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Pet Peeves: The Enigma Wrapped Within A Mystery That Is Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers


There are some recurring themes that drive me nuts.  One of them is spelled out in today's Edmonton Journal:

In short, [Khabibulin will] get the bulk of the games, but the Oilers will finally be able to gauge the progress of Jeff Deslauriers, who can now be slotted in for 20-to-25 starts.

Everyone discusses Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers as though he were some sort of mystery; a shady character with a deep and unknown past and limitless potential.  This is not the case.

Jeff Deslauriers was drafted by the Oilers in 2002.  For those of you keeping track, that's seven years ago now.  Wars have been fought in that length of time.  At one point in time, Rome went through five emperors in seven years.  Anyway, let's move past that.

Deslauriers turned professional two years later, in 2004.  Let's take a look at his professional career, one year at a time:

  • 2004-05 (AHL): 22GP, 6-13-2, 2.96 GAA, .888 SV%
  • 2004-05 (ECHL): 11GP, 7-3-1, 2.32 GAA, .940 SV%
  • 2005-06 (AHL): 13GP, 4-7-0, 3.15 GAA, .897 SV%
  • 2005-06 (ECHL): 6GP, 2-4-0, 3.05 GAA, .899 SV%
  • 2006-07 (AHL): 40GP, 22-12-3, 2.47 GAA, .908 SV%
  • 2007-08 (AHL): 57GP, 26-23-5, 2.90 GAA, .912 SV%
  • 2008-09 (NHL): 10GP, 4-3-0, 3.34 GAA, .901 SV%
  • 2008-09 (AHL): 5GP, 1-4-0, 2.73 GAA, .906 SV%

Deslauriers has played 164 games as a professional over five seasons.  In his best season, he put up a .912 SV% over 57 games.  Let's pretend for a moment that the 25 year old has an average finish of .912 SV%, and see how that ranked in the AHL this past season (only goalies with more than 30 games considered):

  1. Cory Schneider: .928 SV%
  2. Nathan Lawson: .927 SV%
  3. Brian Elliott: .926 SV%
  4. Scott Munroe: .926 SV%
  5. Mark Dekanich: .923 SV%
  6. Drew MacIntyre: .921 SV%
  7. Mike Brodeur: .921 SV%
  8. Jeff Frazee: .920 SV%
  9. Matt Zaba: .920 SV%
  10. Marc Denis: .920 SV%
  11. Cedrick Desjardins: .919 SV%
  12. Corey Crawford: .917 SV%  
  13. John Curry: .916 SV%
  14. Jimmy Howard: .916 SV%
  15. Tuukka Rask: .915 SV%
  16. Tyler Weiman: .915 SV%
  17. Jhonas Enroth: .914 SV%
  18. Ondrej Pavelec: .914 SV%
  19. Jonathan Bernier: .914 SV%
  20. Antti Niemi: .913 SV%
  21. Dan Lacosta: .913 SV%
  22. Leland Irving: .912 SV%

So, in his very best AHL season, Jeff Deslauriers was an average starting goaltender.  In the last four years, his .912 SV% couldn't crack the top-ten in the AHL in any season.

None of this means that he won't play in the NHL; I'm of the opinion that year over year there really isn't a world of difference between most NHL backups and most AHL starters - based on the long list of players to bounce between the two leagues (as we saw this year with Curtis Sanford and Dany Sabourin).  What it does mean is that based on his extensive track record as a professional, he's probably not much more than an average backup.

Which is fine, but I wish people would stop pretending like the 25-year old is suddenly going to turn into a top-15 starter in the NHL.  Maybe he turns into a 1A goaltender someday, but he's shown a lot and none of it indicates that he's going to suddenly be able to handle a starting gig.