The third installment of the “Projecting the Prospects” series revolves around goaltending. This is easily the shortest installment. There’s only 3 prospects who warrant coverage at this time, although there are a total of 10 goalies in Detroit’s system including Howard, Bernier, and Rybar. The excluded “prospects” include Eliasson, Brattstrom, Perry, and van Pottelberge. At this point I don’t really foresee any of those four being a factor in Detroit.
TL;DR: No changes in net for Detroit.
Larsson gets to go first here because he’s easily the number one goaltending prospect in Detroit’s system. While there was a lot of hype around the 2017 NHL Entry Draft for Keith Petruzzelli and his giant stature, Filip Larsson just played a lights-out season for Denver in the NCAA, including leading them into the Frozen Four Semi-Finals, where they lost in overtime to UMASS.
Larsson’s phenomenal NCAA season for Denver, where he posted a 1.95 Goals Against Average and a .932 Save Percentage, earned him his entry-level contract late in the season. Although he was eligible to join the Griffins for the playoffs, he predictably never saw any ice time.
The Prediction: Larsson signing his ELC means he’s expected to play pro hockey next season. He’ll get as good a shot as any in training camp, but he’s going to be playing in Grand Rapids for the 2019/2020 season. He’ll likely begin as a backup to a more experienced goaltender (Rybar or any pending free agency acquisition) and will be given whatever time is necessary to progress into his role as AHL starter and work his way up.
Fulcher, an undrafted free-agent signing, did not have a good year in 2018/2019. It was thought that Fulcher would be able to grab a job in Grand Rapids, even after both Sateri and Rybar were signed to supplement that role, and was handed the job with the Red Wing’s ECHL affiliate Toledo Walleye. Fulcher performed poorly in his role with Toledo. In 28 games played he posted an atrocious 3.00 GAA and .899 S%.
The end of season injury chaos ended up bringing Fulcher all the way up to Detroit after Bernier went down, Sateri was injured in Grand Rapids, and the Griffins were attempting to secure their playoff berth and could not spare Rybar. Kaden wasn’t given any starts, but after a poor team performance for Detroit against Buffalo, Jimmy Howard was pulled and Fulcher got his chance to shine at the NHL level. The game was already a blowout and the Wings appeared to have absolutely no motivation or resistance to the shellacking that Buffalo was handing them, and Fulcher couldn’t do much to stop it. Fulcher faced 11 total shots, letting in 2 goals. One at even strength, the other on a penalty kill.
The Prediction: Fulcher will likely be towards the bottom of the totem pole during camp, and won’t be given as much privilege as the other goaltenders in Detroit’s system. He’s likely bound to return to the ECHL, where he’ll assume the starting role in Toledo unless Pat Nagle returns to the team, in which case he’ll have to battle for the spot.
Standing in at 6’5”, Petruzzelli garnered a fair bit of hype given his stature. With Ben Bishop’s giant frame in mind, the Wings selected Petruzzelli with their fourth 3rd round pick in the draft, and their 6th pick inside the top 90. The draft pick used to acquire Petruzzelli has a fair amount of history behind it. The Carolina Hurricanes received Chicago’s 2017 3rd round pick, as well as Joakim Nordstrom and Kris Versteeg on September 11th, 2015, in exchange for Dennis Robertson, the signing rights for Jake Massie, and Carolina’s 2017 5th round pick. The following year in June, Chicago and Carolina were at it again. On June 15th, 2016, Chicago sent Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen to Carolina in exchange for the New York Ranger’s 2016 2nd Round Pick, and the same 2017 3rd round pick belonging to Chicago. The following year after that, on February 24th, 2017, the Blackhawks again traded their 2017 3rd Round pick to Detroit for Tomas Jurco.
Unforunately, the interesting things involved with Keith Petruzzelli ends with the pick’s history. Petruzzelli was drafted after posting a 2.40 GAA and .918 S% in 17 starts with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL. The year prior to that, with the Selects Hockey Academy 18U team in the USPHL 18U league, Petruzzelli had posted an even more impressive 1.13 GAA and .936 S% in 22 games.
Petruzzelli, since then, has played the backup role with Quinnipiac University. He registered a 2.88 GAA and .892 S% in his first year there in 17 starts. He followed that performance with 14 starts in the 18/19 season, posting a marginally better 2.42 GAA and .904 S%.
The Prediction: The starter for Quinnipiac University, Andrew Shortridge, is likely moving on. Shortridge is a San Jose goalie prospect, and is likely to join the San Jose Barracuda in the AHL for the 2019/2020 season. This makes it more than likely that Petruzzelli will stay with the Quinnipac University Bobcats as the starting goalie. The Red Wings have until August 15th, 2021 to sign Petruzzelli to his ELC, so there’s no rush to pull him into his ELC and into the pros when he has yet to prove himself in the NCAA.
– Jesse L
Feature Photo Credit: NHL.com