Congrats to former Broncos goaltender Eetu Laurikainen on inking a two-year entry level contract with the Edmonton Oilers. It’s a well deserved opportunity for a goaltender who was a pleasure to watch here in Swift Current. What are the Oilers getting? An athletic goaltender with great reflexes who can make spectacular saves. That’s what probably stands out from a fan perspective. In getting to see him as much as I did when he was here his poise and consistency really stood out for me. Laurikainen kept a very even keel which I think is a huge plus for goaltenders. He had a save percentage above .900 in 11 of the 14 months he played for the Broncos and only gave up five or more goals 7 times in 114 games. Those were solid teams he played on… but we aren’t talking about a defensive power house that made their goalie look better than he was. They still gave up their share of chances and Laurikainen gave them a chance to win every night.
Truly honoured and excited to sign with the @EdmontonOilers. A dream come true. Let’s make some more!
— Eetu Laurikainen (@eetu41) May 12, 2015
I know the Oilers were interested in Laurikainen when he was in Swift Current and it didn’t come together. In a year of pro hockey in Finland he not only showed his junior numbers were no fluke… he improved them in his country’s top professional league. Laurikainen was good enough that he was runner up for the league’s rookie of the year award.
Where does he fit in Edmonton? They don’t exactly have a crowded crease. It looks like Ben Scrivens and Laurent Broissoit are going to be the only other goalies left from last year’s depth chart for now. They could decided to re-sign another guy from that group. Conventional wisdom would to me dictate that they find a veteran #1 for the NHL while letting Broissoit and Laurikainen handle duties with their AHL affiliate in Bakersfield. They would still need at least one or two other goalies in the organization at the ECHL level and in case of injury. It’s possible Laurikainen could have to start in the ECHL depending on what that depth chart looks like come fall. Either way there is an opportunity with the Oilers. They don’t have any sure things in the pipeline right now. The door is wide open for a guy who seems to make the most out of every opportunity he gets.
I had a chance to chat today at lunch with Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb about the latest of his former players to get a chance at the next level, his reaction to their WHL Bantam Draft and to the drafting of his son Hunter.
Interview with Broncos Coach/GM Mark Lamb:
Stay with the blog over the next few days as I will have more interviews with this year’s draft class. There are some good kids in the group. I’m looking forward to seeing them in August.