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

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.

  • Hippy

    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

  • Hippy

    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.

  • Hippy

    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?

  • Hippy

    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.

  • Hippy

    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.

  • Hippy

    //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.

  • Hippy

    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?