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2010 NHL free agency: Oilers avoid arbitration, re-sign goalie Jeff Deslauriers

Jul 31, 2010, 10:47 PM EDT

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jeffdeslauriers.jpgThe Oilers have done the NHL arbitration-watching part of the world a huge favor and came to terms with goaltender Jeff Deslauriers on a one-year one-way deal. Deslauriers was set to be the last arbitration case to be heard, but now that won’t go down, leaving the Blackhawks decision on what they’ll do with goaltender Antti Niemi as the last piece of arbitration-related business left to be handled. Terms of Deslauriers contract were not immediately known, but we’ll update this post later once they’re released.

(Update: TSN’s Ryan Rishaug says Deslaurier’s contract is for $1.1 million)

Deslauriers was pressed into heavy action last year in Edmonton with Nikolai Khabibulin out with an injury and did… About as well as you could expect a lifetime backup goalie to do when playing for the worst team in the NHL last year. He went 16-28-4 last year with a .901 save percentage and a 3.26 goals against average while splitting the post-Khabibulin workload with Devan Dubnyk. Those three goalies are all under contract with Edmonton again next year and all under one-way deals.

Should Khabibulin avoid jail time in his DUI trial at the end of August, and should he be healthy enough to play, the Oilers are facing a rather crowded crease next year. While Dubnyk and Deslauriers aren’t stars by any means, the aging Khabibulin could stand to use as much backup help as can be mustered and giving up a goalie won’t be enjoyable for the organization. Then again, potentially being stuck paying for a goalie while he serves a short jail term doesn’t sound appealing either. I guess having perspective like that helps out.

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