THE WINGS NATION TOP 20 PROSPECTS: #19 JAKE PATERSON

Today we continue our dive into the Wings system and look at #19 on our list, goaltender Jake Paterson. Drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Paterson has found himself lost in the goaltender clog in the Wings system. He’s likely heading back to the ECHL to play for the Wings affiliate the Toledo Walleyes because of said clog, despite Mrazek making the jump to full-time NHL starter earlier than projected. So what can we truly expect from Paterson, the first of two goalies on our radar?

BY THE NUMBERS 

Nothing there that really jumps out but there are some trends worth noting. Especially in his OHL days, Paterson was hung out to dry as a goaltender. When he briefly got a chance behind even a mediocre Kitchener Rangers team in 2014-2015, we watched his 3.48GAA and .905S% jump to 2.37GAA and a .929S%. That’s a huge jump for a guy who previously couldn’t top a .906S% and showed what many had thought when the trade was made, that finally this kid is getting an opportunity to show what he can do. His ECHL numbers are similar to what he was doing in the OHL but it’ll take more impressive starts to snag a consistent job in the AHL, especially with Coreau developing into a promising young goaltender. 

LOOKING AHEAD

While there may be some talent here, I find it unlikely we’ll see Paterson anytime soon with the Red Wings. Detroit’s current goaltending situation is backed up at almost every level and they have a unique habit of drafting a goaltender every single year. 

The other disadvantage Paterson is going to have is that the Wings love drafting European goaltenders. These are guys who see more international tournament play, multiple leagues of varying age, skill and geographical location. 

There are just so many opportunities for these other kids to develop at a slower pace if that’s what they require or should they need more of a challenge they have the SHL, the KHL and countless other opportunities to make that jump. Paterson is in that weird limbo where he seems to be too good for the ECHL, yet not consistent enough yet to warrant the roster spot in Grand Rapids where he could go cold playing second fiddle to Coreau. 

So long as he keeps playing there’s always a chance though down the line. I just think as a 22-year-old when in a system with Mrazek and Coreau, both under age 25 and ahead of him by a wide margin, we have to assume he’s likely the odd man out. Maybe his future lies elsewhere in the NHL, but I think it’s safe to assume we won’t see him don the Winged Wheel for any exteded period of time, barring a trade or major shakeup in the system. 

In case you missed it:

#20 Louis-Marc Aubry