Saturday, September 1, 2007

Rollie the Goalie Has Company

You can't blame Dwayne Roloson for the Oiler's woes last season. The Oilers started to build for the future once management realized they were out of it, and as a result, traded away their leader, Ryan Smyth. Roloson played a lot of games last season, 68 to be exact, and looked a little tired at times. Roloson is getting older and may need more breaks to stay sharp throughout the season. Oilers management picked up on that, then went out and signed 29-year-old ex-King Mathieu Garon. Garon is out to prove he can be a starter after a few sub-par seasons in LA. Look for there to be more of a battle than expected for playing time come training camp, as I believe that Garon can and will make a push for the starting role. If Roloson gives way to Garon for over 20 games, he will improve on his stats from last season. Also, having some competition in Garon may force Roloson to work a little harder, because there's nothing better than a little healthy competition to get a goaltender going.

Edmonton's prospects have found another new home in the AHL, moving over to Springfield this season. The two goalies that should be there come opening day are Jeff Deslauriers who played in 40 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton last season, and Devan Dubnyk who played for Stockton of the ECHL. The lack of an AHL affiliate for the Edmonton Oilers stunted Deslauriers' development, as he bounced around with the Edmonton Roadrunners, Greenville Grrrowl, Hamilton Bulldogs, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins all in his first 3 years of pro hockey. Hopefully having a solid spot in Springfield will let Deslauriers play some more games, and develop faster. He's already 23-years-old and needs to make an impression, quick. Devan Dubnyk was a hot prospect coming out of the WHL's Kamloops Blazers, getting drafted 14th overall in 2004 added to people's anticipation, but the lack of an AHL farm team has stunted his development as well. He was stuck playing for the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL last season. As you can imagine, he had a great season and was named to the all-star team. He moves extremely well, and you can't argue about his size, at 6'5 he takes up a lot of net. Although he did get called up for a 4 game stint in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, he spent almost all season in the ECHL. He will most likely compete with Deslauriers for the starting job in Springfield this upcoming season. Look for Dwayne Roloson to play less games this year in Edmonton, as mathieu Garon should be able to handle more games than Jussi Markanen could, and watch for an AHL starting role battle between Jeff Deslauriers, and Devan Dubnyk.


Bonnie said...

Garon was a stud last night against the Flames...made some critical saves. I love Rollie, and hope Garon can be a great backup for him, but I hope Rollie keeps the starter position.