It’s been a bizarre weekend full of bizarre signings for professional hockey players in North America. Just outside the confines of the NHL lies the AHL, where the signings have been equally bizarre. A trade involving Philip Larsen brought a Star to Oil country, then the announcement of two Marlies being brought into the fold again continued the weirdness. Then came the signing of yet another Star, goaltender Richard Bachman.
Bachman, a fourth round draft pick of the Dallas Stars in 2006, is somewhat of a too-little-too-late kind of player. Prior to turning pro he spent a season in the USHL, two more at Colorado College, and then immediately to the Idaho Steelhounds for some “seasoning”. He played his first full season as a Texas Star in 2010-11 where he’d see his number of NHL games increase from that point forward. Most recently he backed up Dallas goaltender, Kari Lehtonen, but did very little to improve his team in that role.
The Stars chose not to sign him after back-to-back seasons of one year contracts (that eventually cost the Stars more cash in 2012-13). Nonetheless, with Jack Campbell becoming the Stars prospect goaltender, the Stars had seen enough. Signing Dan Ellis as the backup in the upcoming season meant Bachman was turned loose (with Nilstorp as another option).
Finally, Dallas made the decision not to qualify Richard Bachman, who had a very bad 2012-13 season in Dallas, posting a sub-.900 save percentage and really not giving Kari Lehtonen enough of a break to keep the backup role
Things get interesting when the Oilers chose not to give Yann Danis another season, and instead went with a really solid option in Bachman as their number three goaltender, the probable Barons starter, and the protector of young Olivier Roy’s minutes.
I really really liked Bachman for a long time, that is until he started playing NHL minutes. He’s small. Some goaltenders can overcome this, and for much of his collegiate and early pro years, he’s compensated with speed and positioning. He has a tendency to be streaky, and that’s not what Dallas needed in a backup. But is it what the Oilers need in a backup’s backup?
Here’s the problem with my scouting report on Bachman. He was really good against the Barons in the dozen or so starts he had against the team. He was quick. He was smart. He was sturdy. But that hasn’t always been the case. As a matter of fact, he lets in a bunch of goals. Yet still, he’s never posted an under-500 win percentage, and that’s enough for Craig MacTavish (I suppose).
It’s been quite some time since Bachman has been asked to do the heavy lifting in terms of games played. It’s been two seasons now since he played over 30 games, and he still remains a work in progress of sorts. A change in locale might be exactly what RicheyB needs. Fingers crossed.
Todd Nelson has the ability to pick and choose goaltenders at the right moment, but keep in mind he’s had Martin Gerber and Yann Danis as his graphite 3 Woods. Bachman will aim to complete the trifecta of really good goaltenders on the Oilers farm. I’m hopeful.
This is a signing that I like, but was surprised by. I took the literal approach to Craig MacTavish’s comments about farm play being prospect first. I wholeheartedly believed that Frans Tuohimaa, Olivier Roy, and Tyler Bunz would run the show (with the third playing in Stockton). An era that sounds both interesting and terrifying at the same time. But MacT is willing to protect the investments, and he’ll place Richard Bachman in a role that suits him nicely.
With two Marlies and now two Stars likely to play on the farm in Oklahoma City, might there be more bizarre/wonderful/confusing signingss on the horizon. Perhaps.
The Oilers have agreed to terms with goaltender Richard Bachman on a one-year contract.
Bachman, 25, played 13 games for the Dallas Stars last season and had a 6-5-0 record with a 3.25 goals-against average and .885 save percentage. He also played six games for the Texas Stars of the AHL and was 5-1-0 with a 2.31 GAA and .920 spct.
In 32 career NHL games, Bachman has a 14-10-1 record with a 2.94 goals-against average and .901 save percentage.
The 5’10” 175 lb native of Salt Lake City, Utah was Dallas’ fourth choice, 120th overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.