What to Expect from Cedrick Desjardins
The Tampa Bay Lightning recalled goaltender Cedrick Desjardins from the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League, vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman announced today.
Desjardins, 27, has appeared in 28 AHL games this season with the Syracuse Crunch and Hamilton Bulldogs, compiling a record of 11-5-2 with a 2.70 goals-against average and .910 save percentage. Since being acquired from the Montreal Canadiens on February 14, Desjardins has notched a record of 4-2-0 with a 1.85 goals-against average and .928 save percentage including two shutouts with Syracuse. The 6-foot, 192-pound goaltender posted back-to-back shutouts with the Crunch on February 23 and 24. He ranks tied for fifth in the AHL in shutouts.
The Edmundston, New Brunswick, native has played in two career NHL games, both with the Lightning during the 2010-11 season, picking up a pair of victories while recording a 1.00 goals-against average and .968 save percentage.
What to expect from Desjardins:
Guy Boucher often talks of compete-levels, and there aren’t many goalies out there above Desjardins’ in that category.
Desjardins doesn’t give up many bad goals, never gives up on a shot, and has the athletic ability to give him a chance on every opportunity. Flexibility and agility are among Desjardins’ primary strengths, as is his approach to the position – aggressive.
Desjardins plays percentages and eliminates the bottom half of the net. He plays with the paddle down in traffic and when the puck is deep in his zone – more than most goalies. That strategy and his athletic ability and compete-level have made him a success at the minor league level.
It’s often said that one of the biggest differences between the AHL and NHL is shooters’ abilities to consistently hit the top of the net. If they can do it whenever called upon, they’re in the NHL. Desjardins, who lacks ideal size for a goalie at 5-11/6-0, will be susceptible in this area moving forward at the game’s highest level – especially when there’s traffic and he’s in his crouch.
At the least, he will energize the Lightning with his style of play and be entertaining to watch. He’s a smart goaltender who will need to tap every bit of his experience to make the adjustment to the NHL level.
Justin Goldman, who runs thegoalieguild.com, is a longtime follower of Desjardins and posted the following during Desjardins run with the Lightning in 2010:
“In what was a very impressive debut and victory against the Canadiens, Desjardins displayed a number of positive technical elements that leads me to believe he has a bright future in the NHL. His energetic attitude and presence in the crease makes him a true catalyst for the Lightning. He’s an energetic read-and-react goalie that relies on his quickness and agility to make tough saves look easy. He’s extremely flexible and has very active hands and quick feet. This quality foot speed allows him to scramble very effectively and push effectively, both low to high and laterally as well.?… ?Although very few weaknesses were revealed in his NHL debut, Desjardins will need to work on limiting and economizing his footwork and movements as time goes on. This will go a long way in making him even more durable at the highest possible level and help with areas such as rebound control and absorbing shots on deflected, re-directed and tipped shots.”
Desjardins is an unrestricted free agent as season's end, so he's playing for his NHL life in the present and future. His best case scenario is he gets his chance for the Lightning now and makes decisions easy for the Lightning. Realistically, he could cement himself into the conversation next year for the 1-B position with Lindback with Garon potentially leaving as an unrestricted free agent. Guy Boucher is president of the Cedrick Desjardins Fan Club, so he's got the coach - if he's still the coach - in his corner.