With both Mike Smith and Anders Lindback out for significant time, prospect Niklas Treutle has been called up from the AHL to back up Louis Domingue. Who is this newcomer to the American game, and can he play in the NHL?
Mike Smith long term Coyotes netminder sustained an injury earlier in the year that he played through for several months before undergoing surgery in December.
Smith was certainly the clear number one going into camp and beyond due to his play, experience, and contract. His injury opened the door for Anders Lindback, who was brought in over the offseason to back up Smith. Last week Lindback suffered an off-ice injury prior to the game vs the Canadians. Lindback injured his achilles tendon while stretching before the game, leading the Coyotes to call in banker Nathan Schoenfeld to serve as emergency goaltender.
Niklas Treutle was called up the next day to back up Domingue. Prior to his injury, Lindback seemed to have lost his “starting” job to Louis Domingue who made his debut last year, and had played well. The team wanted Domingue to get more ice time then he would behind Smith, leading to him starting the season in the minors. Domingue played in seven games last season, starting four with a record of 2-1-1. He certainly could be the goaltender of the future, but he is not ready for the full rigors of the NHL schedule. Mike Smith is still “aways away” according to both Head Coach Dave Tippett and General Manager Mike Maloney. Lindback has been placed on Injured Reserve and will miss the remainder of the season. With both of them out, Treutle could see a similar stat line to Domingue’s last year.
Who is this Niklas Treutle?
Treutle was born in Nuremburg, Germany and has spent seven seasons playing professionally in Europe, mostly in the DEL. He has the size to play at the NHL level at 6’2” and 190 lbs. and he has been quoted several times as saying he prefers the North American style of game. He was signed in July, after Louis Domingue was originally expected to spend the season in Europe himself. Treutle was the best statistical goalie in the DEL last season posting a 2.06 GAA and .923 Save Percentage. Once signed he focused on making the transition, rooming with Shane Doan in Scottsdale and attending as many voluntary skating sessions as possible. It was expected for Treutle to get most of the starts for the club in the AHL, but with Domingue resigning late in the summer those plans changed. In September, many experts anticipated that Treutle would overtake Domingue as the AHL starter by seasons end and would clearly be the Coyotes goaltender of the future by seasons end.
— PHPA (@thephpa) February 22, 2016
Treutle saw his first NHL action Saturday night against the Blues. He was called in to relieve Domingue after he allowed four early goals. He should get his first start soon; however, the Coyotes tend to handle their top prospects with kid gloves and his time in the NHL could be short if Mike Smith can make his return.