 2002 Entry Draft. …The 23-year-old goaltender established himself as an AHL goaltender in 2006-07 after splitting the previous two seasons between the NHL and AHL levels. … Recorded a 2.47 GAA, .908 save percentage and four shutouts in 40 games with the Wilkes Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2006-07.

Devan Dubnyk -- The Oilers drafted the 6-foot-6, 195-pound goaltender in the first round (14th overall) of the 2004 Entry Draft. … The 21-year-old goaltender played his first professional season in 2006-07 after four-plus junior seasons with the Kamloops Blazers. …Spent most of the 2006-07 season in the ECHL with the Stockton Thunder (43 GP, 24-11-7, 2.56 GAA, .921 save percentage, two shutouts). … Also played four games for Wilkes Barre/Scranton in the ECHL (2.94 GAA, .855 save percentage).

Glenn Fisher -- The Oilers drafted the 6-foot-1, 160-pound Edmonton native in the fifth round (148th overall) of the 2002 Entry Draft. … 24-year-old University of Denver graduate is taking part in his first pro camp. … Recorded a 2.32 GAA,  .919 save percentage and three shutouts for University of Denver in 2006-07.

Dwayne Roloson
Oilers general manager Kevin Lowe on the team's goaltending plans for 2007-08, quoted from the Edmonton Journal:

"We've been really happy with Roli. If [Garon] plays so good that he's challenging Roli, that's good for us. It's certainly not our intention to get into a 40/40 split. That's not healthy."                  

1. In 2006-07, Roloson set new career highs in games and minutes played in a season as well as wins.

2. Roloson’s 68 games played last season ranks eighth on the Oilers’ all-time single season list for goaltenders.

3. Roloson easily won the Molson Cup award last year with 140 points, 50 points ahead of the second-place finisher.'s 2007-08 Oilers Season Preview Package:
Intro | Goalies | Defense | Forwards | Feature | Numbers | Sked | Roster
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