The Alaska Aces will go from a young goaltending prospect they hardly got to know to a young goaltending prospect who ushered them out of the Kelly Cup playoffs last spring.
That's the upshot of a Friday trade between NHL rivals that trickled down to touch the Aces of the ECHL.
The Calgary Flames, Alaska's affiliate, traded rookie goalie Laurent Brossoit, who was coming off two shutouts and had not surrendered a goal in three appearances, as part of a four-player deal with the rival Edmonton Oilers. Flames-Oilers meetings are known in the hockey world as The Battle of Alberta.
Calgary sent Brossoit, 20, and center Roman Horak to Edmonton for defenseman Ladislav Smid and goalie Olivier Roy.
Roy, 22, last season backstopped the Stockton Thunder to victory over the Aces in six games of the Western Conference finals in April.
Aces coach Rob Murray, reached by cellphone in Boise, Idaho, where the team played the Idaho Steelheads on Friday, said the club expects Calgary to assign Roy to the Aces. Murray said the earliest Roy would join the team is Saturday.
Brossoit had been scheduled to start Friday for the Aces. Instead he was in street clothes and the start went to Mark Guggenberger, the only other goalie on the trip. Murray found an emergency backup goaltender as required by ECHL rules.
The Aces also have standout veteran goaltender Gerald Coleman, but he is rehabbing from offseason hip surgery and is on the inactive list.
Murray said getting a goalie as part of Friday's trade saved him some work.
"We're getting a goalie back, so it's not like I have to go searching for one,'' he said.
Brossoit earlier this week was named ECHL Goaltender of the Week after generating consecutive 16-save shutouts of the Bakersfield Condors. Combined with eight saves he made against Bakersfield in relief of Guggenberger, who experienced a problem with a skate, Brossoit stopped all 40 ECHL shots he faced.
Roy was 7-2-0 with a 1.21 goals-against average and .961 save percentage for Stockton during the regular season last season. He spent most of the season with Oklahoma City (9-9-1, 2.77, .902) before returning to Stockton in the playoffs and helping them reach the Kelly Cup Finals, where they lost to the Reading Royals in five games.
Roy was 12-9 with a 2.81 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in the ECHL playoffs. In six games against the Aces, he went 4-2 with a 2.86 goals-against average and .907 save percentage.
Roy spent the early part of this season with Oklahoma City, going 2-2-0, 3.29 and .897.
One upside of the trade for the Aces is that Roy, like Brossoit, is playing under an NHL contract. Such players only cost an ECHL team $525 per week against the league salary cap. A top-quality goaltender who owns a strong pro resume and plays under a standard one-year ECHL contract, all of which counts against the salary cap, would command a much higher salary.
Shuffling the deck
From the hockey-is-a-small-world department: If Roy is indeed assigned to the Aces -- the club's AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat, already has Joni Ortio and NHL veteran Joey MacDonald (129 NHL games) -- he'll run into some guys he knows.
Mike Benton, the Aces' broadcaster and director of media relations, held the same job for the Stockton Thunder until this season, so he knows Roy well. And Roy's coach last season with Stockton was current UAA head coach Matt Thomas.
Find Doyle Woody's blog at adn.com/hockeyblog.
By DOYLE WOODY