Avalanche goaltending prospect Peter Delmas tries to model his game after Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo, who he says “plays really low, really big and covers his angles well.”
That being said, when Delmas was growing up in Alliston, Ontario, he had posters of Avalanche great Patrick Roy, not Luongo, covering his bedroom walls.
Now, the former Lewiston MAINEiacs goaltender will have a chance to play underneath his hockey idol after being traded to the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts in the offseason.
Delmas, Colorado’s second choice (second round, 61st overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, headed into the 2008-09 season with lots of optimism. He split goaltending duties with Jonathan Bernier during the 2007-08 campaign, but with Bernier headed to the professional ranks, Delmas knew the opportunity to be Lewiston’s No. 1 netminder was his for the taking.
However, things didn’t go quite as he hoped, as a young and inexperienced Lewiston squad suffered through a tough season, finishing with a 22-42-1-2 regular season record.
“It definitely wasn’t an easy year. We struggled at times with a young team,” said Delmas. “But overall, it was a good learning experience for all of us.”
Even though the season that had more bumps in it than expected, Delmas and his teammates pulled things together late in the year and achieved their goal of earning a berth in the postseason.
“That was our goal at the end of the year. We were just trying to make the playoffs,” said Delmas. “We had a game against Chicoutimi where we needed to get at least a point, and we did. That was the highlight at the end of the year for us.”
Shortly after the QMJHL season had been completed, Delmas began to hear his name in trade rumors, with most mentioning him packing his bags and heading to Quebec to tend goal for the Remparts.
Sure enough, on June 5, Delmas was shipped to the Remparts along with three of his Lewiston teammates.
“At first I was just expecting to go back to Lewiston,” said Delmas. “It was kind of weird to hear my name in trade rumors, but three other guys on my team got traded there too. It should be a fun experience, and we should have a pretty strong team.”
The move means he will play the 2009-10 season – his fourth in the QMJHL – under his hockey idol, Remparts general manager and head coach Patrick Roy. Needless to say, Delmas is both honored and thrilled that Roy saw enough potential in him to make a trade.
“It’s a pretty big honor when Patrick Roy wants you on his team and makes a deal for you. It’s pretty exciting.”
A new year brings a fresh start, and although training camp is still over a month away, Delmas believes Quebec has a solid roster and should be in store for a very competitive year.
In addition to his three former Lewiston teammates that will be joining him in Quebec, Delmas will see another familiar face when he sets foot in the Remparts’ locker room. One of his new teammates will be fellow Avalanche prospect Kelsey Tessier, who was also selected by Colorado at the 2008 Entry Draft.
The duo has a connection that goes back for years, as they have played hockey with and against each other since they were 10 years old while also lining up as opponents on the baseball diamond.
“We’ve known each other for a long time, so it’s pretty cool that we got drafted by the same team and now we play on the same team,” said Delmas. “We played Atlantic Select hockey together, and we always played against each other growing up.”
Through adversity and tough times comes opportunity to grow as a player and a person, and Delmas knows that the 2009-10 season will be better because of the challenges he faced a year ago.
“I definitely learned some lessons,” said Delmas. “I know how to carry myself better going into next year. I’m looking forward to it, and things will be a lot different for sure.”