2016-17 Team: Drummondville Voltigeurs (#33)
Date of Birth: July 6, 2000
Place of Birth: Chicoutimi, Quebec
Ht: 6’1” Wt: 159 lbs.
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2018 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 1st (among NA Goalies)
- Future Considerations: 83rd
- ISS Hockey: 1st (among goalies)
- Bob McKenzie: 3rd (among goalies)
- Craig Button: 70th
When the Drummondville Voltigeurs grabbed Olivier Rodrigue with the third overall pick in the 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft, there were expectations as to what this kid could do for the team. What they didn’t know at the time was that he would develop into one of the best goalies in the QMJHL and, eventually, a top goaltending prospect for the 2018 NHL Draft.
Rodrigue finished the 2017-18 campaign having played the third highest minutes of any goaltender (3001:29), with the fourth-best goals against average (2.54) and a respectable .903 save percentage. He also finished tied for the second-highest win total in the QMJHL with 31 wins in 53 games played – certainly something that teams are taking into account.
While he isn’t the biggest goaltender in the draft, he certainly uses his full frame and makes himself look bigger than he actually is in net. He’s quick and athletic which allows him to make some game-changing saves when he may seem down and out.
His positioning is among the best in the CHL and his ability to steal games also earned him a starting role with Team Canada at the U18 Hlinka Memorial tournament this past season – where he also added to his resume as one of the best goaltenders in the upcoming draft.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Olivier Rodrigue – NHL Draft Projection
With the goaltending class not as prevalent in this year’s draft compared to previous seasons, it’s not farfetched to think that Rodrigue could fall to the early parts of the third round. That said, if there’s a team set on picking a goaltender earlier, he could find a way to slip into the final few picks of the second round and it wouldn’t be a surprise, but he will more than likely find himself getting called between the 70th and 80th picks in this year’s draft.
“Don’t let Rodrigue’s size scare you away – this kid’s reflexes, rebound control and post-to-post quickness are exceptional. He’s an aggressive net minder who will dart out of the crease to defend shots from anywhere within his own end, and he’s proven to safely steer high-danger shots either into the corners or far from the low slot. Rodrigue’s stick is very active and times his poke checks very well, plus his ability to lock in on pucks throughout an entire cycle helps him interdict cross-crease passes from either corner. His glove hand and its positioning are a work in progress, which when coupled with a low silhouette make him susceptible to get beaten upstairs, especially on his short side.” – Steve Kournianos/The Draft Analyst
“Although he doesn’t boast immense size, Rodrigue’s fiery demeanour and determination to succeed more than compensate for this perceived deficiency. A true battler in the crease and desperate to win each and every time he graces the ice, Rodrigue denies opposing shooters through strong positional play and the ability to react quickly to well-placed shots and dangerous scoring chances.” – Brett Slawson/The Hockey Writers
- Focus and determination
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Glove hand positioning
- Size and net coverage
While it might take a while to crack an NHL lineup – with goaltending positions being at such a premium – Rodrigue will eventually find a spot in the big leagues. Like Carter Hart, size is a question at times, especially as a butterfly goalie, but he has more than proved that he can play the position even as a somewhat smaller frame. It could take a while, but expect him to fight for a starting role at some point in the next four or five years.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Goaltending – 7.5/10
As was mentioned earlier, Rodrigue stole the job for Canada at the U18 Hlinka Memorial tournament this past season and helped lead his country to a gold medal. In the process, he earned awards for the best goals against average (GAA) in the tournament at 1.33, the best save percentage (SV%) in the tournament at .949 and was named one of the top three players on Team Canada. That’s a good start to his resume.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.