October 17 2008 08:03AM
It looks like the second head of the Oilers’ three-headed goaltending monster will make an appearance in Calgary on Friday.
Earlier this week, Craig MacTavish hinted rookie Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers would get his first NHL start on the road. “I think it is probably better for a young goalie to get his first start away. It might be a little easier to get that start on the road, but it is not essential.”
That comment combined with a conversation I had last night leads me to believe Deslauriers will get his first regular season start in Calgary on Friday.
This is a tough decision for MacTavish for many reasons, and raises a few questions:
- Is it worth it to risk avoiding a 3–0 start if the kid struggles?
- Wouldn’t a road start in Chicago or Colorado next week be an easier place?
- Are we just trying to find out what the kid is made of?
These are all fair questions, but I think they want the answer to #3 sooner than later. If JDD plays like he did in the pre-season, it could easily start the ball rolling to find a new home for Roloson. If he struggles, that clouds the situation even more. Right now MacTavish and goaltending coach Pete Peeters have loads of confidence in JDD and are curious to see what he can do.
One bad game won’t scare teams from grabbing him off of waivers.
****I know this is a hockey site, but I was watching the Sox/Rays game as I wrote this, and what a comeback for the Sox. Down 7–0, they just completed the comeback and won 8–7. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Now we will see what the Rays are made of in game six. I love the playoffs, regardless of the sport. Watching this game makes me drool for another Battle of Alberta playoff series. That would be awesome for the fans who have never experienced one. Let’s hope the teams can finally match up in April....****
The Avalanche currently has Budaj ($700K) and Raycroft ($800K) in goal, and neither has been stellar, so picking up Deslauriers ($625K) wouldn’t be that risky financially or position-wise.
Joey Macdonald hasn’t been very good for the Islanders in place of the injured Rick Dipietro, the Leafs could take him and say goodbye to an aging Curtis Joseph, and, even Chicago might look at him and part with Khabibulin.
MacTavish has also stated many times that Garon is not going to play every game, so they might as well keep their back-ups sharp. In their first 15 games the Oilers have five back-to-back situations, so they could see a fair amount of ice time. Look for Garon to play ten or eleven of the first 15, with Deslauriers and Dwayne Roloson splitting the rest.
The fact is Deslauriers needs to play for the Oilers, and they need to find out how good he might be. They also don’t want him sitting out almost three weeks between games—his last start was Oct 3 in Calgary. A start on Friday is the most fair for the former second rounder.
It sure sounds like Deslauriers will start, and if he does, the Oilers should then dress Roloson as the backup, and send Garon home after the morning skate so he is well-rested for the rematch. It makes no sense to have your number-one goalie sit on the bench when he could watch the game from home and hit the sheets early.
While it isn’t as urgent as Deslauriers, you have to wonder when Ladislav Smid will get on the ice. What’s even more interesting is who you would take out to get Smid in. Three weeks ago many thought Jason Strudwick was automatically the number-seven D-man. However, through camp and the first two games, he has been better than Steve Staios. Would MacTavish make his assistant captain a healthy scratch to play Smid? Unless Staios picks up his game, he would have to be the guy.
A more realistic situation is if Strudwick has an off night, then Smid draws in the next game. I wouldn’t be surprised if Smid continues to munch on popcorn for a few more games. When he does get in, Smid needs to play well. His contract is up at the end of the season, and with Taylor Chorney and Theo Peckham ready to make the jump to The Show next season the time is now for Smid.