With newly acquired goaltender Viktor Fasth not scheduled to arrive until later today, the Oilers will suit up a special visitor as their second goalie for practice at Rexall Place today.
Canada's Olympic women's gold medal goalie Shannon Szabados will practice with the team this morning.
Szabados is an Edmonton native and was the first female to play in several leagues, including the WHL and the AJHL.
Szabados has two Olympic gold medals after winning in Vancouver in 2010 and in Sochi, Russia in February.
24-year-old Sherwood Park native Kurtis Mucha was having just a regular day when he got a call that would change his plans for tonight.
Little did Mucha know that the Edmonton Oilers would soon trade goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to the Minnesota Wild for a 4th round pick, giving the team a need for an emergency backup for their game against the Ottawa Senators.
Mucha, the goaltender for the University of Alberta Golden Bears, would be that guy.
“It was just a normal day for me,” Mucha said. “I actually had a dentist appointment at 8:30 and went to class at 11. That’s when I got the call from Ian Herbers, my coach there, and he said the Oilers had stuff in the works and if a trade happened, I was probably going to get to back up. Lo and behold, I ended up getting on the bench there so it was pretty cool.”
Mucha is no stranger to ‘getting the call’. The Boston Bruins needed an extra goalie for practice during their trip to Edmonton earlier this season and called upon the young netminder for help. However, putting on the orange and blue and sitting on the bench during an NHL game was something special.
“Really special,” Mucha said. “I just kind of, soaked it all in. These guys got a game to win so you just kind of stay out of their way and not to get to be too much of a distraction and let them do their job. But I tried to interact with them as well and kind of help on the bench and keep them alert and stuff like that.”
Having taken shots from the Bruins before, the warmup skate didn’t quite phase him, however it was the end of the game where things set in for Mucha.
“Just at the end of the game, when everybody in the crowd is cheering in a full barn of 17,000 people, or whatever it is, it’s pretty surreal to kind of look around and just take it all in. It was pretty cool.”
Head Coach Dallas Eakins says the team welcomed Mucha with open arms and helped make it a special day for him.
“I welcomed him,” Eakins said. “I said, don’t be shy in the dressing room and use all parts of it. When you get somebody in the room like that, they just go sit in their stall. They don’t move very far. They’re usually very intimidated but we’ve got good guys in our room and they welcomed him with open arms. I didn’t go out for warmup but I’m sure he had the butterflies going in that net for sure.”
When the Edmonton Oilers pulled the trigger on a trade with the Calgary Flames on November 8, to bring 20-year-old goalie prospect Laurent Brossoit into the organization, General Manager Craig MacTavish was happy the team had a younger netminder, with the potential to be a number one, on board. MacTavish said that was a position they did not have the quality depth in that they were looking for.
With the moves the Oilers made in the last two days, re-signing Ben Scrivens and trading for Viktor Fasth, MacTavish feels very pleased with the depth in goal moving forward.
“He’s got a real good record in this league,” MacTavish said of Fasth, who was acquired in a trade with Anaheim. “This year was a little bit of a setback from some injury standpoints but it just gives us certainty going into our next year with our goaltending. 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.”
With Fasth’s first start presumably happening soon, the Oilers will have had six goalies play a game for the team this season. MacTavish acknowledged that there is a much higher comfort level with the state of the Oilers net now, than there was at the beginning of the season.
“We really defaulted to Devan (Dubnyk) at the start of the year,” the general manager said. “He was deserving of that opportunity for a number of reasons. I don’t know that I wasn’t sure that he was going to be able to handle it. It’s a big difference being a number ‘1A’ and going to a number one. Whether you can handle that workload or not is a big challenge. I didn’t have any certainty that he was going to be able to do it but there was a real rational explanation of why we did it.
“From that point forward, I’m more happy with the goaltending depth that we have in the organization right now. Laurent Brossoit is performing fine in his first year so he’s given us a piece, a legitimate 20 year-old, that has an opportunity to grow into a number one goalie. We’ve got good depth, in my mind, at the position here in Edmonton for next year. (Richard) Bachman has played very well too, as well, this year. I’m happy with where the goaltending is going into next year.”
Checking off the ‘to do’ list item of acquiring quality goalie depth is something that MacTavish and the Oilers were looking to accomplish and they believe they’ve done so with their recent moves.
“I think it’s important. It allows us to really focus our attention and our energies in other areas now, of which there are significant deficiencies quite obviously. We’ll focus… on other areas and other facets of our game, outside of goaltending. For me, it’s a comfort that really, I didn’t have going into this year. I felt we had a legitimate chance to have success at the position but I wasn’t as comfortable as I am now. But I think that’s an important box to check off.”
Edmonton Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish took to the podium at Rexall Place, shortly before the team’s home game against the Ottawa Senators tonight. One of the topics of his meeting with the media was the state of the market as the NHL trade deadline is tomorrow.
MacTavish says that, right now, the market is ‘undervalued’ for the type of UFA that the Oilers have on roster. This prompted the Oilers to wait until tomorrow to make any more moves regarding trades, despite pulling two moves involving goaltenders this morning.
“The market price feels undervalued for rentals, at this point,” MacTavish said. “I don’t know where that’s going to go tomorrow but I’m a guy that is very much of the belief of a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. If we had the opportunity to do something that I thought was fair and legitimate, then we would have done it today. But we’re going to be pushed to the deadline tomorrow and when that happens, there’s a certain amount of risk at stake and right now we’re prepared to take the risk rather than settle for what’s been offered so far. I think this is, from talking to quite a few of my colleagues, that this is fairly standard practice right now.”
As for making a bigger trade, possibly with players under contract instead of free agents to be, MacTavish said there has been conversations but there may be more value in making those trades at a later day and not tomorrow.
“Well, we’ve been proposing some of those ideas in some of the phone calls I’ve had but I really think, my instinct tells me, that those deals will be better served down the road than they will be tomorrow with some of our players… Not that we’d turn our back on a hockey deal, there are some very significant adds that we’d like to make to this team. We have some pieces that we’d been willing to give up to acquire those additions but my instincts say that’s unlikely for tomorrow.”
Now that the Oilers have solidified their goalie tandem for next season, MacTavish says the team will set out looking to acquire assets for their UFAs, prior to tomorrow’s deadline.
“I think we want to continue to focus on bringing in as many assets as we can from our UFA players. I’ve been very upfront about that in my conversations with (the media) in the past. We all know the position we’re in. Unfortunately, we’re here again in this position but we’re going to try to make the best of this current position that we’re in.”
The Oilers have announced that goaltender Kurtis Mucha will be backing up tonight. He has been signed by the team to a one-day tryout contract.
Fasth Acquired | Bryz Video | Bryz Audio | Bryzgalov Press Release | Deadline Central
The Edmonton Oilers acquired Anaheim Ducks goaltender Viktor Fasth in a trade today. The 31-year-old netminder says it was a strange feeling being told the news before stepping on the ice with his former team this morning.
“It’s part of this job but it’s a weird feeling,” Fasth said. “I’m looking forward to and I’m excited to join the Oilers. I’m looking forward to play hockey.”
After he found out the news, Fasth went straight to Ducks Goalie Coach Dwayne Roloson for some information on his soon-to-be new home. Roloson played for the Oilers from 2006-2009.
“(Nothing) other than playing there a couple of times,” Fasth said of what he knew of Edmonton. “I talked to (Roloson) quickly before practice today and he said it’s a great organization and there’s great guys working around the team. It sounds great so I’m looking forward to joining the team and I’m real excited.”
Fasth Acquired | Bryz Video | Bryz Audio | Bryzgalov Press Release | Deadline Central
The Edmonton Oilers parted ways with goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov today, one day before the NHL trade deadline. The Oilers signed Bryzgalov to a one-year contract in November and turned that investment into a fourth-round pick, acquired from the Minnesota Wild in the trade.
Bryzgalov talked to the Edmonton media following the news of his being traded to the Wild.
“It was a great opportunity for me to play here,” Bryzgalov said. “I was very excited to be a part of the organization. I met lots of great new people here and I can’t say enough good words about the fans and people who live in this city. I really enjoyed my time here.”
Bryzgalov finished the season playing 20 games and recording a 3.01 goals against average and .908 save percentage.
“It was, in the beginning, very good and then a couple of games it was off. That’s probably because of missing training camp and other stuff. I think my last couple of games was… very, very good and very sharp and it was very good.”
The netminder now heads to ‘the hockey state’ to compete on a Minnesota club that’s currently 7th in the Western Conference.
“It’s a new challenge, a great opportunity and a team battling for the playoffs. I’m glad I have the opportunity to be on a playoff team and battling for a playoff spot and I hope we’re going to make it in the playoffs and make lots of damage out there while competing for the Stanley Cup. It’s a great opportunity.”
Bryzgalov continued, “I will go and do everything in my power to… give the team the best chance to win.”
Edmonton Oilers have acquired goaltender Viktor Fasth for a 5th round draft choice in 2014 and a 3rd round draft choice in 2015. Fasth, a 31-year-old Swedish netminder, has played five games this season for the Ducks and has posted a goals against average of 2.95 and a save percentage of .885.
During the 2012-2013 season, Fasth played 25 games for Anaheim and had a 2.18 goals against average and .921 save percentage. He has also spent time with Norfolk in the American Hockey League.
The Edmonton Oilers have traded goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to the Minnesota Wild in exchange for a 2014 fourth round pick.
Bryzgalov was signed by the Oilers on November 8, to a one-year contract. He has played in 20 games this season, with a 3.01 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.
>> For more on what is expected to be a busy NHL Trade Deadline, visit our special section, presented by Sportsnet
The Edmonton Oilers have placed defenceman Corey Potter on waivers, this morning.
#Oilers place defenceman Corey Potter on waivers.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) March 4, 2014
Potter has played in 16 games for the Oilers this season, with five assists and 21 penalty minutes. Potter is the second Oilers defenceman to be placed on waivers in the last two days. Philip Larsen was given that designation yesterday.
Larsen cleared this morning and was assigned to Oklahoma City.
Defenceman Philip Larsen clears waivers, assigned to @OKCBarons.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) March 4, 2014