Of the top 100 drafted players in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, only nine were goaltenders.
Taken at number 83, late in the 3rd round, was the Penguins’ own Matt Murray. To date he has only played 62 NHL games. His career average numbers? A .925 save percentage and a very respectable 2.32 goals against average.
Matt has two Stanley Cups to his name and, at the young age of 23, a cult following that rivals Max Talbot, the hero of our 2009 Cup triumph. What Murray did in 2016, when he came in and saved the season and won the Cup in dramatic fashion will be the subject of sports lore for decades.
Curious about his contemporaries, I did a little research on the nine goalies taken in the top 100 in 2012. You may find this information a little eye opening.
|Goaltender||Team||Draft No.||NHL Games||Save %||GAA|
|Andrei Vasilevskiy||Tampa Bay||19th||90||.915||2.60|
|* Andersen, who currently plays for Toronto, was originally drafted in 2010 (187th overall) by Carolina. Unable to come to terms with the Hurricanes, he was then drafted 87th overall by Anaheim in 2012.|
From this brief summary, it is very apparent that goaltenders usually take longer to reach the NHL than forwards or defensemen.
With Murray firmly secured in the starting role for the Pens, I wanted to explore the Pens’ minor-league depth in goal. Since he was also drafted in 2012, I’ll start with Sean McGuire. McGuire, the tenth goalie selected that year (113th overall), has been hampered with concussion issues throughout his brief career. He sat out his last season in college with a serious concussion.
In 2013, the Pens drafted Tristan Jarry 45th overall. He was the second goaltender taken that year. Montreal selected Zach Fucale 36th overall. In 2015-16, Fucale played 42 games in the American Hockey League. In 2016-17, he played 46 games in the East Coast Hockey League. He has yet to play a game in the NHL.
Jarry played one NHL game in 2016-17, the season finale against the New York Rangers. We lost 3-2! Jarry also served as back up for the Pens several times in the regular season and has played in a few exhibition games. Last season he posted a 2.15 GAA and a .925 SV% with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The Pens’ management is still very high on Jarry and strongly believe he has a future in the NHL.
In 2016, the Pens drafted Swedish goaltender Filip Gustavsson in the 55th slot. He, too, was the second goalie selected in his draft year. Calgary drafted Tyler Parsons from the London Knights of the OHL at 54th.
Gustavsson was rated the top European goalie prospect of 2016. He plays in the Swedish Elite League for Lulea. He is on loan to the team through the 2017-18 season and therefore he will not be seeing any AHL/NHL action soon (at least for another 16 months).
He played one game in the Under 20 World Junior Championships in 2017 and all five games in the Under 20 Swedish International Championships. He is still very young (19) and highly regarded.
Casey DeSmith, the 25-year-old undrafted free agent who played so well last year for the Baby Pens was rewarded with a new two-year, two-way contract worth $650,000/year at the NHL level. His 2.01 GAA was the second best in the AHL last year. He surprised a lot of people with his great play in net.
This opens up a friendly competition with Jarry to see who is the true number-one goalie for the Baby Pens in 2017-18 and gives us a lot more depth in this position.
With Murray and Antti Niemi in Pittsburgh and Jarry and DeSmith at Wilkes-Barrie/Scranton—not to mention Gustavsson waiting overseas in Sweden—the Pens are looking very solid in goal.
This is one area where the future looks bright indeed.
Ah, if only our defense looked as good! Along those lines, I would love to have the second overall D-men drafted in 2013 and 2016. Tampa Bay’s Mikhail Sergachev and Edmonton’s Darnell Nurse sure would look good wearing the black and gold!
Thanks for reading…