Desrosiers had stellar season with Rimouski of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, rewriting the league record book in the process. He signed an entry-level contract with the Stars in April. And he’s under consideration to represent Canada at the 2015 World Junior Championship.
“My confidence is pretty high right now,” said Desrosiers.
And Desrosiers is hoping for bigger things in the year ahead. Earning a spot on Canada’s World Junior roster is on the agenda. So is a long playoff run in the QMJHL and to be on the last team standing in major junior hockey in Canada next spring.
For now, Desrosiers is one of 35 prospects at Dallas Stars development camp in Frisco this week. It’s the second time at the camp for Desrosiers, the Stars’ second round pick (54th overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft.
“It’s a good week here,” said Desrosiers, a Quebec native. “I like to work with [Stars goaltending coach] Mike Valley. He’s a really good coach. I think it’s improved my game. It’s just good.”
Desrosiers, who is listed at 6-1, 195 pounds, took big strides in his game this past season, but there were some ups and downs. The first part of his 2013-14 campaign was a struggle. He posted an 8-10-6 record, 3.29 goals against average and .883 save percentage through early December. But then he started to turn it around. The key to righting the ship?
“I might have been too confident coming back and I had to readjust myself to the game,” he said. “I think you have to work. If you don’t work you cannot be good. You need to work.”
And it was quite a turnaround for Desrosiers, who went 23-4-1 the rest of the way with a 1.94 goals against average and .933 save percentage. During that run he set a QMJHL record with a shutout streak of 243:35.
“I was kind of in a good zone, but my team played well in front of me,” he said.
He also won 14 straight decisions, the fifth longest streak in league history. He ended up with a 31-14-7 record and ranked fourth in the league in goals against (2.65), seventh in save percentage (.907), fifth in wins (31) and fifth in shutouts (5).
“It was a slow start, but then I started to play really good after Christmas. I was happy with my season,” he said.
Desrosiers continued to roll into the playoffs, allowing just four goals in four games as Rimouski swept its first round series against Chicoutimi. Rimouski won the first two games against Blainville-Boisbriand in the second round with Desrosiers pitching a 40-save shutout in the second game. But Rimouski lost four of the next five games, including a wild 8-7 overtime loss in Game 7. Desrosiers gave up six goals in that game before getting pulled early in the third period.
“What a game, 8-7 in overtime,” Desrosiers said. “It wasn’t my best game, but I learned from it. I am really a better goalie right now.”
A tough way to go out of the playoffs, but it didn’t take away from the season he put together.
“He played really well,” said Valley. “He had an awesome playoff run. He’s a great, great young kid. He has a very professional approach.”
There were more learning experiences for Desrosiers once his junior season ended. He headed to Cedar Park to join the Texas Stars as the team’s third goaltender during part of their playoff run. He didn’t play in any games, but he was around the team and took part in practices.
“It was nice to live the pro life,” he said. “And to practice with pro players meant harder shots, quicker plays. I think it is a good thing for me. I will go back to junior and be a better goalie I think.”
Desrosiers will play another season of juniors and he has some lofty goals. He’s been invited to Canada’s National Junior Sumer Development Camp, which means he is on the radar to play for Team Canada at the 2015 World Junior Championship in Toronto and Montreal.
“I think it is a great thing. I worked hard for this. I deserved it,” Desrosiers said. “I think I can do the job and be the starter for Team Canada.”
There are goals in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League as well, particularly a longer run in the playoffs.
“This is a big year. I want to win the Memorial Cup,” he said. “I will do anything to have it, and I think we have a good team to do it.”
Desrosiers is still a young prospect. He turns 19 next month. So he has a long way to go in his development, but the Stars like where he is now and where he is headed.
“He had another strong season,” said Stars assistant GM Les Jackson. “The kid has a pro attitude and pro style game. He’s done really well. He’s in a good place. He’ll go back to junior next season, get a lot of games, a lot of growth and move forward.”
Thursday development camp schedule
Thursday’s development camp schedule calls for a skills event and autograph session from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the team’s practice facility in Frisco.
“Development camp isn’t a camp to evaluate one against the other. For me, it’s just to get to know a little bit more about the player, a little bit about the personality, watch his skills, watch his practice habits. They are really not competing against each other. We are not trying to slot them, this guy is the best centerman at camp. It’s just for everybody to work on getting better. Players come here and when they leave they know they have to get better at certain areas, they have a better understanding of how we play and to become a Dallas Star it is important that you become better in these certain areas.”
-Stars coach Lindy Ruff on development camp
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.