Tag: Viktor Fasth

Viktor Fasth

Report: Oilers goalie Fasth signs in KHL


Former Ducks and Oilers goalie Viktor Fasth is on his way to Russia.

On Thursday, Fasth reportedly agreed to join KHL powerhouse CSKA Moscow, the club announced. The deal comes after the 32-year-old failed to latch on with a new NHL club in free agency.

Fasth had a rough year in Edmonton last season, going 6-15-3 with a 3.41 GAA and .888 save percentage. The Swedish ‘tender, acquired from the Ducks for a pair of picks at the 2014 trade deadline, was really never able to replicate the success he had during his first season (’13) in Anaheim, when he burst onto the scene by going 15-6-2 with a .921 save percentage and 2.18 GAA, recording four shutouts.

Fasth’s first year in the NHL also began with eight straight victories, which netted him a two-year, $5.8 million extension from the Ducks.

Even after flurry of trades, goalie market is far from settled

Antti Niemi

There were seven different trades over the course of Friday and Saturday that involved a goaltender, but even after that there are teams that still need to address their situation between the pipes. With the free agent period just around the corner and the trade market now in full swing, the pieces are likely to continue to fall into place rapidly. While we have a breather though, let’s take a look at where we stand.

Has Dallas addressed its goaltending needs?

Kari Lehtonen failed to live up to expectations last season so the Dallas Stars would naturally like to hedge their bets going forward. They’ve already taken a step towards that end by acquiring the rights to Antti Niemi from San Jose, but it remains to be seen if they can sign the netminder before he become an unrestricted free agent.

If they do sign Niemi, that might not settle their goaltending situation. He has spent the better part of his career serving as a starter and while his last two seasons haven’t been amazing, it’s likely that he’ll expect a significantly bigger salary than your typical backup. Which isn’t an issue by itself, but Dallas is still tied to Lehtonen for another three seasons at $5.9 million in cap space annually. That means Dallas will be dedicating a lot of its cap to goaltending and that’s something that may complicate matters for the squad unless it’s addressed.

What’s next for San Jose?

Meanwhile, San Jose still needs someone to work with Alex Stalock. The 27-year-old netminder had a 2.62 GAA and .902 save percentage in 22 games last season, so ideally the Sharks will want someone that can at least seriously challenge him for the starting job.

There are some noteworthy pending UFAs out there including Viktor Fasth, Karri Ramo, and Michal Neuvirth, but it’s also possible San Jose will make another trade.

“We’ve been exploring things for quite awhile, a lot of it in the trade market obviously,” Sharks GM Doug Wilson told CSN Bay Area. “As we’ve looked at it, we think there’s probably more goalies than there are teams. There’s more people that are available or could be available in discussions than you guys probably hear about.”

Who will be Steve Mason’s backup in Philadelphia?

With Ray Emery’s contract set to expire, the Flyers are in the market for a backup goaltender. They didn’t want to take part in the flurry of goaltending trades though.

“I didn’t want to give up an asset for a backup, quite honestly,” Flyers GM Ron Hextall told CSN Philly. “Did I talk to anybody? People called and I found out the prices.”

With that in mind, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Philadelphia find its number two netminder on the free agent market.

Anaheim has created something of a logjam

When the Anaheim Ducks acquired Anton Khudobin from Carolina, it led some to naturally wonder if 21-year-old goaltender John Gibson was on the block. Ducks GM Bob Murray’s response was not family friendly, but the short version of his answer is: No.

So we can only assume that this issue won’t be addressed this summer, which makes it unique among the goaltending situations discussed here. Even still, it is awkward as this likely means that Gibson will be expected to spend the 2015-16 campaign in the minors after posting a decent 2.60 GAA and .914 save percentage in 23 games with Anaheim last season. This might just be a short-term setback for him though as Khudobin only has a year left on his contract before he can test the unrestricted free agent market.

Oilers sign Finnish league standout Laurikainen


The Edmonton Oilers added some goaltending depth on Tuesday, announcing the signing of Finnish goalie Eetu Laurikainen to a two-year entry-level deal.

Laurikainen, 22, spent last season with the SM-liiga’s Espoo Blues, going 17-10-9 with a 2.10 GAA and .933 save percentage. Previously, he spent two years with Swift Current in the Western Hockey League.

This marks one of new GM Peter Chiarelli’s first moves since coming aboard in late April, and it addresses one of Edmonton’s major areas of need. The Ben Scrivens-Viktor Fasth combo didn’t work last season and it’s expected the Oilers will be aggressive in trying to upgrade their goaltending situation this offseason — not at just the NHL level, but throughout the organization.

Related: If Anderson is available, should the Oilers be interested?

MacTavish: Oilers could ‘ignite’ with ‘a few key personnel changes’

Craig MacTavish

“Out of respect for the players,” Craig MacTavish wouldn’t commit to drafting Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel with this summer’s first overall pick.

But the Oilers’ GM kind of showed his hand today on Edmonton’s AM 630 radio when he said, “We arguably have the three best players in the CHL right now.”

One of those three would be center Leon Draisaitl, the third overall pick in last year’s draft.

Another would be defenseman Darnell Nurse, the seventh overall pick in 2013.

And the third would be “the player we pick” in June — which would have to mean McDavid, since Jack Eichel doesn’t play in the CHL. He’s a college guy.


Whatever, nobody thought the Oilers would pick Eichel anyway.

In reality, what will be far more interesting than who the Oilers pick first overall (it’ll be McDavid, you can count on it) is what they’ll do with the first-round pick they acquired from Pittsburgh in the David Perron trade, not to mention all the picks they have beyond the first round.

Because MacTavish isn’t counting on McDavid to turn the Oilers around alone. He knows there are still “critical positions” (plural) that need to be “improved upon”, and the GM says he’s “more inclined to use draft picks” to do it.

“We’ve got to make a few key personnel changes and improvements, and I think that could ignite it quickly,” said MacTavish.

Case in point, the goaltending needs to be fixed. The Oilers thought they’d done that a year ago with Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth; alas, they had not.

Edmonton’s blue line also needs upgrading. (Which could, in turn, make the goaltenders look better.)

And let’s not forget the potential changes to the front office, though those won’t be MacTavish’s responsibility to make.

At any rate, MacTavish promised a “very busy summer” in Edmonton. It doesn’t sound like winning the lottery will change that.

Related: So…what do the Oilers do now?

What are the Oilers going to do about their goaltending?

Ben Scrivens

Given the unpredictable nature of goaltending — a notion we’ve been hammering home all season — it seems a bit unfair to bring up something Craig MacTavish said a year ago and hold it against the Oilers’ general manager.

But here’s the quote anyway, made after the Oilers had 1) signed Ben Scrivens to a two-year contract extension and 2) acquired Viktor Fasth from Anaheim:

“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.”

Yada, yada, yada, based on their team save percentage of .888, the Oilers have had the NHL’s worst goaltending this season.

That’s right — instead of improving, it’s actually gotten quite a bit worse. Out of 44 goalies that have played regularly this season, Scrivens (.893) and Fasth (.888) rank 42nd and 44th in save percentage, respectively.

Now, two things:

1. The Oilers have defensive deficiencies, no doubt about it. How much that impacts a goalie’s save percentage is up for debate, but there’s sure good reason to believe it doesn’t help.

2. MacTavish wasn’t the only one who thought he’d stabilized the position. And he did acknowledge the unpredictability of goaltending with his “relatively small sample size” disclaimer.

Neither of those things changes the fact the position remains a problem, and how the Oilers try to solve the problem will be interesting to watch. Scrivens has one year left on his contract, after which he can become an unrestricted free agent. Fasth can become unrestricted this summer. There’s no obvious option in the AHL; 22-year-old Laurent Brossoit is developing nicely, but he’s still just a prospect.

So, assuming Fasth isn’t back, the Oilers will need to go out and get a goalie.

One name that’s been bandied about is Kings backup Martin Jones. Of course, the risk there is his limited body of work in the NHL, just like it was with Scrivens and Fasth.

Instead of going the “promising backup playing behind an entrenched starter” route (Cam Talbot and Antti Raanta fall in that category as well), it may behoove the Oilers to acquire a more experienced netminder, similar to what the Canucks were thinking when they brought Ryan Miller aboard last summer.

So, would Antti Niemi be worth talking to when he becomes a UFA this summer? He’s not the most exciting option, but there’s something to be said for consistency:


Or, if not a free agent, might the Oilers be able to pry Eddie Lack out of Vancouver? It’s unlikely the Canucks will be able to keep Miller, Lack and Jacob Markstrom past this season.

Unfortunately for MacTavish, there just isn’t a glaringly obvious candidate for him to pursue. Not one that we can think of anyway.

In a cruel twist for Oilers fans, the most sought-after UFA goalie this summer will probably be — yep, you guessed it — Devan Dubnyk.

Related: ‘Amazing how quickly we regained our confidence’ with Dubnyk, says Wild GM