Komet Marco-Olivier Roy hoping for breakout season
He's bounced around minors hoping for a steady job
Take a look at Marc-Olivier Roy’s past statistics, and he’d be an easy player to overlook, but Komets coach Gary Graham believes he’s found another diamond that just needs some more polish.
Roy, 22, is in his first season with the Komets after what has been an undistinguished pro career so far. A second-round pick by Edmonton in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the center was unable to put up consistent numbers during his first two seasons. In 65 American Hockey League games, he had nine goals and 26 points. In 15 ECHL games before this season, he had two goals and seven points.
Those numbers don’t add up to his draft potential, but there’s are reasons, Roy said.
“My situation is kind of weird because in my first NHL training camp, I got an injury in my wrist,” Roy said. “The season after that I got injured again, and they weren’t sure about me.”
He partially tore a ligament in his left wrist the first time and then suffered a major concussion the second season. Despite scoring scoring 20 points in 42 games as a fourth-line forward, he didn’t get a chance at another contract. Last year, he played sparingly with Utica in the AHL.
“I didn’t play a lot but I got better, and I learned a lot,” he said. “I was the 13th forward there, so I played like 20-something games. I’m working here to get better and get the chance to go up again, a real chance, playing good minutes to find a role in that league. I’m only 22, and I still believe in my skills. I want to play in the NHL, but I want to have fun, too. This is a nice ECHL team.”
Graham and assistant Ben Boudreau tried all summer to convince Roy to sign in Fort Wayne if things didn’t work out in training camp with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. After talking to General Manager David Franke, Roy said he had no doubt he wanted to come to Fort Wayne after he was released.
“I’m excited to be here,” he said. “They believe in me and want me to get better. It’s cool to have a coach who believes in you. Last year, I had a good coach, but not like this. They are trying to help me.”
Graham thinks Roy can develop the way past players like Kyle Thomas, Jason Binkley and Gabriel Desjardins have once they got to Fort Wayne. They lacked eye-catching stats as well, but have continued to improve.
“He was just one of those guys when you have been at the AHL the majority of the time, that tells you something,” Graham said. “You have to be able to skate and be in condition. If you are good enough to practice with them on a daily basis, you are a good player. They are not keeping you around up there just because of your looks.”
Graham also had good reports from Boudreau who coached Roy at Norfolk, and former Alaska coach Rob Murray, who raved about Roy. So far, Graham has also used Roy on both the penalty-kill and power-play units, and Roy likes it that the ECHL uses three forward lines instead of the four in the AHL, so there’s more ice time overall.
“I just want to have fun because the last two years …” Roy said. “I want to be the goal guy who makes a difference and helps a team win a championship. I’m already thinking about the playoffs. I’m a guy who likes to play in important games with good crowds. I’m here to have fun, and the rest will take care of itself. This will be a good year to get better and have fun.”