The Los Angeles Kings have the luxury of having one of the NHL‘s elite goaltenders in Jonathan Quick. The team is also lucky to have young, up and comer Martin Jones, who has shown he can play at a high level in the NHL backing up Quick. Both of these being said the team made a smart, if unheralded move in inviting veteran goalie Jeff Deslauriers to training camp on a tryout agreement.
Deslauriers has 62 NHL games under his belt and was the Edmonton Oilers’ No. 1 goaltender for a large portion of the 2009-10 season. While he hasn’t played an NHL game since 2012, his presence should push Jones for the backup role, as he surely will be pushing to get back to the best league in the world. No one would mistake Deslauriers for Patrick Roy, as he has 3.24 goals against average and .901 save percentage in his NHL career, but his presence should be enough to push Jones to play the top of his game during training camp and the team’s preseason games.
I believe Jones will win the starting job and Deslauriers will seek employment with an AHL team, whether it’s with the Kings’ affiliate in Manchester or elsewhere. Having this sort of healthy competition early is perfect for a team like the Kings, who have built a standard of excellence in recent years. If the individual players from the backup goalie on up are hungry, then it will surely show on the ice on a night in, night out basis.