1st round draft picks are a commodity that should never be taken lightly. They are the primary source of the game's elite superstars. In one selection, a franchise can select a legendary cornerstone, or miss a golden opportunity that will be ridiculed for decades.
In 2004, the Edmonton Oilers passed up Alexander Radulov, Travis Zajac, Wojtek Wolski, Andrej Meszaros, Mike Green, and even fellow goaltender Cory Schneider, to obtain an emaciated 6'5" Kamloops Blazer named Devan Dubnyk. In addition to possessing towering height, he was the CHL's reigning Scholastic Player of the Year, a prized trait among Oilers brass that contributed to Darnell Nurse being selected 7th overall this year.
The generally accepted maxim in the NHL is that goalies take time to develop. But how much time? How many chances does one deserve? How long until the team and their die hard fans are allowed to move on?
The Oilers are clearly making this the final year of Kevin Lowe's Dubious Rebuilding Timeline (TM), with a fistful of short term, one year, and expiring contracts. The primary spotlight will be on Dubnyk, who after nearly a decade of development, is covered in more question marks than The Riddler.
The price is wrong.
Using the 14th overall pick was wrong. Giving him this much time to develop was wrong. Spending $3.5 million per season on him was wrong.
A 1st round pick was too high a price. Losing this many seasons without a proven starter was too high a price. Abusing the fan base was too high a price. Spending that much money for no reason was way too high a price.
In poker, pros know you don't keep throwing good money after bad, just because you've "come this far." The money in the middle is gone. Forget about it. Move on. Cut bait and run. The Oilers have the most loyal fans in the league, bar none. They deserve better than to be strung along by indecisive ninnies like Steve Tambellini. And what was with that dollar figure? When I saw that Dubnyk and Petry signed at the same time, for 3.5 and 1.75 respectively, I thought the reporter had gotten the amounts backwards.
The guy is 27 years old. On this team, that's ancient. His meandering prairie boy voice cadence doesn't inspire me to think he's got the heart of a lion. He talks like Bret Hart, but that doesn't mean he's got heart. He talks like a Sutter, but that doesn't mean he's butter.
Giving him one more year means we missed out on guys who could help us now, like Ryan Miller, Jonas Hiller, and Tim Thomas, among others. It's time to get serious about who's between the pipes.
In the words of Happy Gilmore, "The price is wrong..."