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Move south should be good for Desjardins

by Lindsay Kramer ||

After he was traded from the Montreal organization to Tampa Bay earlier this week, the phone of goalie Cedrick Desjardins was overloaded with messages from well-wishers.

The outpouring of support and curiosity caught him off-guard.

"I was surprised. For a guy who plays in the AHL, so many people called. I have a lot of friends," he said. "Also, there’s nothing really going on (news-wise). So that’s probably it."

Desjardins drastically undersells himself. When one of the AHL’s best goalies gets a new address at this point in the summer, it tends to grab attention.

Playing for Hamilton last season Desjardins, 24, led the AHL in goals-against average (2.00), ranked second in shutouts (six), tied for fourth in wins (29) and was tied for sixth in save percentage (.919). The effort earned him a spot on the league’s second all-star team.

The breakout season — coming in his fourth with the organization — brought Desjardins all the security of an ice cube on a summer sidewalk. The Canadians retained Curtis Sanford for Hamilton and are high on prospect Robert Mayer.

With little chance for Desjardins to compete for the No. 3 spot in the system, Montreal sent him to the Lightning. While he’s likely slotted as the No. 1 in Norfolk, Desjardins has friends in Tampa Bay. New coach Guy Boucher held the same role in Hamilton last season, and assistant GM Julien BriseBois had been the general manager of the Bulldogs.

"Montreal didn’t have a short-term solution for me. I said, ‘Could you find another place?’ By my surprise, Tampa Bay called first," Desjardins said. "I needed a year like (last year) to have a chance to make it. I’ve been treated very well (by Montreal). At the same time, I know I’m going to an organization that has a great future in front of them."

It’s also similar to the one he’s leaving in that there’s a potential traffic jam in net. Desjardins might first take the crease as the Admirals’ starter, but the organization will look for any excuse to feed minutes to prospects Dustin Tokarski and Jaroslav Janus.

"That’s a good thing. When you have a lot of good goalies, you have to be strong," Desjardins said. "That’s the way it was in Montreal. I expect guys to be pushing me, and I expect to push guys, too. I’m going there to be ready. I’m looking forward to going to Norfolk and being consistent."

Lindsay Kramer is the AHL correspondent for Read today’s complete column here.