Coming in at number 20 on our T25U25 list, is netminder Olivier Rodrigue. In the fan vote, Rodrigue did slightly better than he did in our staff vote, placing 16th.
However, I would argue that it’s irrelevant exactly where Rodrigue falls in this list compared to forwards and defencemen, because goalies should be looked at in their own category. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that both fans and our staff agree that Rodrigue is the number three goalie prospect in the Oilers’ organization.
Rodrigue was drafted by the Oilers in the the 2nd round (62nd overall) of the 2018 NHL entry draft. He is both the highest drafted, and youngest of the Oilers’ big three goaltending prospects.
According to Rodrigue’s Elite Prospects page, his ISS Hockey scouting profile from 2017 describes him as an “ Athletic butterfly goalie capable of highlight-reel saves due to his quickness”.
Given his scouting report, it’s no wonder why the Oilers had no problem using a second round pick on the 6’1’’, 170lb Rodrigue. He has the physical tools required to become a top-flight big league goalie.
Statistically speaking, Rodrigue’s pedigree is good, but not great. Keep in mind that he came up through the high-scoring QMJHL, but Rodrigue struggled to crack the .900 mark in save %, until his final CHL season.
In 2016-17, Rodrigued managed to hold down the starting job for the Drummondville Voltigeurs as a 16-year-old, which is impressive. However, in 41 regular season games that year, he sported a .878 save percentage.
Rodrigued did, however, make a large stride forward in his final season prior to draft eligibility, lowering his Goals Against Average by more than one goal per game (3.60 to 2.54), and raising his save % to .903 in 2017-18.
After being drafted by the Oilers, Rodrigue returned to the Voltigeurs as an 18-year old in 2018-19, and posted a pedestrian .902 save %.
Rodrigue did make one more stride forward in junior, raising his save % significantly to .918 as a 19 year old, after being traded to the Moncton Wildcats for his final QMJHL season.
Since then, like many NHL prospects, Rodrigue hasn’t played as much hockey as I’m sure the Oilers would have liked.
Last season, Rodrigue played 23 games on loan to a team in Austria’s top tier hockey league, as well as 11 games for the Bakersfield Condors.
It’s too early to tell how Rodrigue will do as an AHL goaltender. The early returns are fine, though not spectacular (.894 save % in 11 games).
It will be interesting to keep tabs on his development, and see if he can jockey his way into the conversation as the Oilers’ goaltender of the future. The tools are there, but it would be irresponsible to project such lofty expectations on a goaltender with his current track record.