After Sunday’s revelation that the Red Wings have left Petr Mrazek exposed to the expansion draft, goaltending prospects have suddenly become very important to the Red Wings organization. Among the top prospects in this year’s NHL Entry Draft is the Muskegon Lumberjacks’ Keith Petruzzelli. Having completed last season in the USHL, Petruzzelli is en route to the NCAA where he’ll play for Quinnipiac University.
NHL CS RANKINGS
Projected to go 2nd overall among North American goalies.
(Stats courtesy of EliteProspects)
As with most prospects, Petruzzelli excelled at his position at a young age, putting up a .951 SV% and a 0.99 GAA in the United States Hockey School league. Obviously, he was ready to graduate to a whole other level. At the under-18 level, he was still impressive, putting up a .936 SV% and 1.13 GAA. Finally, last season in the United States Hockey League, the 18-year-old held a solid .918 SV% and 2.40 GAA. His regular season play to date has been outstanding.
That being said, Petruzzelli’s playoff stats are not great. A .889 SV% in 3 games of the USPHL 18U playoffs and a .885 SV% in two USHL playoff games has me wondering if he has trouble in high pressure situations. He hasn’t had much play at the International level, but his stats from the 2016-17 U18 Hlinka Memorial tournament were closer to his playoff numbers than his regular season numbers.
THE EYE TEST
NHL Central Scouting’s Al Jensen had this to say about Petruzzelli on NHL.com:
“HIS STYLE RESEMBLES THE WAY PENGUINS GOALTENDER MATT MURRAY PLAYS. HE’S GOOD ON HIS ANGLES AND IS SQUARE TO THE SHOTS. HE’S TOUGH TO BEAT LOW AS HE SEALS THE ICE AND FIVE-HOLE WITH HIS LEG EXTENSIONS. HE HAS GOOD REBOUND CONTROL WITH SOFT PADS AND ABSORBS THE HIGHER SHOTS WELL INTO HIS BODY.”
DOES HE FIT IN WITH THE RED WINGS?
Yes, especially if Vegas claims Mrazek at the expansion draft. Detroit’s goaltending pipeline is pretty short, so they could use a 6’6” goalie in their system. Petruzzi has good self-confidence (don’t worry – the word “cocky” has yet to be used to describe him) and covers a lot of the net with his size. He has good puck tracking, though he rebound control could use some work. He still needs a lot of time to develop, but he could end up being a very good goalie that Detroit could use once all of their bad contracts have expired. Time will tell, but he should be on the radar for the second round.