Whenever Dobber wants to discuss a goalie prospect, I listen to what he's saying. And after he came to me last week to discuss Sea Dogs starter and 2011 Memorial Cup Champion Jacob DeSerres, well, let's just say you'll probably want to listen as well.
FANTASY MAILBAG – MAY 30
Having not seen DeSerres play in a meaningful game since last year's Memorial Cup Finals, I told Dobber I had to catch him on NHL Network during this year's tournament before I could effectively assess his fantasy future. But over the last year, DeSerres was absent from my Top-100 Prospects Rankings after the Flyers passed on signing him last summer.
Their decision came shortly after DeSerres allowed nine goals on 53 shots for the Brandon Wheat Kings against the destined Windsor Spitfires in the 2010 Memorial Cup Finals. One year later, however, DeSerres had a chance to re-write the unsettling storyline after posting a 12-3-0 record, a 2.00 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage in the QMJHL playoffs.
That playoff run culminated with a hard-fought Game 6 victory over Gatineau in the QMJHL Finals, one that presented DeSerres with a chance at sweet redemption. And to think, there was actually a time last summer when Jacob was forced to contemplate his goaltending future.
And what came of that, exactly? A new, refocused approach through an entire summer spent in Vancouver training with his goalie coach, Paul Fricker. Well known for working with and developing Calvin and Chet Pickard, Fricker is one of the most recognized goalie coaches in the Pacific Northwest region.
And as you'll see from my scouting notes below, DeSerres' style has a lot of similarities to Calvin's.
JACOB DESERRES: Very aggressive positioning in regards to depth … His heels rest on the tip of the crease on faceoffs … Balance point is up on his toes, giving him an active appearance … Plays a patient and calm butterfly style with a very straight back … Quiet and confident demeanor in the net … Very loose Reebok pads do not always seal the ice effectively … Does not have a deep crouch and stays very upright … Does not move or execute very consistently … Has a lot of minor and excess foot movements, but a very calm and steady upper body … Likes to challenge shooters outside of the crease whenever possible … Keeps both hands very tight to his hips and back near his body … Showed numerous visible signs of quality puck-tracking skills … Read plays very well and is finding pucks through traffic … Great job killing penalties and absorbing shots that arrived on goal from waist-high through traffic … Was way too aggressive on the goal scored by Riley Brace in the second period … Displayed a lot of maturity through controlled emotions and stick-to-itiveness during a late push in the second period by St. Michael's … Will remind you of another Fricker student, Calvin Pickard, in regards to stance, glove placement and calm butterfly … Made three timely, momentum-crushing saves on Chris DeSousa … Appeared tense and less controlled early in the third period … Calmed his nerves and made a handful of timely, razor-sharp saves in the final minutes of the third period to claim the Memorial Cup Trophy
With last year's Memorial Cup nightmare still in the back of his mind, I knew DeSerres would play with plenty of urgency and alertness. He displayed exactly that in the first period when he made a highlight-reel right-toe save on Chris DeSousa's rebound chance to keep the Sea Dogs' 1-0 lead intact.