Better Know A Prospect: Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers

Jonathan Willis
July 26 2009 11:42AM

Jeff Deslauriers, the Oilers’ backup goaltender, is frequently described as something of a mystery. He’s had a long journey since being drafted, and it hasn’t been an easy one. Let’s take a look.

2001-02

Deslauriers made his QMJHL debut in 2001-02, his draft year. Here are the goaltending numbers from Chicoutimi:

  • Deslauriers: 51GP – 28W – 20L – 1T, 3.51 GAA, .900 SV%
  • Eric Bourbeau: 27GP – 12W – 11L – 0T, 3.77 GAA, .876 SV%

Deslauriers was well ahead of the older Bourbeau at this point, and a good thing too: Bourbeau would play one more season in the QMJHL with similar results before going to the BCHL. By 2004-05, he wasn’t playing high-level hockey.

In February, Red Line Report listed him as a rising prospect (ranked 18th overall):

For a guy who wasn't even on our pre-season list, he's been the season's biggest revelation. That kind of movement and confidence in a goalie his size means nothing but trouble for shooters.

Deslauriers was rising up the charts quickly, although a rough playoff (4GP, 0-3-0, 6.09 GAA, .844 SV%) likely scared some teams off. Red Line (correctly) felt that four games on a poor team weren’t worth worrying about, because they ranked him second among goaltenders in their draft preview:

Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, the biggest surprise of the top-enders, is as big as an octopus and takes up virtually the entire net with his 6-4 frame. In addition, he moves extremely well for a huge man. He has great intangibles with very positive body language and an alert attitude that gives teammates confidence. His rapid rise from nowhere this year gives the impression that he's got a huge upside if he can continue to make the same type of quantum leap from season-to-season.

Deslauriers slipped to fourth on draft-day, behind Kari Lehtonen, Cam Ward and Hannu Toivonen. The Oilers moved Jochen Hecht to Buffalo for two picks (31st and 36th overall), and drafted Deslauriers with the 31st pick.

2002-03

Unfortunately, Chicoutimi took a step backward in 2002-03, and Jeff Deslauriers (and his goaltending partners) got shelled:

  • Jean-Michel Perron: 11GP, 3-6-0, 3.66 GAA, .894 SV%
  • Deslauriers: 49GP, 18-24-1, 3.81 GAA, .888 SV%
  • Simon Daoust: 26GP, 7-13-0, 4.40 GAA, .862 SV%

The poor quality of the team in Chicoutimi makes it difficult to judge how much (if at all) Deslauriers progressed or regressed. In December, he was good enough to make a serious run at a spot on the World Junior team, being the last goalie cut in favour of Marc-Andre Fleury and David LeNeveau. Deslauriers had this to say about being cut:

"I respect their decision, but I'm disappointed," said Drouin-Deslauriers. "I'm satisfied with my camp. I did a lot of great things. Now I have to work harder if I want to come back next year."

Deslauriers had a relatively strong playoffs for Chicoutimi, but once again failed to win a single game (4GP, 0-4-0, 3.75GAA, .904 SV%).

2003-04

2003-04 started poorly for Chicoutimi (9-14-2-3), but the hiring of coach Richard Martel turned things around for the team, who finished the season with a 23-13-5-1 run. The goaltending numbers improved dramatically:

  • Deslauriers: 50GP, 21-20-6, 2.87 GAA, .916 SV%
  • Alexandre Vincent: 34GP, 11-11-1, 3.14 GAA, .909 SV%

There was quite a bit of reason for optimism in Deslauriers at this point (although there also was room for optimism in the younger Vincent, who went on to be a very fine goaltender for the Odessa Jackalopes of the Central Hockey League).

Still, there were some warning signs. Deslauriers was once again among the final cuts for the World Junior team, with Josh Harding (drafted after Deslauriers in 2002) staying on to backup Marc-Andre Fleury. Additionally, Deslauriers’ spectacular regular season didn’t carry over to the playoffs; he went 2-4 with a 4.88 GAA and .872 SV% to finish off the season with a first-round exit for the third time in three years.

2004-05

With Deslauriers turning pro in 2004-05, and with the Oilers not playing due to the NHL lockout, there was a surprising amount of media coverage of his season. OilersNation’s Robin Brownlee alone had two articles within a week of each other in September. On the 10th, Brownlee hinted that Deslauriers was tagged as the AHL starter for the coming year. It was on the 14th, however, that we get a picture of how highly the organization viewed Deslauriers:

Hands up, everybody who remembers a time when the Oilers had two prospects between the pipes packing the potential of Drouin-Deslauriers and Dubnyk, the team's first pick, 14th overall, at the Entry Draft last June. Well? "You have to go back to when we took Grant Fuhr, when you could be that confident with a young goaltender," chief scout Kevin Prendergast said. "Now, we have two." Without even one legit prospect three years ago, when depth in the crease started and ended with Tommy Salo - in the days when he could still stop pucks - Prendergast and the Oilers brass just watched the new duo stare each other down from opposite ends of the rink. Drouin-Deslauriers, 20, taken 31st overall from Chicoutimi in the 2002 Entry Draft, will be the first to arrive. He'll be the top stopper with the Edmonton Road Runners this season. (bolding mine)

I feel pretty confident saying that Brownlee wasn’t guessing when he wrote that Deslauriers was to be the starter; he was relaying what he’d heard from the organization. And as Kevin Prendergast (insanely) showed, the organization was very high on the young goaltender.

By mid-October, a different tune was being sung. Guy Flaming reported that Deslauriers was expected to split time with AHL veteran Tyler Moss and prospect Mike Morrison.

By February, Deslauriers had only played in thirteen games, and then he injured his shin in practice. He would finish the year splitting time between the AHL and ECHL. Here’s a look at the goaltending numbers from both teams:

AHL

  • Mike Morrison: 14GP, 2-5-5, 1.73 GAA, .939 SV%
  • Tyler Moss: 50GP, 24-19-4, 2.63 GAA, .906 SV%
  • Deslauriers: 22GP, 6-13-2, 2.96 GAA, .888 SV%

ECHL

  • Deslauriers: 11GP, 7-3-1, 2.32 GAA, .940 SV%
  • Mike Brodeur: 35GP, 19-15-1, 2.68 GAA, .927 SV%
  • Mike Morrison: 26GP, 13-10-2, 2.74 GAA, .924 SV%

Every goaltender did very well in Greenville (ECHL), and Deslauriers was no exception, posting stellar numbers over a short time period. His play in the AHL, however, was well back of both Tyler Moss and Mike Morrison.

The Oilers suspended the Roadrunners operations that summer, and both Scott Howson and Kevin Prendergast warned that AHL time might be difficult for Deslauriers to get. Ever the optimist, Prendergast phrased it this way:

“Every team has a high-end goaltender that they’re trying to develop and for us to throw him in and try to say that we want at least 40 games, I don’t know if we’ll get that. From a mental standpoint that’s something Jeff will have to work on and if they get into the playoffs he might be the guy they use,” he said. “That’s how it happened for Ty (Conklin) once we got into the playoffs. If it gets to the point where we’re really unhappy with the playing time Jeff’s getting we’ll just send him to the ECHL and make sure he plays every game while he’s there.”

2005-06

2005-06 was a disaster for Jeff Deslauriers. He played far less than anyone in the organization (publicly) thought he would. Deslauriers ended up playing in Hamilton, where Montreal fans were already mocking him as early as October:

Jeers go out to: - G Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, even though he's yet to play a game. The reason? The former highly touted 1st rounder was supposed to have a strangle hold on the starter's role heading into the season, but lost it to Olivier Michaud, who struggled as a backup last season...in the ECHL. Yipes.

Deslauriers wound up in the ECHL when the Oilers needed to get Ty Conklin into some AHL games, and then he blew his knee out late in the year. Let’s look at the goaltending numbers in both the AHL and ECHL:

AHL

  • Jaroslav Halak: 13GP, 7-6-0, 2.29 GAA, .927 SV%
  • Ty Conklin: 3GP, 1-2-0, 3.17 GAA, .907 SV%
  • Yann Danis: 39GP, 17-17-3, 2.97 GAA, .902 SV%
  • Deslauriers: 13GP, 4-7-0, 3.15 GAA, .897 SV%
  • Olivier Michaud: 14GP, 6-5-1, 3.29 GAA, .893 SV%
  • Cristobal Huet: 4GP, 0-4-0, 3.79 GAA, .862 SV%

ECHL

  • Mike Morrison: 9GP, 7-2-0, 2.19 GAA, .922 SV%
  • Mike Brodeur: 24GP, 14-8-2, 2.58 GAA, .916 SV%
  • Cam Ellsworth: 34GP, 22-10-1, 2.82 GAA, .902 SV%
  • Deslauriers: 6GP, 2-4-0, 3.05 GAA, .899 SV%

Despite poor numbers, Deslauriers was angry at the end of the season:

“The worst part was when I was in Hamilton and I deserved to play more games and they didn’t give it to me. That was hard because when they gave me the call I was doing my best, 100 percent each night and sometimes that wasn’t enough. Not playing like that is just hard.”

I’d guess that Deslauriers meant early in the season, when the Canadiens pushed Olivier Michaud into games despite lacklustre performances. That said, Deslaurier’s own numbers weren’t the kind that forced the coach to play him, in either the AHL or ECHL.

2006-07

2006-07 was a rebound year for Deslauriers, who finally showed that he could compete for a starting role in the AHL. The Oilers still didn’t have their own farm team, but Deslauriers was sent to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to play for the Baby Penguins, and the 22-year old finally got 40 games in at the AHL level and bypassed the ECHL entirely. The numbers:

  • Nolan Schaefer: 15GP, 9-5-0, 2.24 GAA, .914 SV%
  • Deslauriers: 40GP, 22-12-3, 2.47 GAA, .908 SV%
  • Andrew Penner: 28GP, 18-7-1, 2.91 GAA, .891 SV%
  • Devan Dubnyk: 4GP, 2-1-0, 2.94 GAA, .855 SV%

Nolan Schaefer, a 27 year old journeyman, was brought in at the trade deadline, and Deslauriers found himself on the bench for the entire playoffs

2007-08

2007-08 marked another positive year for Jeff Deslauriers. The Oilers finally had their own farm team in Springfield, and Deslauriers for the first time was a legitimate number one goaltender in the AHL and wouldn’t have to worry about being passed by a journeyman goaltender since the Oilers were by this point committed to his development.

Unfortunately, Springfield wasn’t an overly good team, although coach Kelly Buchberger did his best to get around that by emphasizing defensive play. The goaltending numbers:

  • Deslauriers: 57GP, 26-23-5, 2.90 GAA, .912 SV%
  • Devan Dubnyk: 33GP, 9-17-0, 3.12 GAA, .904 SV%

Deslauriers' numbers weren’t great, but they were good enough to be a top-twenty starter in the AHL (although he couldn’t crack the top ten in save percentage). The Oilers remained very high on the prospect, and in the summer there were persistent rumours that rather than risk exposing the now 24-year old Deslauriers to waivers the team would keep three goaltenders (Deslauriers, Mathieu Garon and Dwayne Roloson) out of training camp. Garon was the expected starter, and the Oilers were thought to be looking to trade Roloson so that Deslauriers could serve as the team’s backup.

2008-09

The Oilers did indeed break training camp with three goaltenders, and Dwayne Roloson battled with Mathieu Garon for playing time until the latter was traded to Pittsburgh mid-season. In a life or death race for the playoffs, coach Craig MacTavish understandably put development on the back-burner and played Roloson constantly; as a result, Deslauriers played only ten NHL games. He saw five games in the AHL while on a conditioning stint. The numbers:

NHL

  • Dwayne Roloson: 63GP, 28-24-9, 2.77 GAA, .915 SV%
  • Deslauriers: 10GP, 4-3-0, 3.34 GAA, .901 SV%
  • Mathieu Garon: 15GP, 6-8-0, 3.17 GAA, .895 SV%

AHL

  • Devan Dubnyk: 62GP, 18-41-2, 2.97 GAA, .906 SV%
  • Deslauriers: 5GP, 1-4-0, 2.73 GAA, .906 SV%
  • Dany Sabourin: 13GP, 5-6-2, 3.17 GAA, .904 SV%
  • Glenn Fisher: 3GP, 0-1-0, 3.00 GAA, .900 SV%

Deslauriers had some strong performances, and some weak performances, and certainly showed enough raw talent to stay in the conversation. It’s difficult to get a read on this past season; while his NHL results were mediocre and he also failed to stand out at the AHL level, he also played sparingly and on nearly all occasions had wide spurts of inactivity between starts. So far this summer, the Oilers have been hinting that Deslauriers will receive between 25 and 30 games as Nikolai Khabibulin’s backup.

It’s a pivotal year for Deslauriers: a strong performance will solidify his place in the Oilers’ plans, and justify their faith in him. It would also be a testament to Deslauriers’ mental strength after being developed in such a slip-shod fashion.

On the other hand, a weak performance by the 25-year old will likely end his time in Edmonton, and possibly pigeon-hole him as being nothing more than a #3 goalie. Devan Dubnyk is waiting in the wings, and with the benefit of a much smoother development path, he’s well ahead of where Deslauriers was at the same age.

Fortunately for Deslauriers, whatever the odds say (and make no mistake - they aren't in his favour) about a goaltender with his track record turning into a starter, it will all come down to what he does on the ice: and just being where he is today means that he’s beaten the odds before. I’m not crazy about his chances, but I can’t help but pull for the guy.

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Zamboni Driver
July 26 2009, 12:14PM
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I've always thought for both Dubnyk and JDD there is a fine line between reasons and excuses.

For Deslauriers.....I am thinking too many of the latter.

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#2 Roz
July 26 2009, 12:24PM
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Talk about getting dragged behind a tractor on a gravel road.

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#3 Archaeologuy
July 26 2009, 12:54PM
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So what youre saying is that Deslauriers is 25, but he has the legs of a 20 year old because he doesnt have the wear and tear that a regular starter has?

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#4 humantorch
July 26 2009, 01:02PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

So what youre saying is that Deslauriers is 25, but he has the legs of a 20 year old because he doesnt have the wear and tear that a regular starter has?

No, what we're saying is that the Oilers' organization doesn't have the first f**king clue how to develop a goaltender properly.

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#5 Archaeologuy
July 26 2009, 01:09PM
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@ humantorch: I just had to throw that out there because of all the times I heard that excuse regarding Roli. As if not playing games in the NHL somehow prevents the aging process.

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#6 Jonathan Willis
July 26 2009, 01:14PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

As if not playing games in the NHL somehow prevents the aging process.

DAMN!!! My fountain of youth - gone!

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#7 West Coast Oil
July 26 2009, 02:16PM
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I am thinking if Deslaurier doesnt produce by midpoint of the season he will be gone and the Oil will bring in a journeyman to shore up the tending for the remainder of the year. One thing I do like about Tambo is he believes in giving the kids a chance to prove themselves.

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#8 vern
July 26 2009, 02:16PM
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I think JDDs biggest problem is mental. I saw all his games last year and some of them he played incredible. Then on other nights he was realy fighting the puck. If he gets his chance this year and does well good for him.If he drops the ball than it will be dubniks turn for a good look. Thanks for the article Jonathan. Good look at the numbers.

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#9 MattL
July 26 2009, 02:33PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

So what youre saying is that Deslauriers is 25, but he has the legs of a 20 year old because he doesnt have the wear and tear that a regular starter has?

Ahahaha. Nice one.

I guess that means I have the legs of an 18 year-old, because I've NEVER stepped on the NHL ice. I should buy me some skates!

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#10 Robin Brownlee
July 26 2009, 02:56PM
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Jon: That's a well thought out piece. I've been a big backer of Deslauriers since watching him battle during the lockout season. While some people, as noted above, might think I'm making excuses, I'm amazed he's managed to hang in at all with the way he's been jerked around and been the victim of difficult circumstances.

Numbers aside -- not trying to get into that debate -- my read on Deslauriers is that he's not only talented enough to be an NHL starter but that he possesses the same kind of willingness to battle that's kept Roloson in the NHL these past couple of seasons. What Jeff needs is a break. Then, it's up to him to run with it. I thought it was coming last season, but Garon crapped the bed and Roloson literally willed himself back into the starter's job. With the Oilers needing every possible point, that left Deslauriers sitting and watching again.

Now, he's taking a backseat to Khabibulin. So, while I still think he's capable of being a No. 1, I'm doubting he'll get the chance, given the circumstances here.

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#11 DanMan
July 26 2009, 03:04PM
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Deslauries is a raw talent. To me, he is excellent at making the first save. Sometimes it seems like he has some difficulty recovering positionally after the first stop.

But this is a problem most, if not all, young goalies have. And the only way to improve that is to play in actual NHL games. I think in 2-3 years we will ba talking about and above average-to-good goaltender.

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#12 DanMan
July 26 2009, 03:05PM
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*Deslauriers - I always forget that pesky second r *be *an

Hat trick for the DanMan

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#13 SkinnyD
July 26 2009, 03:08PM
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Fleury was (and still can be) brutally inconsistent. But at least he got games...even if on some terrible pre-Crosby teams. Hell - he still stinks once in a while with that great team in front of him.

I think JDD's mental toughness will only get better, and he does have the physical tools. Let's raise our glasses to a good year for the lad!

Great read Jon...

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#14 Death Metal Nightmare
July 26 2009, 03:13PM
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what is it about his technique and consistency that makes him above par for the NHL beside this trend of numbers/stats?

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#15 jeanshorts
July 26 2009, 03:18PM
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SkinnyD wrote:

Fleury was (and still can be) brutally inconsistent. But at least he got games…even if on some terrible pre-Crosby teams. Hell - he still stinks once in a while with that great team in front of him.

Guarantee if the Pens would have lost out in the playoffs Fleury would be the number one target. He played well near the end, but the first couple rounds he was hit or miss on any given night.

I guess if all the pessimists get their way, Khabi will be out for at least a quarter of the season which will give JDD plenty of time to find his game.

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#16 SkinnyD
July 26 2009, 03:55PM
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Death Metal Nightmare wrote:

what is it about his technique and consistency that makes him above par for the NHL beside this trend of numbers/stats?

If you're talking about JDD - from the limited number of times I've seen him play, I do like him as a starter someday. He played well against Calgary and the S/O win against the NYR was spectacular. He just needs game experience to make or break him...all numbers aside.

My $.02 anyways.

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#17 SkinnyD
July 26 2009, 04:00PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Now, he’s taking a backseat to Khabibulin. So, while I still think he’s capable of being a No. 1, I’m doubting he’ll get the chance, given the circumstances here.

Is there an amount of games that you can use as a standard to judge what being given an honest chance is as a starter? Say, 30 games? If so, then I'd think he will get his chance, no?

Or are the length and cash in Khabibulin's contract going to prevent that - will he be the expected starter for the entire 4 years by default, instead of phasing him out as the backup to Deslauriers or Dubnyk.

Just curious...

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#18 Dallas
July 26 2009, 06:46PM
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I think we should start with khabibulin and if he falters at all then you roll with Jeff just play whoever is playing best that way you don't overwork khabby and increase the chance of injury but you still have to give Jeff 20-30 games either way

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#19 Dallas
July 26 2009, 06:50PM
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I also think the new goalie coach is going to improve Jeff ten-fold and soon Devin I am very optimistic of what our new goalie coach will do for our prospects can anyone say MASON lol

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#20 Robin Brownlee
July 26 2009, 07:12PM
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@ SkinnyD: Khabibulin, as you'd expect given his salary and experience, will get the benefit of every doubt early this season. It won't matter if Deslauriers outplays him or performs well enough in his starts to deserve more looks, the Oilers aren't going to sit Khabibulin. This isn't an open competition -- Khabibulin is the starter and Deslauriers is the back-up. It'll be that way for at least one season regardless of performance.

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#21 gdawg
July 26 2009, 08:08PM
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@ Robin Brownlee: I think 30 games would at least be a start to see if Jeff has what it takes. An article the other day said Bulin is happy with 50 or 60 games a season.

The part that seems to escape everyone is the fact that for a couple of seasons the oilers didnt have their own farm team. I think that is still hurting the team. It reminds me of when the trappers were in the PCL and every year they were pretty well the last club to snag an affiliation. Then the last MLB team was basically forced to hook up with the trap. The point is that management always seems to get a free pass on things like this. Kevin Lowe is turning out like Hugh Cambell over at the Eskimos, covered in teflon. Nothing sticks to these guys.

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#22 David S
July 26 2009, 11:19PM
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Nice read Jonathan. I'm curious to know at what point you think JDD stops being a "prospect".

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#23 MattN
July 27 2009, 08:14AM
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The Oilers have made a very clear statement about JDD. The signed a starter for 4 years. Jeff will be 29 when Khabibulans contract ends. Unless they have him on the Rollie development plan, he plainly does not have managements confidence as a starter in Edmonton in the future.

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#24 Dallas
July 27 2009, 08:19AM
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Hey I just read a blog by Dan tencer stating that grebeshkov actually took less money to stay with edm over the khl now I know that we have to be better than the K but it still feels good to hear that a player actually WANTS to play here.Good for you Denis and here's to hoping you have a faboulus year and score 50-60 points for our proud Organization

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#25 Jonathan Willis
July 27 2009, 09:14AM
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David S wrote:

Nice read Jonathan. I’m curious to know at what point you think JDD stops being a “prospect”.

Once he's an established NHL option. Or pigeon-holed as a minor-league player.

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#26 Harlie
July 27 2009, 10:15AM
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@ Dallas:

I could give two greasy smelly squirts if Grebs or anyone else likes or dislikes Edmonton over somewhere else. I only care about their on ice production. Hopefully he is Grebeshkov and not Garbagekov this year.

P.S - Play for the mob in the KHL or play for a Canadian Billionaire. I know what I would choose...

P.S.S - At least the weather couldn't be a factor for deciding between Russia and Canada

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#27 OvenChicken8
July 27 2009, 10:45AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Once he’s an established NHL option. Or pigeon-holed as a minor-league player.

Would you say at the end of the upcoming season, early on in the next or maybe even further down the road?

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#28 SkinnyD
July 27 2009, 11:03AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

@ SkinnyD: Khabibulin, as you’d expect given his salary and experience, will get the benefit of every doubt early this season. It won’t matter if Deslauriers outplays him or performs well enough in his starts to deserve more looks, the Oilers aren’t going to sit Khabibulin. This isn’t an open competition — Khabibulin is the starter and Deslauriers is the back-up. It’ll be that way for at least one season regardless of performance.

And that's probably the way it should be until he forces his way into the lineup with better play.

When are JDD's and Dubnyk's contracts up? I thought Dubnyk was on a one-year...that could also make the progress interesting.

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#29 Billy
July 27 2009, 12:37PM
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MattL wrote:

Archaeologuy wrote: So what youre saying is that Deslauriers is 25, but he has the legs of a 20 year old because he doesnt have the wear and tear that a regular starter has? Ahahaha. Nice one. I guess that means I have the legs of an 18 year-old, because I’ve NEVER stepped on the NHL ice. I should buy me some skates!

That logic doesn't wash because it would mean that I have the hockey stick of a 90 year old, but I've never had a problem getting it up when needed. ;-p

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#30 Jonathan Willis
July 27 2009, 12:53PM
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OvenChicken8 wrote:

Jonathan Willis wrote: Once he’s an established NHL option. Or pigeon-holed as a minor-league player. Would you say at the end of the upcoming season, early on in the next or maybe even further down the road?

The end of next season.

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#31 OvenChicken8
July 27 2009, 01:13PM
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@ Jonathan Willis: That's about when I was guessing. And if JDD doesn't show up you have Khabby + DD for the next year.

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#32 David S
July 27 2009, 01:22PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Once he’s an established NHL option. Or pigeon-holed as a minor-league player.

Got it. Thanks for the reply Jonathan.

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#33 oilerdiehard
July 27 2009, 04:37PM
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Well if you are going to mention the poor teams JDD played on. We should his bounce back season with WBS was on one of the best teams in the AHL.

Also I watched a lot of WBS games that season. JDD was pretty good early in the year (though so was the WBS D corps). Then he started to get inconsistent and played poor later in the year (it seems to be a re-occurring theme as a pro). He lost the starting job to AHL journeyman Nolan Schaefer fair and square. It was before the playoffs as well. Nolan became the starter not too long after arriving. It makes you wonder if they got Schaefer partly due to the decline in JDD's play that mid-season.

His season with the Falcons was a similar one. He had a great start to the year. Actually that team was pretty good and were doing well early in the season. Until massive injuries hit both the Falcons and Oilers. They were signing any warm body they could find on short notice to try out contracts to fill out the roster. So that did not help but what also happened to the Falcons is when they needed their starting goalie more than ever in the 2nd half. He completely fell apart. Young Dubnyk even took over for a stretch because JDD's play had dropped off so much.

I honestly do not quite understand why the Oil brass has such deep faith in JDD. He put up nothing but below average to average AHL numbers. Even the season he was on a very good team (in process to losing the starters job). If you look at almost any starter in the league from last season they all put up at least one .920 sv% season in the AHL. Deslauriers has not even come close to maintaining that mark but according to Prendergast he is "a blue chipper" and can not so enough times it seems. With the risky long term deal to aging, injury prone goalie the Oil just signed. I think a reliable proven back up is the bare minimum this team needs going into the season. Niittymaki signed with Tampa Bay for less than JDD makes...

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#34 MikeP
July 29 2009, 02:13AM
Trash it!
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Archaeologuy wrote: As if not playing games in the NHL somehow prevents the aging process. DAMN!!! My fountain of youth - gone!

That's OK, JW, I'm sure you're just as good an NHL goalie today as you were a decade ago.

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