Despite stellar play and an impression left on Lightning fans and the NHL, Cedrick Desjardins was optioned back to the Norfolk Admirals following last night's 2-1 overtime win against the Rangers. Our loss is Norfolk's gain, of course, as well as the Florida Everblades of the ECHL (who will likely get goalie prospect Jaroslav Janus back, who was promoted to the Admirals to back up Dustin Tokarski while Desjardins played in Tampa).
While fans are aflutter with this trade, and knowing it's a short-term fix, there's a question that's popped into my mind: Did Cedrick Desjardins make this trade happen? What you might be curious to know is I don't mean this in a malicious fashion what-so-ever.
Two games, two goals allowed. Something close to 119 minutes between goals scored by opponents. 61 saves on 63 shots. Desjardins numbers were solid, even if the sample size (two NHL games played) was small. I can say that the first goal itself was a fluke and the 2nd goal was something tough for any netminder to deal with. Maybe it's making excuses for Cedrick, but he was solid through and through.
I won't try to judge his game any more, nor tear apart Dan Ellis and Mike Smith. Instead I'll just ask the question: Did Desjardins play well enough to show that an average netminder was that much better? Did the rookie compel Steve Yzerman to make the deal, not by showing he wasn't ready but by showing what a more consistent netminder can do in the Bolts system?
The Bolts, sitting first in the Southeast Division and second in the Eastern Conference standings, are likely to make the playoffs (well, unless there is a forthcoming total collapse). At this point and juncture, it's not the ideal place for learning-on-the-job.
That's an excuse not to keep Cedrick around, but it's also an excuse to give a serious look when an opportunity falls into the teams lap. Dwayne Roloson has started against the Lightning twice this season and put on a showing both times. If he can stymie and frustrated the Lightning while playing behind the New York Islanders team, what type of results could we expect with Roloson playing behind the Tampa Bay Lightning?
Was Cedrick the proof that a competent goalie can make a large difference? Was he a selling point, even if it is ultimately his roster spot that's lost in the move?
I can't help but think he sent more of a message for the teams need and potential (in a positive way). It was such a message that muted the idea of allowing more time for the struggling and inconsistent Smith / Ellis tandem to raise their game.
Maybe I'm wrong, but it's a thought.