After a week off, the hot-stove is back in action. This week the hot-stove takes a look at the most underrated goaltenders in the OHL.
Joining me this week is Phil Phillips, John Duncan and Brandon Sudeyko.
In my opinion the most underrated goaltender in the Ontario Hockey League is Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Garret Sparks of the Guelph Storm. When you talk about top goaltenders in the OHL, his name almost never pops up, but when you look at the statistics you see him right in the mix with the best of the best. Sparks is 5th among OHL goaltenders in save percentage with an impressive .920 rating. On top of that Sparks leads the league in wins. While many view him as a good OHL goalie, he is still underrated because despite his sparkling numbers, he’s not often mentioned in the same group as the likes of Malcolm Subban, John Gibson and Jordan Binnington.
The most underrated goalie in the OHL is Tyson Teichmann of the Mississauga Steelheads.
Very few 19 year olds goalies aspire to be a back up and I'm sure Tyson is no different. He knows that Spencer Martin is an emerging NHL draft eligible star in the OHL and if Martin's development continues Spencer will see the bulk of the games down the stretch. But this pick isn't based on stats or games played. Its based on the unseen things that Tyson brings to his team. Number one would be experience, Tyson has played in both the Eastern and Western Conferences and has been to every building, he's seen every shooter, he knows how to prepare for whatever can come your way on game day, something that not just Martin, but all young players can benefit from.
Tyson's career hasn't gone the way anyone thought it would, there have been highs and lows and he has handled both very well. Last season Tyson didn't play a lot in the London Knights championship run but he was there and taking it all in and watching CHL goaltender of the year Michael Houser prepare. This spring when the Steelheads enter the post season it doesn't matter if Tyson is helping Spencer prepare or preparing himself to play, the Steelheads will benefit from Teichmann's playoff experiences.
Spencer Martin is in his draft year and as his play improves so does the pressure, again Tyson Teichmann knows about pressure and can mentor him as he deals with it. Teichmann was an OHL 1st Rd draft pick. And he handled all the pressure that comes with having that accomplishment but for added pressure Tyson was the first ever Belleville born player selected by the Bulls in the 1st round of the OHL draft and was also the first-ever netminder chosen by the Bulls in the first round, not to mention his dad is also a former Bull. Tyson knows his role and fills it very well, he is what every team needs a quality veteran. Tyson's numbers haven't been steller in the OHL. But like I said this pick was about Teichmann's intangibles and not his numbers or stats because he brings way more to the table for the Steelheads. He's a good teammate, fans love him, he's a great community guy, and a player with his experiences is priceless to Jame Boyd and his staff. Just because he doesn't play every day or isn't the number one guy what he does bring is just as important but can over looked, but as we know the numbers don't always tell the whole story.
My choice for the OHL's most underrated goalie is Charlie Graham of the Belleville Bulls, otherwise known as Malcolm Subban's backup. Charlie was chosen in the 7th Round of the 2011 OHL priority selection, from the Don Mills Flyers, and was one of two goalies selected by the Bulls in that draft. The other goalie, Braydon Banitsiotis, selected in the 15th and last round, will back up Graham for the time that Subban will be with Team Canada's World Junior team.
Graham was one of 6 goalies used by the Wellington Dukes of the OJHL, and as a 16 year old, got into 14 games, and posted a 2.35 GAA, and a 0.923 Save %. He appeared in 12 games with the Bulls in his rookie year, as well. This year Graham is clearly the backup, but has done everything that Coach and GM Burnett has asked of him. He has posted similar, light's out, numbers that he posted in Wellington, and has been ready when called on, which hasn't been easy. He has a 3-2-1 record in 6 games, with a 2.45 GAA, and 0.930 Save %, on an offensively challenged, Bulls team. Most recently, he beat the nationally ranked, Owen Sound Attack team in their own barn, 4-2. Graham was outstanding, as he stopped 40 of 42 shots.
It remains to be seen how Graham will stand up in this next stretch, starting tonight, at Scotiabank Place in Kanata, against the 67s, but I believe that Charlie will rise to the occasion and keep the Bulls rolling.
I am torn on this question because you can break this down into a few sub groups. You can make it of the drafted, undrafted or backups, then do you include OA’s or 16 year old rookies… many ways to go with this Q and I will simplify it to the most underrated goaltender meaning he had to have had some success in his OHL career yet still not spoken about. Given that explanation, I am going with Saginaw Spirit goaltender and Detroit Red Wings prospect Jake Paterson.
First of all without looking at his stats, I think his play speaks to how good of a goaltender he is. Very strong on the bottom of the net, likes to sit at the top of the crease, almost as good as Subban when going from post to post, a quick glove and just doesn’t back down from the shooter. He is young enough to still have bad habits, but what you notice is that you don’t see him make those same ‘mistakes’ twice. Mentally he is mature enough to recognize that it won’t be the last goal he ever lets in, so forget it and move on. The only knock I have on his progression is that he graduated from Lorne Park Secondary School… a story for another day.
For the stat geeks, I urge you to not focus on stats when it comes to goalies. Very misleading. But if you do insist on statistical evidence… Paterson sits third in the OHL when it comes to saves made this season. In 1581 minutes or 26.35 games this season he has made 837 saves or 31.8 saves a game. Pretty good for an 18 year old that faces over 35 shots a game on average. His Win/Loss record is not indicative of his ability and although I don’t put full stock in a GAA I will conceed that it should be closer to 3 than it currently is at 3.49 currently. The long and short of it is this. When his team needs him to stand tall because the opponent is too over powering or they may be fatigued from a 3 in 2.5 weekend. Paterson stands tall and battles for every bit of rubber to give his team the chance to win. And that in the end is what you want, and that is why I believe he is the most underrated goaltender in the OHL.