Canucks: What does a extra crowded crease imply for Michael DiPietro’s future?

Fabrizio Guteres

DiPietro, 23, would not have a lot commerce worth however his agent reportedly has permission to assist discover a deal for his consumer

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This a lot we do know.

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Groups require 10 defencemen able to contributing on the Nationwide Hockey League stage to get by any season that invitations detached play, accidents and sudden circumstances — together with COVID-19 variants of concern which have ravaged rosters.

Groups additionally want 5 goaltenders of their organizations who undertaking in a considerably comparable method.

“5 goalies isn’t a luxurious — it’s a necessity,” a senior NHL insider advised Postmedia on Sunday. “Louis Domingue has made a profession out of it. You’re all the time one damage away from needing to signal that fifth man to again up your AHL staff.”

Domingue, 30, signed a two-year, US$1.550 million free-agent contract Wednesday to affix a five-goalie carousel with the New York Rangers that features former Canucks backup Jaroslav Halak, 37.

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For Domingue, it’s his seventh profession NHL cease which featured one notorious recreation with Vancouver in 2019-20 when Jacob Markstrom suffered a knee damage earlier than the commerce deadline. On March 1, 2020 at Columbus, the Canucks blew a 3-1 lead with 7:29 remaining within the third interval and fell 5-3.

Michael DiPietro played just three NHL career games and has fallen down the Canucks’ pecking order.
Michael DiPietro performed simply three NHL profession video games and has fallen down the Canucks’ pecking order. Photograph by Wealthy Lam /PNG

Which brings up the calamitous and curious case of Michael DiPietro, who accepted his one-year, qualifying provide Saturday from the Canucks that may pay him US$840,000 on the NHL stage and a sobering US$70,000 within the minors.

DiPietro is one in every of 5 stoppers underneath contract with the Canucks to make a aggressive or supportive distinction right here, or with the American Hockey League affiliate in Abbotsford. Nevertheless, his newest wild roller-coaster journey and plunge within the group pecking order might put the hard-working and hard-luck 23-year-old NHL prospect at a profession crossroads.

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DiPietro did sport a 15-13-4 file, 2.95 goals-against common and .901 saves share in 34 AHL video games final season. There was an encouraging six-game win streak in April adopted by brutal 7-1 and 6-0 shellings to shut out his common season after which no playoff appearances.

He was additionally handed by Spencer Martin and Arturs Silovs as prospect priorities and NHL veteran Collin Delia, 28, was acquired in free company Wednesday and signed a one-year, one-way, US$750,000 deal.

What does this all imply for the extra crowded crease?

Thatcher Demko is in a fantastic place. The starter received married Saturday and even sported high-top Converse runners to salute his union in prelude to splitting the NHL cage with Martin subsequent season.

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Silovs and DiPietro might be the duo in Abbotsford with Delia the insurance coverage coverage at each ranges. Or, DiPietro might be the odd man on the market and dealt, however his worth has diminished and there wouldn’t be a lot of a return. Then once more, his agent reportedly has permission to assist the Canucks discover a deal for his consumer.

The Canucks even have two stoppers within the improvement hopper with a pair of fifth-round decide tasks — Finnish U20 Aku Koskenvuo (2021) and Ty Younger (2022) from the Prince George Cougars (WHL) — and Koskenvuo is headed to Harvard subsequent fall.

Historical past dictates that fortunes can change.

Martin began final season fifth on the depth chart and didn’t play till Abbotsford’s seventh recreation. He then put collectively a exceptional 19-4-2 regular-season with a 2.43 GAA and a .914 saves share. A brief however strong ebook of labor with the NHL Canucks — 3-0-3, 1.74 GAA., .950 saves share — bought the staff on his future price with a two-year contract.

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In the meantime, DiPietro has solely recognized odd circumstances.

The third-round 2017 draft decide captured a Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires, however his NHL debut on Feb. 12, 2019 towards the high-octane San Jose Sharks at Rogers Enviornment was not one for the scrapbook or the administration reminiscence financial institution. 

With Markstrom struggling lower-body stiffness in his earlier begin — and Demko out with a knee ailment — the trickle-down impact of poor planning fed DiPietro to the wolves. He wasn’t able to face the league’s second-highest scoring staff and was usually hopelessly out of place in a 7-2 rout. Markstrom did handle to be the again up however wasn’t match to play.

The mentally-draining and COVID-afflicted 2020-21 season pressured DiPietro to solely observe endlessly on the NHL stage. He might have been labelled a ‘Shooter Tutor’ as a result of he performed only one NHL recreation that marketing campaign and 4 late-season AHL contests with the Utica Comets.

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There was additionally a circus that season when DiPietro was despatched to Utica to get some video games and the Canucks had been in a conundrum in Ottawa.

Demko had suffered a lower-body damage throughout a morning skate. Silovs was summoned to again up Braden Holtby, and relying on severity of the damage, DiPietro might have been advised to fly again to Vancouver and quarantine and be a tandem possibility.

If that wasn’t sufficient, AHL protocols required DiPietro to quarantine for 3 days earlier than taking part in in Utica.

The checks of mettle taught DiPietro to roll with the emotional punches in not figuring out what was coming subsequent.

“Because the (2020-21) went on, it was extraordinarily arduous,” DiPietro advised Postmedia on the time. “You’re skating and figuring out, however you don’t really feel such as you’re part of the staff. I received one or two call-ups and then you definately’re again down and it’s the toughest factor I’ve ever needed to do mentally.

“I went by each completely different emotion — pissed off, joyful and unhappy — and I needed to lean on my mental-strength coach rather a lot.”

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