FRISCO, Tex. — A year of professional experience can make a big difference.
Last July Philippe Desrosiers was a green goaltending prospect at the Dallas Stars Development Camp. He was technically sound, but didn’t control rebounds well and was sometimes caught cheating for the pass in certain game situations.
Watching him play this past week at the 2016 edition of development camp, it’s clear Desrosiers has remedied those issues after a rookie season split between the AHL’s Texas Stars and the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads.
Throughout the camp Desrosiers looked like a veteran goaltender. He controlled rebounds well, was positionally sound. He was rarely out of position, but showed off his athleticism when it was needed to make a diving or desperation stop.
“I have one year pro under my belt, so it’s more easy this year,” Desrosiers said. “I know what to expect. It’s less stressful, so it’s up to me to be the number one guy.”
Desrosier is also healthier than he was last year. The 20-year-old goalie has dealt with a hernia issue and had off-season surgery to remedy the problem.
“I’ve had it for five years, and I was just playing through it,” he said. “It wasn’t too bad. But now it’s done and I am really 100 percent.”
And at 100 percent, Desrosiers is the top-ranked goaltending prospect in the Stars system. He was taken in the second round (54th overall) in the 2013 draft as the heir apparent to Jack Campbell as the goalie of the future.
The Stars punted on Campbell this off-season, trading the former first-round pick to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Nick Ebert, giving Desrosiers top billing as “goalie of the future.”
“I like that, Jack was always really helpful to me and he’s a great guy, real great guy,” Desrosiers said. “There are a lot of things we can’t control, you know, so I’m just focussed on what I can control right now.”
Desrosiers is hoping to parlay his showing at development camp into a starting job with the Texas Stars. Texas is going to have a three-way goalie competition this fall between Desrosiers, Maxime Lagace, and Landon Bow.
Lagace is the incumbent starter after he appeared in 36 games last season, rising from a relative unknown undrafted free agent to legitimate AHL starter. Bow is an AHL-contracted goalie Texas signed out of the WHL and was also participating in development camp this week. (Bow happened to impress at development camp and proved he could be a viable AHL option, especially with his 6’5″ frame).
“It’s good, you have to compete, right?” Desrosiers, who has supreme confidence, said. “I know they have a plan for me, and I’m going to do my part to be the No. 1 guy in Austin.”
It’s just a start, but Desrosiers was clearly the No. 1 guy in Saturday’s scrimmage to close out development camp. In that showcase Desrosiers made several sharp saves, and continued to impress Texas Stars coach Derek Laxdal, who was on hand this week for the development camp.