There are three Dallas Stars goaltending prospects attending development camp in Frisco. I had a chance to talk to Stars goaltending coach Mike Valley about the three – Philippe Desrosiers, Henri Kiviaho and Maxime Lagace.
Here’s some brief background on the prospects and Valley’s comments.
Philippe Desrosiers: 2nd round pick (54th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft
Desrosiers, who is listed at 6-1, 182 pounds, played with Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season, posting a 22-8-5 record, 3.07 goals against average and .900 save percentage. The 17-year-old helped lead Canada to a gold medal at the 2013 U18 World Championship, posting a 5-0 record, 0.80 goals against average and .970 save percentage. Desrosiers is expected to play for Rimouski again next season.
Mike Valley on Desrosiers: “He’s a guy that I’ve watched a little bit on video, but I’ve never seen in person or spoken to him. Fantastic kid, really good kid. I think he is one of the youngest guys out here, he’s 17-years-old. Phenomenal with the stick, great puckhandler. Really good control, systematically and technically he’s really, really strong. There’s a lot to like about him. I was just upstairs talking to Les (Jackson, assistant GM), saying what a great job drafting this guy. A lot of goalie coaches I’ve talked to around the league feel he was one of the best guys, and they all felt we got a really good guy here. After spending the last couple days with him, I can certainly agree that we got a good one.”
Henri Kiviaho: 5th round pick (144th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft
Kiviaho, 19, played with KalPa in Finnish junior hockey last season, posting a 16-15 record, 2.66 goals against average and .904 save percentage. Kiviaho, who is listed at 6-4, 192 pounds, is expected to play with KalPa in Finland’s top league, the SM-Liiga, next season.
Mike Valley on Kiviaho: “I think we are going to look at him in three or four years and people are going to wonder how we got this guy in the fifth round. He’s explosive. He’s got a little bit of the qualities of [Kari] Lehtonen in him and a little bit of [Antti] Niemi, as weird as that sounds. He battles like there is no tomorrow, absolutely is disgusted with himself when he gets scored on. He’s a really quick learner. You go in and tell him something, he kind of nods his head and incorporates it into his game. There’s a lot of great stuff with him. The first day he comes over and he says it’s a little different, different angles and so forth because he’s used to a bigger ice surface, but he is certainly a guy we are all going to be pleased we got in a late round. Last year he played in juniors and this year he is going to step up and play in the top league in Finland. That’s phenomenal for him because all of a sudden you are playing with men – it will be as if he is playing in the American League – so his developmental curve will go way up.”
Maxime Lagace: Free agent signing (July 2012)
Lagace played with PEI of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey last season. He played in 33 games, posting a 13-12-1 record, 4.05 goals against average and .869 save percentage. The 20-year-old Lagace, who is listed at 6-2, 180 pounds, was traded from PEI to Cape Breton within the QMJHL last month. Lagace’s numbers, which weren’t good last season, raise the question of how much stock you should put in a goalies stats in juniors.
Mike Valley on Lagace: “It’s going to give you a little bit of perspective, but you can’t be blinded by numbers. Juniors is such a different animal. You look at the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, it is an offensive hockey league. I look at Max Lagace because his numbers weren’t great at all. He lost some confidence last season and will admit he can play better. But when I see him here in camp and see his composure and see how much he has developed from last year, again, there is another kid there is a lot to like about. He’ll go back to juniors this year. He’s been traded (from PEI to Cape Breton) and he’s going to play a lot of games and a lot of hockey and will have another year to develop before we introduce him to pro hockey. There are a lot of positives in his game. He’s got a little bit of that Carey Price flair to him, where he’s very calm in net and lets everything come to him. He’s a guy that has impressed me as well in camp.”
Here’s some video of the three goaltenders at camp. Lagace is 32, Kiviaho is 35 and Desrosiers is 30.