There was a post at the beginning of the week by mc79hockey over at the Battle of Alberta Blog that caught my attention.
Mc79 has put forth the question of Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mathieu Garon's trade value in anticipation of the upcoming frenzy known as the NHL trading deadline.
While I agree with mc79 that Garon may be worth something, why would the Oilers even consider trading him?
Let's face it, Dwayne Roloson has run the gamut as far as being a starter in the NHL. The Oilers should try to trade him for a bag of pucks, or buy out his contract this summer. That would leave Garon with Deslauiers or Dubnyk as the back-up for the next couple of years.
What good would it be for the Oilers to trade Garon for anything right now, when they would then have to rely on Roloson with rookie back-ups? They might as well kiss any playoff hopes away for the next couple of years, if that's the case.
Don't get me wrong—there is nothing wrong with Deslauriers or Dubnyk. But making them play for more than they're ready is like making Smid, Gilbert, Roy, and the rest of the rookie defensemen play 25 minutes per game—like the Oilers had to last year.
Remember how great that was?
While the rookies gained some experience, the team was hopeless. Does new owner Daryl Katz want to miss the playoffs again after this year?
Mc79hockey tries to use all sorts of stats to prove that Garon is overachieving this year. I think Garon is finally becoming the goalie he was touted to be when he first came to the NHL.
Goaltenders develop at different speeds, and progress for some takes longer than for others. Niklas Backstrom, who started to enjoy life in the NHL at age 29, can attest to that.
Look at other highly-regarded goaltenders that are having problems—Marc-Andre Fleury and Andrew Raycroft come to mind.
Even young stars, such as Rick DiPietro and Cam Ward, still have periods when they look average—and neither has as good of a GAA or save percentage as Garon.
Garon is an integral part of this team, at least for the next couple of years, and his presence will allow the young goalies to develop.