Goaltending by committee

DEREK VAN DIEST

, Last Updated: 7:27 AM ET

Two seasons ago, the Oilers had problems finding anybody to stop the puck.

This year they couldn't find enough playing time for both puck stoppers.

Heading into the off-season the Oilers still have both Dwayne Roloson and Mathieu Garon under contract for one more year. Both are unrestricted free agents in 2009.

The two ended up splitting the goaltending duties this season and may do the same next year.

EVOLVING GOALIE

"I think Mathieu is evolving," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "I haven't spoken to Roli yet, but there is no reason to think that it won't be a competitive position next year. I think that's healthy in a lot of ways.

"I found over the years that it's pretty futile to put a title on someone as the No. 1 goalie. Those things will normally resolve themselves out through performance issues and that's the way I see it evolving next year."

Roloson, 38, was strong for the Oilers in their final playoff push, winning seven of his last 11 starts. Among those victories was an unconscious 48-save performance in San Jose and a 37-save game in Vancouver Thursday. It may be enough to warrant bringing the veteran back next year.

"We'll see what happens," Roloson said. "It's totally out of my hands. It's up to (GM) Kevin (Lowe) and Mac and to what they have planned. Realistically it's not something that I can answer because it's not really up to me."

Having began the year as the Oilers undisputed starting goaltender, Roloson was eventually passed on the depth chart by Garon, who at one point made 17 consecutive starts.

Signed as a free agent to back up Roloson, Garon eventually began playing so well the Oilers couldn't afford to keep him on the bench.

"I was really happy with Mathieu and the year that he had and I think it was almost a transitional year for Roli," MacTavish said. "In a lot of ways it was a difficult year for him emotionally and one that I thought he handled very well."

SPLIT DUTIES

Roloson finished the season with a 15-17-5 record, a 3.05 goals against average and .901 save percentage.

Garon posted a 26-18-1 record with a 2.66 GAA and .913 SV%. An ankle injury took him out of commission late in the season.

"I think this season went beyond my expectations," Garon said. "Coming in here I didn't know how many games I was going to play. But I got a chance to play a lot and it was great for me to get that chance and get the confidence from the coaching staff and my teammates.

"Every time I had a chance to play I wanted to show everybody that I can play more than one game every five or six games. I think slowly I started to play well and they started giving me more games."


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