In order to shore up the goaltending situation in Syracuse of the American Hockey League, general manager Steve Yzerman and the Tampa Bay Lightning re-united with a familiar face on Thursday morning.
The team traded goaltender Dustin Tokarski to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for 27-year-old goaltender Cedrick Desjardins, who appeared in two NHL games for the Bolts during the 2010-11 season, when he went 2-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and a .968 save percentage.
This season, Desjardins has played 22 games this season with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL, compiling a record of 7-13-2 with a 2.94 goals-against average and .905 save percentage.
“We felt our goaltending in Syracuse this season hasn’t been up to par,” Yzerman said. “We wanted to give our team the best opportunity to make the playoffs and do well in the playoffs, so we were looking to upgrade there.”
Yzerman also believes that Desjardins gives the team a better chance to win should he be called up in the event of injury to either Mathieu Garon or Anders Lindback this season.
“We weren’t comfortable with our options right now,” Yzerman added.
As far as Desjardins goes, he is a bit older than Tokarski, and brings a bit more experience and that of a veteran presence.
Plus, he is familiar with the organization and vice versa, as he did appear in two games for the Lightning three seasons ago, and also knows head coach Guy Boucher fairly well, after Boucher served behind the bench in the same capacity in Hamilton, where Desjardins played in 2009-10.
Garon’s contract is also up at the end of this season, so it appears the acquisition of Desjardins could provide the organization with more options and flexibility to fill that spot for the future.
“We’ve had him in this organization before, so we know him and we like him,” Yzerman added. “We think he’s an excellent goaltender at the American League level and he’s more ready to play for us if we need him up here.”
Desjardins has appeared in 170 career AHL games with the Bulldogs, Norfolk Admirals and Lake Erie Monsters, compiling a record 87-56-12. He also was the recipient of the AHL’s Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award for recording a 2.00 goals-against average during the 2009-10 season, given annually to the goalie with the lowest goals-against average.
That same season he also appeared in the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic, in which he was named top goaltender during the skills competition, as well as being named to the 2010 AHL Second All-Star Team following the season.