Photo by Rob Ferguson
Jason LaBarbera is now the property of the Chicago Blackhawks organization, and more specifically the Rockford IceHogs. That’s good news for Jason, who was kind of lost in the shuffling of goaltender deck chairs within the Edmonton Oilers organization. At the top you have Devan Dubnyk and Ilya Bryzgalov. These guys are given the task of ramrodding the atrocious play of the Oilers defense, and neither have had much success in the games leading up to the week before Christmas. Near the bottom, you have Chet Pickard, who was signed to an AHL contract by OKC, but stuffed in the ECHL Bakersfield because there were far too many players ahead of him in the goaltending depth chart. Likewise, former OKC Baron, Tyler Bunz is riding side saddle in the ECHL as well. Somewhere in the middle are Richard Bachman and Laurent Brossoit.
Yesterday, the Barons shipped Brossoit to Bakersfield and received Chet Pickard into the fold of the AHL. This is an interesting switcheroo.
Pickard’s numbers haven’t been off-the-charts-fabulous in Bakersfield. Ten starts, 26 goals allowed, 2.91 GAA, .881 SV%, and three outright wins in that span. That’s not a great tally out of the gate for the top twenty draft pick by the Nashville Predators. As a matter of fact, his ECHL/AHL numbers have never been all that great. He’s only barely had one season where his wins out numbered his losses, and he’s never had a save percentage over .899. He’s average at two lower leagues, and has been for many seasons. Which is why I’ve always questioned the fact that the Barons offered him an AHL contract. Makes no sense based on previous seasons.
The move of Brossoit to the ECHL does make sense. At 20 years old, the goaltender from Surrey, BC is a bit lost at the AHL level. His movement, awareness, and attention to detail are there, but the speed is killing him. It also doesn’t help that he has an awfully inconsistent defensive core playing in front of him.
This feels like an Oilers move, although it has roots in a Barons contracted goaltender. The Oilers clearly like Brossoit, so do I, but feel like he’s swimming in the deep end with no flotation device. The skills are present, they just have to gradually be upgraded to AHL pro ranks. I think he’ll get there, and I’m pretty optimistic about him myself. Jeff Deslauriers, Olivier Roy, Tyler Bunz – none gave me the good feelys, but Brossoit does. That’s great news.
For now, it seems that Oklahoma City will retain two goaltenders – Bachman and now Pickard. Will the Oilers chomp on the rumor that Dubnyk might be on the way out? ‘Tis speculation only at this point. However, if it were to happen, that means the Oilers would probably look at cinching up another goaltender (Justin Peters has been mentioned, woof). The wild and wacky continues.