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DEV CAMP: Fresh opportunity awaits Rodrigue in final junior season

The 18-year-old will play out his final season in the QMJHL with the Moncton Wildcats after being traded from Drummondville, and is setting his sights on World Juniors in 2019-20

by Jamie Umbach /

EDMONTON, AB - After what would be his last season with the Drummondville Voltigeurs in the QMJHL, Olivier Rodrigue's jam-packed summer leaves no time to dwell.

The 18-year-old's season was bookended by hard times that limited him to 48 regular-season games despite still being able to post a 35-9-1 record with a .902 save percentage and 2.43 goals-against average.

"It was a tough start," Rodrigue, speaking from Oilers Development Camp, said. "A couple things happened in my life and in my family, so it hurt me a little bit at the beginning of the season. At the end of the season I pulled my groin for seven weeks and couldn't play in playoffs, but it's part of the game."

Soon after, the netminder celebrated his first professional contract after signing his entry-level deal with the Oilers in May as his first big step towards playing professional hockey.

"It was pretty special," he said. "I lived that with my family, so I enjoyed the time with the family. We went for dinner, and it's the next step to the big leagues and I just have to keep working."

Video: DEV CAMP | Olivier Rodrigue

Rodrigue attended Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence Goaltending camp in early June, where he'd find out that his final season of junior next season would be with the Moncton Wildcats after being traded from Drummondville.

The Chicoutimi, Quebec product wore a Voltigeurs jersey for three seasons, setting the club's regular-season record for wins with 71 this campaign.

"It's probably my last year in junior, and I want to make it special," he said.

Now, Rodrigue has his sights set on the 2020 World Juniors after being invited to Hockey Canada's Summer Showcase on a shortlist with 10 other potential netminders.

Back in June, Oilers Goaltending Coach Dustin Schwartz attended Hockey Canada's goaltending camp along with Rodrigue, and is further able to witness the netminder's potential in goal for Canada as one of the leads at Development Camp this week at the Downtown Community Arena.

"He's an unbelievable kid, comes from a good pedigree, and he's got a good background in the game," Schwartz said. "He understands his position very well; his skating is outstanding. At this level you have to be able to move and get into position real quick, and he does that.

"I was fortunate enough to be a part of the World Junior camp as well, and I was on the ice with all the goalies and I was out there with Olivier throughout the entire week. He showed himself really well at that showcase, so I'm sure he'll be a part of the proceedings moving forward with the World Junior team."

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