A backyard find?

Robin Brownlee
May 22 2009 04:16PM

Aaron Sorochan's name isn't on the tip of anybody's tongue when it comes to the Edmonton Oilers goaltending situation, but it looks from where I sit like he should at least be part of the discussion.

With the pecking order in the Oilers goal crease up in the air and unproven prospects -- or is it suspects? -- Jeff Deslauriers and Devan Dubnyk at the front of the line, as of now, to take over from Dwayne Roloson, Sorochan is sitting right under the noses of Oilers management.

The homegrown stopper, a two-time CIS all-star who backstopped the Alberta Golden Bears to two national titles, has finished his studies at the University of Alberta and is looking for a place to play.

Besides, it's not like the Oilers don't know about the 25-year-old Sorochan -- they invited him to camp a few years ago and even signed him to an amateur tryout contract in December 2007 to back up Mathieu Garon against New Jersey after Roloson was shelved by the flu.

So, with no Vezina Trophy candidates in the organizational fold, wouldn't it make sense for the Oilers to take a second look and maybe invite Sorochan to training camp this fall?

I think it would.

Late bloomer

Sorochan is the epitome of a late-bloomer.

While it might be a stretch to compare Sorochan straight-up to Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins -- Thomas was a ninth-round selection of Quebec in 1994 and rattled around the pros for more than a decade before grabbing the starting job in Beantown -- there are similarities.

Sorochan wasn't even drafted after three lousy seasons in the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders.

In 2000-01 with Prince Albert, he was 4-12-0 with a swollen 5.26 goals-against average and .870 saves percentage. In 2001-02, he was 12-20-1 with a 4.50 and .875. In this third season with Prince Albert, 2002-03, Sorochan was 15-27-2 with 3.64 and .877. Thanks for coming.

By the time Sorochan got it together with the Vancouver Giants in 2003-04, going 23-14-7 with a 2.37 GAA and .919 saves percentage, and Lethbridge in 2004-05, posting a 35-19-8 record with a 2.19 and .917, it was Alberta, not a line-up of NHL teams, who showed the most interest.

Now's the time

Suffice to say, Sorochan blossomed with the Bears. After four years at Alberta, a tenure including CIS rookie of the year honors, the two all-star selections and two national titles, Sorochan is ready to move on.

Sorochan finished the 2008-09 CIS season with a 23-6-0 record, a 2.03 GAA and a .922 save percentage. He led the CIS in GAA and save percentage and finished his career at Alberta with a record of 97-27-2 in 130 games. What's not to like?

Obviously, GM Steve Tambellini has more pressing matters on his plate than adding Sorochan to his goaltending mix -- I wonder if fired Calgary hard case Mike Keenan gets a job interview? -- but it's worth contemplating.

Now, having tried to find out what's up with the coaching situation, I know nobody is talking. Fine. But, with a potential gem like Sorochan sitting in the shadows of Rexall Place and looking for a gig, here's hoping somebody with a say in the training camp roster is listening.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 Jonathan Willis
May 24 2009, 12:38PM
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@ Jay:

You could be right that I'm undervaluing Sorochan; it is just my opinion after all. On the other hand, this fall I was excited about an undrafted free agent, Andrew Perugini. Here's what I said at the time:

Even if Deslauriers stays up, I doubt that Glenn Fisher sees a ton of game action. Devan Dubnyk is expected to be the starter in Springfield, and both Bryan Pitton and Andrew Perugini are legitimate prospects who need development time. Fisher, on the other hand, is a 25-year old goaltender coming off a middling ECHL season, and I don’t think the organization can afford to give him many starts. Kevin Prendergast indicated earlier that the Oilers may chose to rotate the backup position in Springfield between Fisher, Pitton and Perugini. If I had to guess, I would imagine that the Oilers make Pitton the priority, given that he’s the only one of the three goaltenders on an NHL Entry Level deal. I’d also say that if the junior numbers are anything to go by, Perugini emerges as the best of the three goaltenders by the mid-season mark.

I pegged Fisher as a guy who would start in the AHL and wasn't an organizational priority; he started in the AHL and was loaned to Calgary's ECHL affiliate midseason.

I said the Oilers would make Pitton a priority in terms of getting starts; to begin the year he played often while Perugini was the seldom used backup.

I said that Perugini, based on his junior numbers, would eclipse Pitton by midseason; Pitton collapsed, and new coach Matt Thomas relied heavily on Perugini, riding him all the way to an unlikely playoff berth.

The point of this is that I pegged the Oilers goaltenders pretty well in the fall, using the same methods that I'm being criticized for now. It is just my opinion; as an opinion it is far from infallible and I'm a long ways from having a perfect record (as one example, like Brownlee, I was very optimistic on Garon to start the season). That said, the math's been pretty reliable so far, and if I had to guess I'd imagine Sorochan slides in right around where Perugini is right now on the depth chart.

I'd be an unabashed supporter of signing him to a contract, but right now the organization needs to make some room, either by clearing out Glenn Fisher (who had a tremendous late season run for Las Vegas of the ECHL; .930 SV%) or Bryan Pitton (who has two more years left in his entry level deal).

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#52 Sandra Blood
May 24 2009, 01:14PM
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Trade Desjarlais for Harding, and bring up Dubynik as a backup, Goalie situation solved!

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#53 Hemmertime
May 24 2009, 07:20PM
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I mentioned Keenan a week or so ago, now that its official hes terminated I really like the idea.

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#54 Robin Brownlee
May 24 2009, 07:43PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

I mentioned Keenan a week or so ago, now that its official hes terminated I really like the idea.

You are a genius. You called the Keenan shot. Too bad he'd be a horrific mismatch here. Luckily, there's zero chance Keenan gets a sniff.

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#55 TDSM31
May 24 2009, 09:31PM
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We have absolutely zero prospects in goal. I've said it before and will say it again....our scouting dept needs an overhaul. FPNF.

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#56 bozo
May 24 2009, 09:44PM
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Stauffer,

You're not using your 'enter' key enough. See those spaces between other people's paragraphs? Perhaps you need more practice with your computing machine.

BTW, did JW pee in your cornflakes? Is Sorochan your girlfriend's kid? If not, why the rage over JW pointing out that there's good reason to be skeptical about CIS goalies? I mean, has a CIS goalie ever done what you're saying Sorochan will do? Not to say Sorochan won't make it, but if no one in his position has made it, shouldn't we be highly skeptical. Things that have never happened over years, given multiple chances, have a low probability of happening. No?

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#57 Archaeologuy
May 24 2009, 09:50PM
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@ bozo: Dont get Stauffer angry. You dont want to see him when he's angry.

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#58 J-Bird
May 25 2009, 09:07AM
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Slow news day in Oilerville when folks are sittin around argueing about whether a 25 year old CIS goalie is in the future plans of the Oilers, and where he'd land on the farm.

Certainly this is WAY down the list isn't it? I mean there's no starting goalie, no head coach yet, lots of salary to shed, some contract to move or eat, etc. And we're talking about a 25 year old CIS goalie, making rediculous comparison's to Tim Thomas? Come on.

The CIS is what it is. A high level of hockey, played by (in the west anyways) a bunch of WHLers who didn't get drafted or signed to move on to the AHL or other levels of "pro" hockey. The NHL dream is over for 99.9999999% of them.

Next....

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#59 Return of the dead - OilersNation.com
May 25 2009, 09:59AM
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[...] there doesn’t seem to be much of anything going on. Well that isn’t entirely true. Bob Stauffer showed up on the Nation for the first time that we can recall and engaged Brownlee and Willis in a battle of CIS goalie [...]

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#60 Jason Gregor
May 25 2009, 10:24AM
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oldprospector wrote:

Gregor - get a clue. Let’s point out the obvious - you don’t know how a guy is going to play at the next level until he gets a look.

WHich is what I said. He doesn't get ahead of JDD or DD until he proves he can play.

oldprospector wrote:

He has the lateral movement and ability to see pucks through a screen that lend well to playing at the faster paced AHL level. He is good enough to be a backup in the AHL without question.

Which is exactly where I said he would rank. Feel free to make a counter point not agree with what I say.

oldprospector wrote:

Goaltending is different than a forward or defenceman for evaluating talent. The majority of elite CIS players can’t make the jump to the AHL or above because they don’t have the skating ability. With goaltending this is a non-factor.

Are you on glue. Most CIS top-end players are good to great skaters. Size is what used to limit most of them from moving on. Skating is not the major obstacle holding most of them back.

oldprospector wrote:

Everyone knows you don’t respect CIS hockey but at least give his WHL numbers credit

Once again talking out of your ass without a clue of what you are saying. My brother won a CIAU championship with Acadia. That team is still regarded as maybe the best University team ever.

I know many of the Bears current and former players personally and they are all very good players, just not NHL players. That is a fact. Many have gone onto to careers in Europe and they make very good money and get a great experience living abroad.

Because I say Sorochan doesn't deserve to be rated ahead of JDD or DD at this point, is far from saying I don't respect CIS hockey. Feel free to post a comment when you actually know what you are talking about.

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#61 Robin Brownlee
May 25 2009, 11:03AM
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J-Bird wrote:

And we’re talking about a 25 year old CIS goalie, making rediculous comparison’s to Tim Thomas? Come on.

Too slow a news day? Look somewhere else then and spare us the drive-by crap.

Read the reference to Thomas again (and learn how to spell ridiculous while you're at it) before running your yap.

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#62 Mikey
May 25 2009, 11:58AM
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This thread is AWESOME!

Can someone please explain to me why Sandra still refers to JDD is Dasjarlais? Is it an inside joke that I am not aware of?

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#63 Hemmertime
May 25 2009, 12:35PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

You are a genius. You called the Keenan shot. Too bad he’d be a horrific mismatch here. Luckily, there’s zero chance Keenan gets a sniff.

lol ouch. Torn a new one from someone who looks like the BTK killer.

Seriously though, hes not as successful as Crow, but there is a good reason he has coached 22/25 years in the NHL (and didnt he have cancer or something that stopped him for the 2 he didnt consecutively, I may be wrong but that rings a bell). He plays a tough system, and is notorious for being a hard arse which isn't a bad thing to me. I agree he isnt likely considered for too long, but I wouldn't use the word luckily, or consider him any more of a mismatch than MacT's style would be, except he'd have the bawls to get people buying into his system

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#64 Hemmertime
May 25 2009, 12:42PM
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And for horrible mismatch, the words from Tambo ring to me like we want to change into a team that would fit Iron Mikes style

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#65 Robin Brownlee
May 25 2009, 01:02PM
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@ Hemmertime:

Keenan has never known how to handle young players and that's why he's a mismatch here. The vets might love him, but younger players would have a difficult time. I've heard enough stories first-hand from players to know Keenan wouldn't help a room inhabited by the likes of Gagner, Cogliano, O'Sullivan etc.

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#66 Robin Brownlee
May 25 2009, 01:08PM
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Hemmertime wrote:

lol ouch. Torn a new one from someone who looks like the BTK killer.

God Almighty, do I look that old, that bald and that crazy? Say it ain't so . . .

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#67 Hemmertime
May 25 2009, 01:09PM
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Good point, and the cancer thing was Quinn now that Im awake

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#68 Hemmertime
May 25 2009, 01:11PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

God Almighty, do I look that old, that bald and that crazy? Say it ain’t so . . .

lol I stole that from a friend that saw ON for first time this weekend, he saw your Pic and thought you used the BTK pic for profile and that was twisted and I laughed my ass off

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#69 J-Bird
May 25 2009, 01:31PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Too slow a news day? Look somewhere else then and spare us the drive-by crap. Read the reference to Thomas again (and learn how to spell ridiculous while you’re at it) before running your yap.

Well aren't we snarky today. :)

In any event, way down the list of priorities right now and I doubt he's gonna get a shot at the AHL team.

The thing I'll say about any goalie of the Bears is simply that the Bears are consistantly one of the best teams in the CIS, and I'd atribute stellar goaltending stats moreso to the team in front of him, not the other way around.

My speellling is fine thanks. ;)

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#70 roger
May 25 2009, 01:31PM
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hey robin i know we are going into a slow news season for the oil. i was wondering if you could give us some personal stories like the tidbits about ulanov and mironov in some of your recent colums. i know you can't give us the dirt and thats cool some of the vanilla stories can be just as interesting.

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#71 Robin Brownlee
May 25 2009, 04:33PM
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J-Bird wrote: My speellling is fine thanks.

No it's not, you f*cked up comparisons as well with "comparison's." And that's not spelling, that's dumb-ass-didn't-pay-attention-in-school-illiterate. Of course, this isn't English Nation, but when you come in flapping your jaw like you did and leave the door open, well, you've got to know I'm going to walk through it and give you a kick in the grammar pills. Nothing personal.

By the way, why do nerds use the term "snarky" and use those I'm-socially-retarded happy faces in their copy? Are you Dennis King? When I read snarky and see happy faces I expect to read nerd-speak like: "plays the toughs" and "does the heavy lifting" and "butter-soft minutes." You're just pretending to be a nerd, aren't you?

Anyway, there's no question the Oilers future doesn't pivot on what happens with Sorochan, so no quibble with that observation. And, really, there's no question he's a longshot. Still, I see him as a diamond in the rough and one that's right under the Oilers noses. He could be a nice local story down the road, that's all. And I bet he does get invited to Oilers camp. Until we get some action on the coaching front, you're going to see little sidebar items like Sorochan.

roger wrote:

hey robin i know we are going into a slow news season for the oil. i was wondering if you could give us some personal stories like the tidbits about ulanov and mironov in some of your recent colums. i know you can’t give us the dirt and thats cool some of the vanilla stories can be just as interesting.

Sorry, J-Bird has ruined it for everybody by running his mouth about the Sorochan story being a waste of space. There's no way I'll risk such scathing criticism again by talking about the time I was making my way back to my hotel room at the Pan Pacific in Vancouver in the wee hours with a young lady I'd met and we bumped into Raffi Torres and . . . But noooooooooo, J-Bird had to ruin it . . .

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#72 Clarkenstein
May 25 2009, 04:38PM
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J-Bird wrote:

Slow news day in Oilerville when folks are sittin around argueing about whether a 25 year old CIS goalie is in the future plans of the Oilers, and where he’d land on the farm. Certainly this is WAY down the list isn’t it? I mean there’s no starting goalie, no head coach yet, lots of salary to shed, some contract to move or eat, etc. And we’re talking about a 25 year old CIS goalie, making rediculous comparison’s to Tim Thomas? Come on. The CIS is what it is. A high level of hockey, played by (in the west anyways) a bunch of WHLers who didn’t get drafted or signed to move on to the AHL or other levels of “pro” hockey. The NHL dream is over for 99.9999999% of them. Next….
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#73 Clarkenstein
May 25 2009, 04:40PM
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I agree J-Bird... they are playing for the Holy Grail with our noses pressed up against the glass... again... and this is what people in E-town are talking about!! Further proof where Kevin Lowe has taken this organization.

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