Evaluating goaltending prospects can be quite difficult, as almost no goaltenders go in the top 15 of the draft nowadays. Once in a while one will sneak into the first round, and the other top goalie prospects go in the 2nd round. The NHL currently has 8 legitimate starting goaltenders who were drafted in the first round, the rest were either scattered along the draft, or were undrafted. With that being said, identifying how goalie prospects will develop is no easy task. Keeping that in mind, let’s look at what the Wings have assembled.
Detroit managed to grab Keith Petruzzelli 88th overall this past draft. Petruzzelli without a doubt is the Wings best goaltending prospect, as some projected him to go mid to early 2nd round. Many believe he will become Detroit’s future number 1 goaltender, and it’s fair to assume that as he has the size, athletism, and determination to do it. He put on a tremendous performance at the World Junior Summer Showcase, and could be Team USA’s third goaltender at the 2018 WJC, and is an early candidate to be Team USA’s starting goaltender at the 2019 WJC. Keith is an excellant blue chip prospect to have in the system.
Following him, Detroit over the past few years have selected several goaltenders in the later rounds. Filip Larsson, Joren Van Pottelberghe, and Chase Perry are some of the recent names they have drafted. Larsson last season put up respectable numbers in Sweden’s junior league, and will be joining the Tri-City Strom of the USHL this season. Van Pottelberghe has seen his ups and downs since being drafted, but this isn’t unusual to see from goalies selected late in the draft. Perry has struggled horribly since draft day, and I don’t expect him to become much at a higher level.
Looking at more developed prospects, Matej Machovsky was a recent free agent signing by the Wings. At 24 years old, Machovsky put up terrific numbers last year in the top Czech league, and will be joining the Grand Rapids Griffins this upcoming season. Machovsky could become a potential NHL backup in a few years. Also, while I wouldn’t consider him a prospect anymore, Jared Coreau is also panning out to become a NHL backup, in fact he may even be ready to take on that duty this season. But as of right now he will be the starter in Grand Rapids until the situation with Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek is resolved.
The overall state of Detroit’s goaltender prospect pool, is looking good. There is a potential future number 1 goaltender, as well as other players who have shown signs of being a NHLer one day. The only goalie prospect in the system who I don’t see having any potential of reaching the NHL one day, is Chase Perry. That is a great indication that the future backbone of our team is in good hands. I would rank Detroit’s Prospect pool, near the top 10 of the NHL.