Finding a Stable Home
1 year ago
The path of becoming a consistent starter at the professional level hasn’t come easy for Olivier Rodrigue. The 62nd overall pick from the 2018 NHL Draft has struggled to find a regular rhythm within the organization for many reasons. Now, he faces the challenge of performing with the end of his contract looming.
Rodrigue has struggled to find consistency not only in his game but also in his home. In his three years of being a pro, he’s played for three different teams: the Graz99ers, Bakersfield Condors, and Witchia Thunder along with the Oilers taxi squad. It doesn’t matter the player, the unfamiliarity and constant moving around can absolutely affect your game. As a junior player, Rodrigue spent the majority of his time with the Drummondville Voltigeurs and because of the consistency he was one of the better goaltenders in the CHL.
“The past couple of years have been hard with COVID,” Rodrigue admitted on OilersTV. “Travelling back and forth between the ECHL, AHL and even being on the taxi squad too hasn’t given me time to settle.”
The movement around the organization wasn’t necessarily anybody’s fault. With injuries to Mike Smith in Edmonton, Stuart Skinner made his way to the NHL which left an open spot for Rodrigue. Then, of course, when Skinner came back to the Condors, Rodrigue’s place disappeared and he was sent him back to the ECHL. In January, when Skinner was in Edmonton Rodrigue took the reigns with the Condors and won four straight games. He had a 2.25 goals against average along with a 0.920 save percentage showcasing what he can do when given consistent chances. Those wins weren’t enough to keep his job in Bakersfield and, after being sent back to the ECHL, he suffered a concussion.
The movement clearly damaged his game and led to him having his worse season as a pro. Now, while there is a battle for the two jobs in Bakersfield between himself Cal Pickard and Ryan Fanti, Rodrigue should start the season with the Condors. Perhaps that assurance of starting in the AHL can help elevate his game back to the level the team expected when they drafted him.
“I am confident in my game,” said Rodrigue. “I am going to push for my spot in Bakersfield maybe number one or maybe number two.”
There’s no denying this is a big season for Rodrigue. If he can find consistency back in his game and a stable home within the organization then who knows, perhaps the team has another Stuart Skinner situation on their hands. Until then, what we do know is that the team has three goaltenders battling for a spot in Bakersfield. Whether it’s Rodrigue or not, this is a season that could define his career with the Edmonton Oilers.
- When: On Thursday, January 12th, we’re jumping on a flight at the Edmonton International Airport and making our way to Vegas. On Sunday evening, we’ll fly back from Vegas to Edmonton. So the dates that you need to block off for this trip are January 12th to 15th.
- Where we’re staying: After landing in LV, we’ll jump on the free shuttle and make our way to the Park MGM before settling in for a good night’s sleep. 😉
- What you get: Your roundtrip flight, hotel, shuttle, viewing party (Friday night), game entry — we got seats this time (Saturday night), and exclusive entry into our pre-trip ‘get to know everyone’ event.
- How Much: The total cost for the trip, flight, hotel, and entry to the game is $1499 per person (based on double occupancy)
- Tickets: Ready to dive in? Click this link.
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