The Edmonton Oilers signed free agent goaltender Eetu Laurikainen to an entry-level contract over the summer, bringing the 22 year old goaltender from SM-Liiga’s Espoo Blues to North America after a stellar rookie pro season.
When former starter Ben Scrivens cleared waivers prior to the start of the 2015-16 season, the surplus of goaltending depth at the AHL level for Edmonton left Laurikainen the odd man out. Rather than relegate the young prospect to the ECHL or leave him a healthy scratch for the bulk of the year, the Oilers opted to loan him back home for a bit. Since late November, Laurikainen has been with HPK Hameenlinna of the SM-liiga as a starter.
His 3-5-0 record with the offensively stagnant Hameenlinna club was offset by a .920 raw save percentage and just 2.16 GAA, but it seems that the goaltender’s stay back in Finland will be short-lived.
Looking at the roster for Edmonton’s AHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors, the netminding duties have been closely split between prospect Laurent Brossoit and veteran Ben Scrivens. The two goaltenders sit on opposite ends of the spectrum, though, with Brossoit sitting on a .926 raw save percentage and three shutouts to Scrivens’ .893 raw numbers. Brossoit has posted a 9-4-2 record through December, while Scrivens has struggled to a 2-6-1 record of his own.
The NHL enforces a mandatory roster freeze from December 22nd to December 28th, which prohibits teams from trading players during the holidays. Once the freeze is lifted, the Oilers will be sitting on three minor league goaltenders – and without an injury on the roster, that could mean goaltending movement for the Pacific Division club.