Yesterday, the Edmonton Oilers announced that Olivier Roy has been signed to a three-year entry-level contract. The financial terms of the deal haven't yet been disclosed, but it's unlikely that the deal includes any performance bonuses, which would make Roy's cap hit $900,000 or less for the next three seasons. Roy has shown enough that this signing shouldn't be classified as poor, but there are some red flags.
With the Acadie-Bathurst Titan getting swept from the playoffs by a pretty weak squad from Victoriaville last night and Jeff Deslauriers struggling in Oklahoma, Roy may join the Barons for the rest of the season. Of course, his playoff performance with the Titan won't make any Barons' anxious to see Roy between the pipes - Roy saw action in the first three games as the team's starter, and he was pulled each time, allowing a total of twelve goals on forty-six shots for a sterling .739 save percentage. Mix that with his performance in the World Junior Championships (he lost his starting gig there too), and I doubt we'll be hearing too many arguments about how the young man is clutch.
But that's not the real problem. It's easy to dismiss a few weak games if the big picture results are strong. Unfortunately, that's not really the case. When Bruce looked at Roy earlier this season, he noticed that Roy's backup, Robert Steeves, had far superior numbers, and although the gap has closed somewhat, it still is rather large. Roy's save percentage to close the season was .905 on 1,402 shots, compared to .914 for on 649 shots for Steeves. That .905 number is also distressing because it's not an improvement on Roy's numbers from last season.
That's a couple red flags, but it's not like there isn't also some good news. When I first wrote about Roy, I mentioned some concerns about him allowing almost three more shots more per sixty minutes than his backup. This season, that trend did not continue as Roy allowed 31.1 shots per sixty minutes compared to 31.9 shots per sixty minutes for Steeves. Now, the backup is different so the comparison isn't really all that fair, but it's good to see him not get beat up for a second year in a row. In addition, Roy remains highly regarded. He was after all named Team Canada's starting goaltender (usually a sign of good things to come) at the beginning of the World Juniors, and has always been highly regarded by the scouting community (among the highest rated goaltenders by all of the major scouting organizations in his draft year). There are some flags, but goaltenders develop in an even more helter-skelter manner than other players. And so with Olivier Roy, we wait and see, and with his new contract in hand, we wait and see for at least three more years.