Jeff Deslauriers At Twenty-Three: What It Means Going Forward

Jonathan Willis
March 23 2009 03:44PM

jdd

The Oilers’ treatment of prospect Jeff Deslauriers this season has been controversial, to say the least. Some feel that Deslauriers doesn’t have enough of a track record to take up a roster spot, while others worry that so much inactivity could harm his development. I’m inclined to think that both points of view are somewhat correct.

As I did before the season, I feel that Jeff Deslauriers is likely to have an NHL career. And, again as I did before the season, I feel that Deslauriers’ eventual NHL career is unlikely to ever reach dizzying heights. The biggest reason for that feeling is his AHL performance. For simplicity’s sake, let’s take a look at his performance in 2007-08, his best season as a professional:

  • 2007-08: 26-23-5, 2.90 GAA, .912 SV% (23 years of age)

Just for comparisons sake, let’s take a look at current NHL goaltenders that played in the AHL or IHL at 23 and see how Deslauriers’ compares:

Mike Leighton: .926 SV% Ryan Miller: .925 SV% Miikka Kiprusoff: .924 SV% Antero Niittymaki: .924 SV% Yann Danis: .924 SV% Marty Turco: .920 SV% Ilya Bryzgalov: .919 SV% Kevin Weekes: .919 SV% Mathieu Garon: .918 SV% Patrick Lalime: .918 SV% J-S. Giguere: .917 SV% Mike Smith: .917 SV% Curtis McElhinney: .917 SV% Manny Fernandez: .916 SV% Jason Labarbera: .915 SV% -- Jeff Deslauriers: .912 SV% -- Vesa Toskala: .911 SV% Manny Legace: .911 SV% Mikael Tellqvist: .910 SV% Dan Ellis: .909 SV% Alex Auld: .909 SV% Steve Valiquette: .907 SV% Chris Mason: .904 SV% Pekka Rinne: .904 SV%

Now, a chart like this has inherent problems: different goalies over different years (although most of the ones considered here are relatively close) and with different teams.

On the other hand, we are slanting things in Deslauriers’ favour by using his best professional season when we made this chart. Goaltenders are the most difficult players to project based on the numbers (see Mike Leighton’s position at the top of this list), but I think the implication is obvious: how many of the goaltenders underneath Deslauriers’ position in the chart would be worth risking games or taking up a roster spot to develop? It is a list of journeymen backups, players who are available every year in the free agent pool.

I’m not definitively saying that Jeff Deslauriers won’t surpass them. What I am saying is that the odds are not in his favour.

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Jonathan Willis is Managing Editor of the Nation Network. He also currently writes for the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey, Grantland, and Hockey Prospectus. His work has appeared at theScore, ESPN and Puck Daddy. He was previously founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue. Contact him at jonathan (dot) willis (at) live (dot) ca.
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#1 King Mob
March 23 2009, 03:48PM
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Pekka Rinne seems to be working out ok.

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#2 baggedmilk
March 23 2009, 03:48PM
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All I can say about it is, we'll never know what the dude can do if he's sitting on the bench.

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#3 Jonathan Willis
March 23 2009, 03:55PM
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King Mob wrote:

Pekka Rinne seems to be working out ok.

Through one season. As did Dan Ellis. As did Chris Mason before him.

Goalies are up and down season to season; at least, the guys not at the top of the game. I think Deslauriers is going to slide into that 1A/1B slot, and it isn't worth risking a playoff spot to develop him if that's the case, yes?

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#4 oilerdago
March 23 2009, 04:10PM
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//Through one season. As did Dan Ellis. As did Chris Mason before him.//

Great catch JW. Nashville is a team that seems to do a good job of player development but the handling of the goalies has been interesting. All of their 2nd string goalies have played well until thrown into the spotlight (or handed the burden) of being the #1 guy and struggled (the exception being Vokoun when he replaced Mike Dunham).

Whether Pekka Rinne is any different remains to be seen.

It will be interesting to see if Roli holds up this week though. With another 3 games in 4 nites (and 6 games in 9) I'm worried that he's not going to hold up.

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#5 Jonathan Willis
March 23 2009, 04:10PM
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Just to clarify, because I know someone's going to misinterpret me: I'm not writing JDD off. I just think he's nothing special as a prospect - he's perfectly run-of-the-mill, as goalie prospects go, and I have an aversion to developing those kinds of goaltenders. The return on investemnt just isn't good enough; it isn't a good bet to make.

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#6 Word
March 23 2009, 04:35PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

King Mob wrote: Pekka Rinne seems to be working out ok. Through one season. As did Dan Ellis. As did Chris Mason before him. Goalies are up and down season to season; at least, the guys not at the top of the game. I think Deslauriers is going to slide into that 1A/1B slot, and it isn’t worth risking a playoff spot to develop him if that’s the case, yes?

Jim Carey and the 1996 Vezina. Goalie one-hit wonders are fairly common.

Goil Kings.

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#7 Charlie
March 23 2009, 04:57PM
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Man that was sweet when JDD stole games against the Devils and the Rags. Standing on his head against the Flames... yep, he's had some good games, too bad I haven't got to see one in 30 games. I still think he's the future. He had one bad game that I can think of, and that was after Garon let what, 5 in against the Hawks?

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#8 yo
March 23 2009, 05:02PM
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I think you are being a tad hasty in depreciating this guy's value. He has been totally jerked around by the Oilers organization since they drafted him. Oiler mis-management is not JDD's mediocrity. I think you are somewhat stat-fixated at times.

He very likely will not be the second coming of Roy or Brodeur but a solid 'average' or 'above-average' keeper with a well balanced D and O lines can be fiscally advantageous to a solid team. We have hardly seen enough of him to rely on minor-league stats. Being over-reliant on justifying your argument with a bevy of stats can be misleading and susceptible to mis-interpretation at times. It just doesn't take into account the changing of circumstances. He can't be fairly assessed when the coach doesn't play him. How is that JDD's fault? How is that an accurate measure of his potential?

Fumbling and dithering by the Oil coaching and management has reflected poorly on them and their minor-league prospects. The Oilers have failed other players in their organization besides JDD. I am inclined to give this guy a fair opportunity to succeed before I get the guillotine out of mothballs.

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#9 The Menace
March 23 2009, 05:43PM
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Out of JDD and Dubnyk - who is the better long term prospect in net?

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#10 misfit
March 23 2009, 05:49PM
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King Mob wrote:

Pekka Rinne seems to be working out ok.

He also has .927 and .920 SV% seasons sandwiching that .904% year. Unlike Deslauriers, that wasn't his career high.

One thing I do find interesting about his numbers is how he so consistantly alternates between very good and average SV% from year to year:

03/04 - .897 04/05 - .927 05/06 - .904/.900 06/07 - .920 07/08 - .908 08/09 - .922

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#11 Jonathan Willis
March 23 2009, 05:53PM
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The Menace wrote:

Out of JDD and Dubnyk - who is the better long term prospect in net?

Dubnyk, IMO. Of course, Dubnyk has the advantage of his development being an organizational priority.

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#12 jeanshorts
March 23 2009, 05:55PM
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The Menace wrote:

Out of JDD and Dubnyk - who is the better long term prospect in net?

All I know is that in my NHL 09 franchise, Dubnyk is the starter and he's holding it down. He wont the Jennings and the Calder last season. So, I'm pretty sure the game wouldn't lie to me.

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#13 Ender the Dragon
March 23 2009, 05:56PM
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As I alluded to in Jon's other post earlier today, I like the idea of having JDD play for the Oil next season; just not as the starter. You bring in someone (younger than Roli) with a good pedigree (Huet was the example used) and let JDD be a legitimate back-up. JDD gets in some time over the course of the season (say 15-20 starts) and a chance to challenge/outplay the starter or maybe fly the ship in the unfortunate event that the starter goes down to injury.

Huet/JDD looks like a workable tandom. Roli/JDD is riskier. There are other pairings that could work as well, but not if you're relying on JDD to come in and start 40+ games next season. He hasn't shown that he's there yet, and I for one am not willing to take that leap of faith when proven commodities are available at the same price.

And for those who want to trot out the old "He hasn't proven anything because MacT is the reincarnation of Satan and won't let him play" argument, wake up and look around. Now is not the time. If your wife is dying on the operating table and the hospital staffing exec says to you "With your permission, we'd like to go away from Dr. Experianced for this one; there's a hot new intern we've just been dying to try out . . .", I'm reasonably sure I know what your response is likely to be. Then again, I don't know your wife . . .

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#14 The Menace
March 23 2009, 05:58PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: In that case, what's the long term plan for Dubnyk - do they plan to start giving him some NHL action next year?

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#15 The Menace
March 23 2009, 06:00PM
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@ jeanshorts: sounds good to me - EA Sports runs everything from behind the scenes!

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#16 TIM S
March 23 2009, 07:16PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

And for those who want to trot out the old “He hasn’t proven anything because MacT is the reincarnation of Satan and won’t let him play” argument, wake up and look around. Now is not the time. If your wife is dying on the operating table and the hospital staffing exec says to you “With your permission, we’d like to go away from Dr. Experianced for this one; there’s a hot new intern we’ve just been dying to try out . . .”, I’m reasonably sure I know what your response is likely to be. Then again, I don’t know your wife . . .

There has been plenty of chances to get JDD some action long before now. It is a crime that he has not started since Nov 30. My one and only complaint I have about MacT is that he has this blind loyalty towards certain players. Last year he stuck with Roloson for way to long before going to Garon. This year he went back to Roloson the very 1st chance he got. While Roloson has played well he has not been so dominant that he could not have been pryed out of the net for just one game.

JDD is cheap, has up side, and has been a good employee so why replace him??

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#17 Chris
March 23 2009, 08:06PM
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TIM S wrote:

JDD is cheap, has up side, and has been a good employee so why replace him??

I'm also cheap, and would be a good employee... Does anyone want ME starting in goal for the Oilers. Truly great players always find a way to play. If JDD was that great, he would have seen more action by now.

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#18 Mr P
March 23 2009, 08:08PM
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save % is your only resource for AHL goalie comparisons? That is very dependant on the team in front of him. Where are those shots coming from? The slot 50 feet out. You get my point.

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#19 St George
March 23 2009, 08:40PM
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Hey Jonathan,

Google reports that the site you are using to host your blog (copper & blue) is installing malware on people's computers. You might want to install the Google Chrome browser and look at your site first hand to see.

Here's the message Google provides about copper & blue:

"Warning: Visiting this site may harm your computer! The website at coppernblue.blogspot.com contains elements from the site www.pommpie.com, which appears to host malware – software that can hurt your computer or otherwise operate without your consent. Just visiting a site that contains malware can infect your computer. For detailed information about the problems with these elements, visit the Google Safe Browsing diagnostic page for www.pommpie.com."

And here's the Google Safe Browsing diagnostic page for www.pommpie.com:

http://safebrowsing.clients.google.com/safebrowsing/diagnostic?site=http://www.pommpie.com/favicon.ico%3FblogId%3D1&client=googlechrome&hl=en-US

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#20 Maverick
March 23 2009, 08:52PM
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Must be nice collecting an NHL salary to ride the pine though, beats the AHL without a doubt playing time or not

He's made more this year than I will in the next 8

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#21 Dennis
March 23 2009, 08:58PM
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I'd have to bet that it's because they drafted him and that's why they're a bit blind or over optimistic regarding his potential.

This club had Hejda under their noses and he waited around for a call but they didn't bother.

They drew a line in the sand on Glencross even though his asking price wasn't close to shooting the moon.

Yet, they keep JDD around for a year when there's nothing in his resume that says he'd be a good candidate to be claimed should they put him on waivers.

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#22 Mike L
March 23 2009, 10:49PM
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Wow, another insightful comment from Dennis. Comparing a prospect goalie to two different UFAs.

At least your negativity is consistent.

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#23 Dennis
March 23 2009, 11:32PM
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Mike: it's easy to be negative when you're an Oilers fan; some would call it realism.

All the same, I said the Oilers might have a softer spot for the guy because they drafted him and that's perhaps why they'd hold onto him while letting other assets go.

Simple enough to understand, no?

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#24 Jonathan Willis
March 23 2009, 11:39PM
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@ Mr P:

Yes, so take it for what it's worth. In Jeff Deslaurier's greatest season to date, he doesn't rank anywhere near the top in SV%.

On the other hand, I've yet to see any kind of legitimate argument beyond his actual presence on the roster that shows Jeff Deslauriers in a positive light compared to other starters.

And believe me, I've looked - I like the kid, I think he got screwed over royally by the Oilers' lack of a farm team (more than any other prospect). He's a favorite of mine, and I want to see him succeed.

But I haven't seen anything that makes me think he's ever going to be a better player than Alex Auld. And if that's the case, there's no point in developing him, because you can have a developed version of the same guy for virtually no cost every summer.

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#25 Jonathan Willis
March 23 2009, 11:39PM
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TIM S wrote:

My one and only complaint I have about MacT is that he has this blind loyalty towards certain players. Last year he stuck with Roloson for way to long before going to Garon. This year he went back to Roloson the very 1st chance he got.

And that decision has salvaged the Oilers' season and will probably save the coach's job.

I'm guessing he has no regrets.

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#26 Jonathan Willis
March 23 2009, 11:41PM
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Ender the Dragon wrote:

Huet/JDD looks like a workable tandom. Roli/JDD is riskier.

Amen. It isn't a difficult concept.

Is there anyone here who would seriously want to risk their job at the helm of a multi-million dollar enterprise on a 40-year old goaltender and a completely unproven prospect? It's a suckers bet.

Legit starter and prospect, fine. 40-year old goaltender with some proven insurance, fine. But not Roli/JDD.

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#27 Kent
March 24 2009, 12:36AM
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One thing that baffled me this year was the Oilers decision to keep JDD on the roster...with Garon and Roloson because they didn't want to "risk losing him on waivers". Which is really, really silly in my estimation. How many untested rookie back-ups with merely good AHL stats get scooped up in the NHL? None. Because everyone has two or three of those already.

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#28 Peter Pan
March 24 2009, 07:18AM
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The mere fact that MacT and friends choose not to give Rollie a game off and replace him with JDD, speaks volumes about his readiness and ability. They would sit Roloson out in a heart beat if they had a competent backup. But in JDD's perspective, it must be tough to stay sharp with no starts in nearly 5 months!

Bring back Bob Essensa!

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#29 OvenChicken8
March 24 2009, 08:02AM
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Has anyone read the new Dan Barnes article about Hemsky?

If so FMNF is getting closer to being reality, especially in this league where when the Star vs. Coach usually leaves the coach without a job.

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#30 OvenChicken8
March 24 2009, 08:02AM
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P.S. Props to Hemsky for finally speaking out.

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#31 Chaz
March 24 2009, 08:32AM
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Wow. Something makes me think this Hemsky article is going to snowball into a major story by the end of the day. It is bad timing, but it seems like the guy is just being honest. If their star player isn't on board with the coach, then you have trouble. Maybe we should change it to FMNH: Fire Mac T Now Hemmer.

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#32 Ender the Dragon
March 24 2009, 09:05AM
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OvenChicken8 wrote:

Has anyone read the new Dan Barnes article about Hemsky?

I just did now that you pointed it out. [makes face]

This is not what the team needs right now. Hemmer probably does feel that way, but I don't know that there's anything to be gained by taking his grievences public. Everyone tore MacT a new one earlier this year for calling out his players publicly; somehow, I'm guessing a double standard is going to be applied here, which is a damn shame.

Hemsky being right or wrong isn't the issue. The issue is how you handle not getting what you want or need, and I don't think going on the record with this with ten games to play was a well-thought-out plan. Oh well; done is done. As a fly on the wall, it will be interesting to see how Hemmer's line flys tonight.

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#33 AlBundy
March 24 2009, 09:26AM
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@ Ender the Dragon: I have been saying for some time now what is wrong with Hemsky, is he hurt? Well, it appears now we have the answer.

If one of your few stars is not happy, that cannot be good. I appreciate what MacT wants from his team to win, but with very few offensive stars, I think you gotta let Hemsky go all out on the offense. The Oilers have enough checkers to make up for his defense.

I do find it interesting that Hemsky expressed his views in the media. Congrat's to him. I suspect MacT and Lowe and Tambo don't appreciate it but you gotta give him credit.

Hemsky isn't afraid to go into the tough area's and play hard. He gotta rid hime like you ride Roli and Souray.

Only 10 games to go!

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#34 Tim S
March 24 2009, 09:28AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

And that decision has salvaged the Oilers’ season and will probably save the coach’s job. I’m guessing he has no regrets.

And sticking with Roloson could very well have cost them a playoff spot last year. Roloson has played well but I would not go so far as to say he salvaged the season.

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#35 Mr P
March 24 2009, 10:19AM
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@ Jonathan Willis:

I see where you're going with JDD but I just don't believe in Huet. Especially with that ridiclous salary. I still a little bitter over Garon, I liked him.

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