Derek Roy talks to the referee after being involved in a scrum. (photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
On Wednesday night there was a Roy(Rwah) and a Roy at Rexall Place when Edmonton took on Colorado. The one who is called Patrick is famous for his fiery temper, a through the roof compete level and a willingness to win at all costs. The other Roy, called Derek, has also shown some of those fan-friendly and respect-building aspects to his game. You can't win a comparison with one of the great playoff performers and netminders of all time, but you can at least say that the Oilers Roy has a little of what makes up the Avs Roy.
I'll get to his game-winning goal, but before that let's talk about Derek Roy's spirit and compete level. Wednesday night, Colorado's John Mitchell took an extra whack at Ben Scrivens. The closest, but certainly not the biggest (5-foot-9, 184 pound), Oiler around was Roy. He proceeded to whack Mitchell right back. He became engaged in a scrum and in the process got his helmet knocked off. What he proved is that he'll stand up for a teammate, regardless of the moment or the difference in height and weight. It is not the first time he's done it.
|Photo by Andy Devlin | Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club |
While he's helped Nail Yakupov in a multitude of ways, he's also had his Russian teammate’s back. As reminded to me by Oilers Radio Colour Analyst Bob Stauffer, in a game against Montreal Alexei Emelin made a dangerous hit on Yakupov. It wasn't long after that, you guessed it, Derek Roy came back and walloped Emelin and gave him 'the business' as we like to say to go along with the hit. A little payback and reminder that Roy will backup and defend his teammates.
It's a quality I didn't really know the centreman had in his game. I guess it's a by product of seeing him for a long time in the NHL, but never seeing him up close and on a nightly basis. While his willingness to stand up for teammates is a brave quality it isn't the biggest one that has allowed Roy to spend 11 seasons in the NHL. What has brought him here and allowed him to stay here is his skill. It's why he was drafted 32nd overall, it's also why he's played 730 NHL games and put up 522 points. He's a nifty player as he showed in scoring the 4th and final goal for Edmonton against Colorado. Like a vulture swooping in while the opponent was vulnerable.
When Craig MacTavish made what, at the time, looked like a minor move in getting the 31-year-old from Nashville for Mark Arcobello it looked like Roy was the one in a vulnerable position. After spending eight successful seasons with Buffalo, the jersey carousel began. There was Dallas and Vancouver in 2012-13. 2013-14 was spent with St.Louis and then this season began with Nashville. As he sat waiting for a flight to Milwaukee and the AHL. An incoming phone call changed his destination and his career path. He came to Edmonton and has made a difference to his future employment opportunities and to his team. He has been 'professional' in the way he has carried himself and what he has done for linemates and teammates.
Not trading him at the deadline was a clear sign the Oilers have interest in Roy staying with the team beyond this season. From now until July 1, when he becomes a UFA a lot could happen. No guarantees he comes back to Edmonton but I think Roy has guaranteed himself a deal somewhere in the NHL. Thanks to his effort and 38-game, 20-point performance with the Oilers someone will give Derek the 'Roy'al treatment.