Top 25 Under 25 - #18 Olivier Roy

Rick Stewart

Much like his current status in the Oilers' development system, once again Oliver Roy finds himself one step ahead of the fast charging Tyler Bunz.

While Bunz, who was profiled very nicely by dawgbone98 yesterday here, continues to do everything you can ask of a goaltending prospect in the role he's been given, the same can be said for Roy, which is why he certainly deserves to be right in the same range on this list as his fellow goaltending prospect.

After the jump, we'll take a look at what Olivier Roy is doing right to make him the top ranked goaltending prospect in the organization.

Rank Player DOB Drafted Year Alan
Ben
Bruce DB Derek Jon Ryan Scott
18 Oliver Roy 07/12/91
133 2009
16 14 20 13 17 18 24 27


As is typical with the evaluation of goaltending prospects, the rankings are all over the map.

While Roy's ranking hasn't changed since the last time we assessed the organization's youngest players, that should not serve as an indication that he has not shown any progression. Among our panel, Roy has made a significant climb up the rankings of dawgone, Derek and Jonathan. While there can be many external factors for that, his strong performance this season is certainly a part of the reason. As has been the Oilers' standard practice with goaltending prospects in recent years (most recently with Devan Dubnyk) Roy's first professional season was spent in the ECHL with the Stockton Thunder.

As the panelist who ranked Roy the highest, when asked, dawgbone offered the following comment in support of his decision to rate Roy so highly:

All you can ask your developing goaltenders to do is to stop pucks in the league you placed them. Olivier Roy did exactly that for the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL. His .925 sv% in the regular season was 4th best in the league, and first amongst goaltenders with 30+ games played. Despite moving up to a much tougher league, Olivier Roy once again improved his save percentage for the 4th straight year. Sure, goalies are erratic and you need to dabble in the black arts in order to even attempt to track their developmental curve, but Roy had a fine season and arguably the best rookie pro season in the organization behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

I think one point in there cannot go under-stated...despite moving up to a professional league and facing a tougher challenge all season, Roy's performance (in terms of save percentage) improved again, and for the 4th straight season overall. Here is a look at his save percentages over the last five seasons:

Year League Save %
07/08 QMJHL .896%
08/09 QMJHL .905%
09/10 QMJHL .908%
10/11 QMJHL .911%
11/12 ECHL .925%

His Sv% made its largest single season jump of any point in his career in 2011/12 and he accomplished this while stepping up to a higher calibre league. As DB stated, I think that classifies as "doing everything asked of you". Still, not everyone on our panel is willing to acknowledge the steps forward taken by Roy this season as being indicative of strong future potential. Scott offered the following regarding his decision to rank Roy the lowest of anyone from C&B:
Yesterday, Dawgbone suggested that "a solid year in the ECHL will go a long way to quelling the fears of Tyler Bunz's doubters." Well not this doubter! The ECHL is still a very long way from the NHL. For instance, here are the top five goalies by save percentage (min. 10 GP) in their Draft +3 season since the 2000-01 season: Frederic Cloutier (.945 in 2001-02), Jeff Deslauriers (.940 in 2004-05), Cedrick Desjardins (.934 in 2007-08), Kevin Lalande (.932 in 2007-08), and Jaroslav Halak (.932 in 2005-06). It's encouraging to see Halak there, and three of the five have played at least one NHL game, but it's not like being wildly successful in the ECHL at a young age was a sign of sure NHL success. I'll take success ahead of failure of course, and the ECHL is a step up from juniors. Put that together and you've got my reasoning for pushing Roy pretty far down the list but still giving him the nod over Bunz.
While I accept Scott's critique as a necessary dose or realism, I'd like to add that the decision to play goaltending prospects in the ECHL is frequently not a commentary on a goaltender's abilities, but rather a function of organizational depth and a managerial decision on where a prospect can get an appropriate level of playing time. Some teams fast track goaltending prospects directly to the AHL, other prospects play in Europe before coming over to North America...there are many paths prospects can take to reach the NHL and while comparing those who followed a similar path is a worthwhile exercise, I am hesitant to place too much emphasis on this comparison because the player's very presence in the league is not necessarily related to their previous performance as much as what other players are currently employed by the organization. We all understand at this point that the development curve of a goaltender is nearly impossible to predict but being among the best netminders in the league they have been told to play in is pretty much all a player can do in a given season.

Both Roy and Bunz will both need to continue proving themselves again next season as both will take another step up in competition. If Roy wants to move beyond his 19th place ranking and stay ahead of Tyler Bunz, he had best be prepared to continue the upward trajectory of his save percentage numbers while splitting the crease with Yann Danis in Oklahoma City this fall.

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