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Photo Credit: KEYSTONE/GIAN EHRENZELLER

The Journey Of Joren van Pottelberghe

From Davos, Switzerland to Rungsted, Denmark to Kloten, Switzerland, Red Wings goalie prospect Joren van Pottelberghe has had an adventurous season to say the least. The plan from afar seemed pretty clear: van Pottelberghe and New Jersey Devils prospect Gilles Senn would battle for the starting job in net and Davos would go from there. Things didn’t end up being that simple for the Wings’ 4th round pick in the 2015 draft.

Davos would end up deciding that they wanted more experience in net than the duo they had in net the previous season, so they signed NHL veteran goaltender Anders Lindbäck. Senn would end up winning the backup job and van Pottelberghe became the odd man out for Davos. In early October, Davos made the call to find somewhere for van Pottelberghe to get some games in. That destination being Rungsted Seier Capital of the Metal Ligaen, Denmark’s top league. The loan to Rungsted would last 4 games in which van Pottelberghe would put up a 2.53 GAA and .885 SV%. When van Pottelberghe returned, he found himself in the same situation he faced before the loan: on the outside looking in.

About a month after van Pottelberghe’s return to Davos, the decision was made to loan him to EHC Kloten of the NLB for the rest of the season. The NLB, also referred to as the Swiss League, is Switzerland’s 2nd highest pro league. The NLA also referred to the National League, is where HC Davos plays. In Kloten, van Pottelberghe can get plenty of game action and further hone his craft while dominating the competition, which he’s done in his early games with his new club. In 4 games with his new club, van Pottelberghe has a 4-0 record while sporting a 2.00 GAA and .936 SV%.

The day after van Pottelberghe was loaned to EHC Kloten by Davos, legendary Swiss coach Arno del Curto resigned from the club and a new head coach was named. Arno del Curto, 62, is the most decorated Swiss coach of all time with 6 national league title wins and 5 Spengler Cup wins in his 22-year stint as HC Davos’ head coach.

In an interview with Swiss newspaper Blick, van Pottelberghe covered a variety of subjects and the rough translation shows that he’s maintained a positive outlook on his season to date.

“When HCD was Van Pottelberghe after the obligation of Sweden Anders Lindbäck only number 3, was even loaned in October for four games to Denmark to the Rungsted Seier Capital. I learned in North America for Davos. If I go over next season, it could happen from time to time that I can not play. I’ve been prepared to always be ready. ”

He had always remained positive in Davos. “I did not see it at all that I can not play,” said the 21-year-old. “You just have to remember how fast everything can change. That’s what my move to Denmark showed. These thoughts have motivated me to always go full throttle. Had I not had her, I would not have been ready. ”

In these quotes, you can see that van Pottelberghe turned his benching and the following loan to Denmark into a positive, as the experience is good preparation for life in North America for a goalie. As you know, goalies don’t play every single game and can go for almost 2 weeks at a time without game action. In the article, he also comments on his transition to Kloten and offers his reaction to the resignation of his former coach in Davos, Arno del Curto.

The goalie situation in Grand Rapids and Toledo is wide open next season with Harri Säteri and Patrik Rybár of Grand Rapids and Pat Nagle of Toledo all having their contracts expire after this season.  Rybár is the only RFA of the group, leaving prospect Kaden Fulcher as the only lock to return to Detroit’s AHL and ECHL affiliates next season.

There’s plenty of time for the Red Wings organization to evaluate van Pottelberghe as the season goes on and that could extend all the way into April or May depending on EHC Kloten’s potential playoff berth and a possible amateur tryout in Grand Rapids or Toledo to end the season.