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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    Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

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    In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

    For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

    Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

    Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

    They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

    Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

    Hands of gold: Connor McDavid scores his first NHL goal


    Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

    The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

    To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

    Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

    Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

    McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: