Saturday, October 4, 2008

Deslauriers Dazzles

Last night vs. Calgary, Jeff Deslauriers was sensational. Okay so the first goal was one that should only be scored on me, but other than that, he looked every bit like an NHL goalie. Now before we carve his name into a locker room stall, there will have to be a few more games like this, but it has to be pointed out how good he was.

The Oilers took 5 straight penalties, giving the Flames an eternity on the power play. Spending half the period with the man advantage allowed Calgary to pepper Deslauriers with 24 shots. In my book it's pretty impressive when you face that much pp time, that much rubber and only get scored on once.

Like I said, earlier, I'd like to see more from Deslauriers, but if he's even half as good as he was last night, he would seem to be ready for the back up spot. I thought he was nervous against Florida last week, but played okay. Obviously the Oilers don't want to carry 3 netminders, and most of the talk surrounding a solution is putting Deslauriers on waivers in hopes of sending him to Springfield. The danger obviously is losing him to another team. But if he has games like last night in him, could you not put Dwayne Roloson on waivers? Chicago just did it with the Bulin Wall. Roloson would likely clear waivers, and could get claimed on his way back up for half price by another team. This might have to happen if the Oilers are in a situation where they need to call someone up.

For this to happen the Oilers have to confident that Deslauriers is ready to play 15-20 times a season. Last year he played 57 games, put up 26 wins and a 2.90 goals against average. That's a far cry from his earlier numbers as a pro when the Oilers didn't have a dedicated farm team. In his first year of pro, he suited up just 22 times with the Edmonton Road Runners and spent time in the ECHL. The next year was even worse, seeing action only 13 times when the Oilers shared an affiliate with Montreal in Hamilton. Since then he played a ton last year and 40 games the season before that. Some thought Deslauriers was a write off, maybe now those same people will realize that sometimes all it takes is playing time and patience for a prospect to become an NHLer. Is Deslauriers ready for that? Time will tell, but last night it looked that way.

Speaking of guys getting sent to the minors, a couple of interesting moves were made yesterday. Anaheim sent Bobby Ryan to Iowa of the AHL. The 2nd overall pick in 2005, behind Sidney Crosby, was a 1.75 million dollar cap hit for the Ducks if he stayed up, and it would have put them slightly over the cap. But from what I've heard Ryan didn't blow the doors off management in training camp either, and in fact was even rumoured to be in 3 way deal with Toronto and Vancouver that would have landed him out west. According to the L.A. Times, Brian Burke says he promised Ryan he would call him back up if he dominates in the AHL, otherwise he'd be willing to trade him. I don't think Kevin Lowe will make an offer.

Also the Philadelphia Flyers have sent Claude Giroux down the hall to the Phantoms. So much for the new french connection line of Giroux, Simon Gagne, and Daniel Briere. Lastly, the Carolina Hurricanes have signed 2008 first round pick Zach Boychuk to a 3 year entry level deal. Like Josh Bailey did, Boychuk signed the deal on his birthday today. It's worth almost $780,000 per year. The 14th overall pick from last June had surgery to repair a broken bone in his wrist last July, and had a pin removed recently. Boychuk should return to Lethbridge soon and help the Hurricanes who are off to a pedestrian 3-2 start without Boychuk and fellow first rounder Luca Sbisa on the blueline.

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