Photo courtesy of Steven Christy Photography. All rights reserved.
It seems that the goaltending situation for the Oilers is nearing a sunny disposition. After bad contracts and failed expectations, the Edmonton net minders of the future are both signed, sealed, and soon to be delivered.
It began with Olivier Roy who inked a three year entry level deal nearly a year ago. He found himself in Stockton of the ECHL where he’s now posted a top ten showing for goaltenders in that league. His recent call-to Oklahoma City was solid, and his play seems to be steadily on par with where the organization would like it to be.
This week it was announced that Tyler Bunz too would nab an entry level, three year contract, that would likely begin next season in place of Roy in Stockton. Both have a rosy future within the copper & blue walls, but they’ll take some time to slowly procure a roster spot in the NHL; fingers crossed.
Fans across Oilersland have kept a close watch on these two. Both sport great junior careers, both are highly competitive, and both are a double-dose of prospect goodness. The real question, although there is an age difference, becomes quite interesting. When these two compete, who wins out?
The truth of this particular situation is that both players will need to be good to prove their worth. It’s not some dogfight for the ages, but in some ways they’ll always be competing against each other. If both pan out to be respectable goalies there might be a tough choice to make. Bunz or Roy?
That will be made in due time. However, the next two seasons in the minor league Oilers organizations will be very fun to watch. Primarily because of these two players.
Assuming that Bunz takes the Stockton route and replaces Roy in the lineup when the 12-13 season begins, that means Olivier is a Baron. No doubt that his progression in the ECHL dictates this move. The likely scenario continued, Roy will probably get heavy protection from a veteran goaltender in the same vein as Martin Gerber and Yann Danis. I’ve tossed back and forth on the “whom” that starter might be next season in OKC. I’d love for the Oilers to make a play to keep Danis another season. He’s good for the Barons, and a good backup plan for the Oilers. Danis/Roy seems like a winning combination at least for another year.
But as time passes the likelihood of a Bunz/Roy duo on the farm has me gobsmacked. How exciting would it be to see two young, developing, highly viewed goaltenders in one place on a given night? Tremendous both for the excitement of the game, and for potential ticket sales.
The signing of David LeNeveu and Yann Danis in the offseason was both a move to better OKC outright as well as protecting youngsters for another year. Having these two in the lineup has proven valuable on the scorecard and in the minds of Oilers management that desperately wanted to protect Olivier Roy. And they have done just that. And done so beautifully.
As we anticipate a solid postseason in OKC, the prospect goaltending wave is about to come crashing on our Red River shores. Hang on. It will be an exciting ride