Oilers' Deslauriers states his case

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:18 PM ET

EDMONTON - He could be all world one game and dreadful the next, but perhaps that’s typical of a young goaltender.

Jeff Deslauriers was thrust into action this season when Nikolai Khabibulin went down for the count early in the year.

The Edmonton Oilers goaltender finished with a 16-28-4 record with a 3.26 goals against average, a .901 save percentage, and three shutouts.

“I’ve played a lot of games, a lot of minutes and I learned a lot this year,” said Deslauriers. “It’s given me a good experience for next year. We’ve had our ups and downs and came across practically every situation this year.

“As a goalie you want to be as consistent as you can. Sometimes you just have to focus on keeping things simple.”

Having been selected by the Oilers in the 2002 NHL Entry draft, it took a long time for Deslauriers to finally get an opportunity with the club.

Last season he sat on the bench most of the year getting in just 10 games.

This year he was thrown to the wolves.

“I knew I could win games in the league last year, and I’ve been able to win games in the league this year,” he said. “I was able to get my first shutout this year and I feel comfortable in different aspects of the game. As a young goalie, I know I need to improve in other areas. This summer, I’m going to work hard both on ice and off ice. I think I show I can play at this level, but I still have lots to learn and lots to improve.”

With Devan Dubnyk’s rise and Khabibulin’s impending return, the Oilers may find themselves in a three-goaltender quandary next season. Both Dubnyk and Deslauriers are restricted free agents. If they both sign, they would have to clear waivers in order to go play in the minors, meaning one may get traded before the start of next season.

“I would be disappointed for sure if I got traded,” Deslauriers said. “I started my career here and I don’t want to go anywhere. But that’s not my decision. My job was to come here and play and show them what I can do at this level. From there, they can decide what to do.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos