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BLOG: MacTavish now comfortable with goalie depth

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers

When the Edmonton Oilers pulled the trigger on a trade with the Calgary Flames on November 8, to bring 20-year-old goalie prospect Laurent Brossoit into the organization, General Manager Craig MacTavish was happy the team had a younger netminder, with the potential to be a number one, on board. MacTavish said that was a position they did not have the quality depth in that they were looking for.

With the moves the Oilers made in the last two days, re-signing Ben Scrivens and trading for Viktor Fasth, MacTavish feels very pleased with the depth in goal moving forward.

“He’s got a real good record in this league,” MacTavish said of Fasth, who was acquired in a trade with Anaheim. “This year was a little bit of a setback from some injury standpoints but it just gives us certainty going into our next year with our goaltending. I think anyone who tells you they’re sure about the performance of their goaltenders based on a relatively small sample size, is not likely accurate. But we have two really good options next year and it will be a competitive position, as it always is. When I was driving into the office today, I thought that if we could stabilize our goaltending for next year and check that box off, that was my objective going in.”

With Fasth’s first start presumably happening soon, the Oilers will have had six goalies play a game for the team this season. MacTavish acknowledged that there is a much higher comfort level with the state of the Oilers net now, than there was at the beginning of the season.

“We really defaulted to Devan (Dubnyk) at the start of the year,” the general manager said. “He was deserving of that opportunity for a number of reasons. I don’t know that I wasn’t sure that he was going to be able to handle it. It’s a big difference being a number ‘1A’ and going to a number one. Whether you can handle that workload or not is a big challenge. I didn’t have any certainty that he was going to be able to do it but there was a real rational explanation of why we did it.

“From that point forward, I’m more happy with the goaltending depth that we have in the organization right now. Laurent Brossoit is performing fine in his first year so he’s given us a piece, a legitimate 20 year-old, that has an opportunity to grow into a number one goalie. We’ve got good depth, in my mind, at the position here in Edmonton for next year. (Richard) Bachman has played very well too, as well, this year. I’m happy with where the goaltending is going into next year.”

Checking off the ‘to do’ list item of acquiring quality goalie depth is something that MacTavish and the Oilers were looking to accomplish and they believe they’ve done so with their recent moves.

“I think it’s important. It allows us to really focus our attention and our energies in other areas now, of which there are significant deficiencies quite obviously. We’ll focus… on other areas and other facets of our game, outside of goaltending. For me, it’s a comfort that really, I didn’t have going into this year. I felt we had a legitimate chance to have success at the position but I wasn’t as comfortable as I am now. But I think that’s an important box to check off.”

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