Why the Edmonton Oilers’ Trades Mean Nothing

The Edmonton Oilers recently dealt their #1 goalie Devan Dubnyk to the Nashville Predators for depth forward Matt Hendricks straight up, and wasted no time acquiring a replacement in Ben Scrivens for a 3rd round pick in this year’s upcoming draft. I’m shocked, for two reasons. 1) Why did the Oilers trade their top goalie for a depth forward, not a defenceman and 2) Why Dubnyk? Why not

Does MacTavish really think goaltending is the problem?

Bryzgalov? The last of the Oilers’ woes is between the pipes, and the market for goaltending has come and gone with the Cory Schneider trade back at the 2013 NHL Draft, the stock on goaltending right now is very low, given the surge of new goalies that are entering the league with authority (Jones, Hutton, Talbot etc). And why trade Dubnyk over Bryzgalov? Dubnyk has been with the Oilers for a while and Bryzgalov just came into the mix and has shown that he’s no better than the Oilers’ former #1 goalie. Apart from Dubnyk’s contract being $1.5M higher than Bryzgalov, Dubnyk has proved he’s the better goalie of the two, and if you’re trading a goalie for a depth forward who has two goals this season, why not trade the weaker link? The Oilers are not recognizing where their problems are coming from, the defence.

Devan Dubnyk was the first move to be made, and while most Oiler fans said ‘good riddance’ to the deal, they don’t get anything back for a borderline #1 NHL goalie. Dubnyk wasn’t given a chance
Devan Dubnyk is done as an Oiler.

with the Oilers; sure he let in a few soft goals every now and then, but so does Luongo and Lundqvist, and they’re considered two of the top goalies in the world. Dubnyk has represented Team Canada at the international level before and proved that with a solid defence behind him, Dubnyk is as good as any NHL goalie. However, GM Craig MacTavish dealt the 6’4 goalie for almost nothing. Why not wait until the stock of goalies rises and the Oilers get a good piece coming the other way? Dealing Dubnyk at this point isn’t going to change anything dramatically with bringing in a 4th line player in Matt Hendricks, who has just four points this season in 44 games and brings very little to the table on the ice. Sure, Hendricks is a great teammate and brings character to the dressing room, but that doesn’t bring success in the standings, which is what the Oilers are trying to do with this trade.

Now, you bring in Ben Scrivens, who has had half of a good NHL season, and he’s expected to be the Oilers new starting goalie, as he’ll make his season debut tonight against the Wild. Two seasons
Scrivens has had a good year in LA, but hasn’t proved he’s a #1 goalie yet.

ago, Ben Scrivens was a borderline AHL goalie, and failed to succeed on an average Toronto Maple Leaf team. What makes Oilers fans think that Scrivens will be the Oilers’ saviour? Scrivens only succeeded on a stacked L.A. Kings team that is arguably one of the deepest teams in the league that is defensively rock solid. In terms of personnel on defence, the Oilers are the worst defensive team in the league. Scrivens will have to stand on his head in order to post the same numbers he did with the Kings, but I expect a tenure like the one he had in Toronto. How long will it take before the Oilers’ faithful turns on their newest addition? More importantly, how long until the Oilers recognize what their true problem is, defence.

So, why? Why does MacTavish do this? The Oilers aren’t going to magically turn into a playoff team by downgrading on their goaltending and adding a fourth line player. With such high expectations for the new Oilers goaltender, Scrivens will be expected to post the same numbers that he did with L.A., rather than Toronto, where he failed to prove he could be an NHL starter and inevitably lost his job to James Reimer. If you ask me, Ilya Bryzgalov should be the #1 goalie now that Dubnyk is gone, not Scrivens. Bryzgalov has experience being a #1 NHL goalie, and despite a horrific tenure in Philly, he’s been good and consistent. Bryzgalov’s numbers are once again low this season, but you can’t pin the blame on the Russian for his numbers. If the Oilers want to become a contending team once again, they need to go out and acquire some steady and solid NHL defencemen to replace their shabby defence that they’re icing right now. In general terms, the Oilers’ moves did nothing to move them forward.