Olivier Roy is probably more famous so far for his meltdowns than he is for his actual ability to play goal. He got shelled in the 2011 Tournament of small sample sizes and he was obliterated in his pair of playoff starts in the QMJHL later on that spring. As a player, you can sort of escape from a couple of bad games without too much flak. As a goaltender, that label is going to hang on you for a while, especially when you do it on the stage that Roy did it.
As with all prospects, you want to see improvement year after year. Olivier Roy, despite his blow-ups, has managed to keep improving his save percentage, including in a season where he moved up to a higher calibre league. His save percentage has made a slow but steady climb each season before making a big jump this year:
- 2007-08 QMJHL .896
- 2008-09 QMJHL .905
- 2009-10 QMJHL .908
- 2010-11 QMJHL .911
- 2011-12 ECHL .919
That .919 is good enough to be tied for 7th overall, but if you exclude the guys with less than 20 GP he moves up to 5th. It’s been a good developmental year for Roy as he’s been able to get in a fair amount of games and also seen a fair amount of shots (he’s 2nd in the league in shots against per game). When looking at a goaltenders numbers, looking at his backup can be helpful in figuring out how much of his numbers are ability and how much is driven by the team. His current backup, Thomas Heemskerk, has posted a .894 save percentage up to this point, which is well behind Roy’s.
The one critique that has always come up when evaluating Olivier Roy is that he’s a bit predictable in that he basically goes down on every single shot. It’s one thing to do that when you are a taller goalie (like 6-5 Devan Dubnyk), but as a shorter goaltender you can run into troubles. If you remember the Sweden game in the 2011 WJHC, Roy gave up a couple of goals from bad angles that beat him up high. I understand the philosophy behind the butterfly/blocking style, but Roy needs to be a bit smarter in recognizing when he doesn’t have to go down.
Roy is tracking well and is in fact at about the same pace as Devan Dubnyk was at the same age (DD posted a .921 in the ECHL in his 20 year old season). The Oilers have really done a smart job in recent years at using the ECHL to get their young goalie prospects a lot of starts. It’s enabled them to separate the wheat (Dubnyk) from the chaff (Pitton, Perugini), and Roy is starting to look like the former.
What they’re saying:
Ryan "Goalie Hater" Batty (27th):
In his first season as a pro Roy is posting a save percentage that ranks him in the top half of his ECHL competitors. That's a good thing. But the development curve of any goalie is so erratic that it also means next to nothing. Until he spends some time in the AHL I just can't make a confident statement about his value as a prospect.