Wait 'n' see on Roloson

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

Dwayne Roloson is on the clock.

Oilers GM Steve Tambellini has offered the about-to-turn-40 goaltender a one year deal for significant money -- believed to be in the same neighbourhood as the $3 million US he earned as the team's MVP last season.

If Roloson decides to test free agency at 10 a.m. tomorrow, finding a goaltender will be at the top of the Oilers' free-agent frenzy game plan.

"For sure we're going to be a player in free agency if Roloson seeks free agency," Tambellini said yesterday.

And if not? That's the bigger question.

As was the case with making any Brian Burke-like proclamations at the draft, Tambellini isn't going to build up Oilers fans for a large letdown.

If Roloson isn't in the Oilers net, however, Tambellini admits the team will go into the blocks with their "go" list for a new goalie having been determined just in case.

"We have the goaltenders ranked, both starters and potential starters," he said.

This year's list of free-agent goaltenders would give the Oilers plenty of options.

That list includes Nikolai Khabibulin, Martin Biron, Manny Fernandez, Ty Conklin, Andrew Raycroft, Manny Legace, Martin Gerber, Craig Anderson and Scott Clemmenson.

Considering the options available -- and not a lot of teams in search of a starting goaltender -- does Roloson have reason to believe there is somebody out there looking for a 40-year-old starter and willing to sign him to a multi-year deal at the money he made here the last three years?

You'd think not.

It's no surprise that the Oilers offered Roloson a one-year deal. He earned it.

Coming off a season the year before where it looked like he'd come to the end of the line, he was outstanding playing a ridiculous 63 games and going 28-24-9 with a 2.77 goals against average.

It's also not a surprise that the Oilers only offered Roli the Goalie a one-year deal. Tambellini would be under heavy criticism if he did otherwise.

What is a surprise, if the money isn't an insult, is why Roloson hasn't signed it.

Whatever, the idea that the Oilers would be throwing everything at finding Roloson's replacement in the first few hours of free agency, if that is indeed the case, would seem to telegraph that they aren't going to attempt to be the big-picture player they were in trying to land Marian Hossa last year.

At the same time Calgary Flames' GM Darryl Sutter was believed to be in Edmonton talking to Jay Bouwmeester and his agent, Tambellini refused to say one word on whether or not the Oilers were even going to make an offer to the homegrown prize of the annual Canada Day free-agent picnic if Sutter doesn't seal the deal.

They've have some sort of a plan in place, wouldn't they?

But maybe the reality is that they've got themselves in such a pickle with the contracts already in place that they can't figure how to escape.

Tambellini is handcuffed by having not been able to shed any of the Oilers contracts at last weekend's draft, which doubled as the most boring production of Deal Or No Deal of all time.

"It was just as intense as the trade deadline, except nobody could get anything done," he said of the lack of trades after the deal that sent Chris Pronger to the Philadelphia Flyers for the usual: Joffrey Lupul, two first round draft choices and one provisional draft choice.

"We have a lot of people under contract," says Tambellini.

"We pretty much have a whole team signed. We have more forwards under contract than roster spots."

The GM says it's going to be interesting not only to see what happens in the first 48 hours of free agency, but maybe more interesting to see what's left after the smoke has cleared.

"I'm really curious what the landscape is going to look like in terms of trades after it settles down," he said.

That's probably where the Oilers' action will be waiting.


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