2010 NHL free agency: Oilers avoid arbitration, re-sign goalie Jeff Deslauriers

jeffdeslauriers.jpgThe Oilers have done the NHL arbitration-watching part of the world a huge favor and came to terms with goaltender Jeff Deslauriers on a one-year one-way deal. Deslauriers was set to be the last arbitration case to be heard, but now that won’t go down, leaving the Blackhawks decision on what they’ll do with goaltender Antti Niemi as the last piece of arbitration-related business left to be handled. Terms of Deslauriers contract were not immediately known, but we’ll update this post later once they’re released.

(Update: TSN’s Ryan Rishaug says Deslaurier’s contract is for $1.1 million)

Deslauriers was pressed into heavy action last year in Edmonton with Nikolai Khabibulin out with an injury and did… About as well as you could expect a lifetime backup goalie to do when playing for the worst team in the NHL last year. He went 16-28-4 last year with a .901 save percentage and a 3.26 goals against average while splitting the post-Khabibulin workload with Devan Dubnyk. Those three goalies are all under contract with Edmonton again next year and all under one-way deals.

Should Khabibulin avoid jail time in his DUI trial at the end of August, and should he be healthy enough to play, the Oilers are facing a rather crowded crease next year. While Dubnyk and Deslauriers aren’t stars by any means, the aging Khabibulin could stand to use as much backup help as can be mustered and giving up a goalie won’t be enjoyable for the organization. Then again, potentially being stuck paying for a goalie while he serves a short jail term doesn’t sound appealing either. I guess having perspective like that helps out.

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    Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

    Niklas Kronwall
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    When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

    (His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

    It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

    He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

    First, the Kronwalling:

    Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

    It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

    Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

    Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

    Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

    Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

    It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

    To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

    The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

    That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

    They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

    Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


    More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

    In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

    Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

    Jack Eichel
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    The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

    You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

    That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

    Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

    Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


    Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

    While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

    The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?