Background and History
Drafted in June 2018, Olivier Rodrigue makes his first appearance on the Copper and Blue Top 25 Under 25 in the 22nd position. Picked 62nd overall by the Oilers in the most recent draft, Rodrigue was Central Scouting’s top ranked North American goaltender. In fact, the Oilers traded up to select Rodrigue.
Rodrigue has spent the last two seasons with the Drummondville Voltiguers with stints for team Canada and the U-17 and U-18 levels in the last two years. With a 0.903 save percentage and a 2.54 goals against average in just over 3000 minutes played, Rogridgue is one of the most exciting young goaltenders in the QMJHL. Already having made his mark – playing the third most minutes last season and having the second most wins (31 out of 53 starts), Rodrigue is one of those goalie prospects that teams and fans alike get excited about. His statistics dipped a bit in the playoffs, but joke about the Oilers and playoffs goes here. All joking aside, the Oilers will be watching to see how Rodrigue handles pressure in the coming year.
Here at Copper and Blue, we’re a little bit divided on Rodrigue. His ranking varies from 20 at the highest to 32 at the lowest. Goaltenders tend to have a greater spread in their rankings, and just being drafted means that Rodrigue is still has quite a bit of developing to do making him somewhat of a wildcard in our rankings.
Why He Made the List
There are several reasons Rodrigue made the list. First, his numbers in the QMJHL are strong. Having only played two seasons, Rodrigue has played the majority of the games in each season. A starting goaltender in his rookie year in major junior is fairly impressive feat to manage. To do so and manage fairly strong numbers in his second season is a plus. That’s not to say that Rodrique doesn’t have areas to improve, just that he has had a good start.
Second, Rodrigue is reported as being a calm goaltender who limits second and third chances. He’s quick and capable of making some amazing saves. In his scouting reports, Rodrigue’s reflexes, rebound control and post to post quickness were noted as being exceptional. The Oilers could use a goaltender that controls rebounds. While Rodrigue is a part of the Oilers future, the idea of a controlled goaltender who complements the defensive options the Oilers have brought in is an attractive one.
Third, having just turned 18 the Oilers have time to develop Rodrigue. He’s a capable CHL level goalie right now with the potential to become a capable NHL level goalie. The Oilers added a goaltender and goaltending prospects in the lead up to the 2018 NHL Entry Draft or through trades at the Draft, allowing them some wiggle room when it comes to developing their newest prospect. The urgency Oilers fans felt at the end of the season has diminished somewhat. Rodrigue’s age also means the Oilers can wait to see how Rodrique continues to develop at a major junior level and if Rodrigue finds success with Team Canada in the U-20 category.
Why He Made the List at 22
It’s probably been mentioned a time or two, but Rodrigue is young and unproven. Also the development of goaltenders is a difficult and challenging business. For all that Rodrique shows multiple signs of having the potential to be a strong NHL goaltender, it may never happen. Or it may not happen at the elite level with the Oilers organization. Can anyone say Devan Dubnyk?
With not a lot to go on, ranking Rodrique in higher than about 20th seems like a projection of hopes and dreams. Heck, some here at Copper and Blue would probably say even 20th is a projection of hopes and dreams… As Rodrique develops it will be easier to project his ceiling and evaluate if it fits with the Oilers organization. If Rodrigue is truly going to be a starting goaltender for the Oilers, he will need to take a step forward in the coming year, continuing to build on his major junior performance so far.