The Edmonton Oilers are making moves with their draft picks at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft in Dallas. This morning they traded the 71st and 133rd pick for the 62nd overall pick from the Montreal Canadiens. With that pick, the Oilers selected goaltender Olivier Rodrigue. Rodrique has played his last two seasons for the Drummondville Voltiguers since being drafted in 2016.
In the 2017-2018 season, Rodrique played 53 regular season games and 10 playoff games. His goals against average was consistent – 2.54 in the regular season and 2.50 in the playoffs. His save percentage in the regular season was a respectable 0.903. It was a bit less confidence inspiring in the playoffs, only a 0.891. However, Rodrique played over 3000 minutes for the Voltiguers, posting 31 regular season wins and 5 playoff victories.
Frist among the North American goaltenders ranked by NHL Central Scouting, Rodrique has the potential to become a highly coveted piece of the Oiler’s future. Unfortunately for Oilers fan, proclaiming him to be the solutions to the problems the Oilers face in goaltender depth is premature. And repetitive. Every draft, the Oilers have solved some sort of depth issue which somehow magically reappears in time for the next draft.
At 18, Rodrique is no doubt an elite CHL goaltender. His performance is noteworthy and bodes well for the future. His strong performance at the Ivan Hlinka tournament certainly adds depth to his resume, but it doesn’t change the fact the Rodrique is still developing. Rodrique’s game may still change, skills added or lost as he develops and grows up.
A goaltender with strong position, quick reflexes, and an active stick, Rodrique was highly ranked amount goaltender prospects for a reason. The Oilers are fortunate to have drafted such a talented young man,
The major problem for those already planning Rodrique’s future success with the Oilers is that potential doesn’t always materialize at an NHL level. The Oilers also have a well-earned reputation of rushing (or ruining) the development of young players.
Rodrique is a solid pick for the Oilers. One who has the potential to fill an organizational need… a few years in the future. The excitement around Rodrique’s future is well deserved but must be tempered with patience and understanding that some players can be worth the wait.
Next year will see a return to Drummondville of the QMJHL to further develop his skills. Rodriqgue will be looking to best last season’s 31 wins (which to be clear is impressive for a goaltender only in his second year in major junior) and prove to the Oilers faithful that he’s their future starting goalie.
But first, someone is going to have to tell him he looks panicked in his draft photo...