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Oilers Strengthen Crease; Acquire Fasth

With the NHL trade deadline on the horizon, the Edmonton Oilers have not been afraid to make some noise.


Earlier today, Ilya Bryzgalov was traded to the Minnesota Wild for a fourth round pick. Bryzgalov (5-8-5) played 20 games for the Oilers this season after signing with the club as a free agent in November.


However, this trade came as no surprise after the Oilers had already completed a deal with the Anaheim Ducks for goaltender Viktor Fasth. Fasth had a strong NHL debut with Anaheim last season posting a 15-6-2 record, and the Oilers hope the 31-year-old Swede can post up similar numbers once again.


In addition, Oilers backup goalie Ben Scrivens signed to a two-year contract extension worth $4.6 million Monday afternoon. Scrivens was acquired earlier this season from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a third round pick, and has been solid between the pipes.


In seven games with the Oilers, the 27-year-old has a .940 save percentage, a 2.15 goals-against average, and one shutout. During his brief stint in L.A to replace the injured Jonathan Quick, Scrivens posted a respectable 7-5-4 record, along with three shutout performances. Now after having gained NHL experience with the Kings and the Toronto Maple Leafs (2011-2013), Scrivens will be looking to prove himself as an NHL starter.


“It’s a great opportunity,” said Scrivens. “Now the real work begins… It’s great to be here in Edmonton playing at home.”


Meanwhile, the 2-2-1 Fasth this season has taken a back seat in Anaheim under the dominant play of Jonas Hiller (26-9-4), spending time down in the minor league system with the Norfolk Admirals.


But Edmonton is giving both players the opportunity to prove their worth.


“It’s always kind of a shock when things like this happen, but when you’re a hockey player and a goalie you just want to play. I’m really looking forward to the opportunity,” said Fasth.


When Fasth starts this season, he will be the sixth goaltender to see action in the Oilers’ blue paint.


Goaltending has been a longtime problem in the oil capitol, and by starting the season with the services of Devan Dubnyk and minor league starter Jason LaBarbera things seemed especially bleak. However Dubnyk is now in Nashville, LaBarbera has been dealt to the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Oilers crease is looking much stronger.


But the trade deadline is at 6 p.m. giving the Oilers time to make another splash. By dropping Bryzgalov and his 9 year $51 million contract, the Oilers have the cap space necessary to make more moves. It has been rumoured that forwards Sam Gagne and Naill Yakupov may be moved for picks and/or defensive prospects by the deadline.


Edmonton may have its fair share of problems, but the Oilers management have made decisions to start them in the right direction.


Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish said that the they now have “certainty” in the goaltending position and “two really good options for next year.” The Oilers defeated the Ottawa Senators 3-2 Tuesday night, and Scrivens was between the pipes.

Andrew Roberts

Andrew Roberts

I am an avid Leafs fan and a fourth year journalism student at Ryerson University. In my spare time I enjoy camping, reading, writing and - of course - watching hockey!
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