March 23 2009 03:44PM
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.