2016-17 Team: Muskegon Lumberjacks (#29)
Date of Birth: February 9, 1999
Place of Birth: Wilbraham, Massachusetts
Ht.: 6’6” Wt.: 190 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2017 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 2 (NA Goalies, Final)
- NHL Central Scouting: 1 (NA Goalies, Mid-term)
- Bob McKenzie: 41 (Mid-season)
- Craig Button: 66 (March)
- Jeff Marek: Unranked (October)
- ISS: Unranked (May)
As a rookie, Muskegon Lumberjacks goalie Keith Petruzzelli made history.
Competing in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, Petruzzelli became the first goalie to be named MVP at the event. He entered the showcase with 27 minutes remaining and didn’t allow a goal, turning aside 21 shots to become the top performer for Team East.
NHL Central Scouting’s No. 1-ranked North American goalie at mid-season, Petruzzeli also scored what is believed to be the first goal by a goalie in the 57-year history of Muskegon’s L.C. Walker Arena. Petruzzelli was the first USHL netminder to score since 2010.
— Muskegon Lumberjacks (@MuskegonJacks) April 11, 2017
With size and athleticism to handle the puck in the corners, Petruzzelli’s unique skill set enables him to ignite breakouts with crisp outlet passes. As Quinnipiac University’s first recruit to ever be ranked No. 1 on any professional list, Petruzzelli is arguably the highest ranked prospect to ever commit to the program.
In his first season as a starter with the Lumberjacks, Petruzzelli went 22-10-0-1, with a 2.40 GAA and .918 save percentage. Among USHL rookie goalies, he ranked first in wins and save percentage.
NHL Draft Projection
At 6’6, and still growing, Petruzzelli offers NHL clubs a different vantage point. His size allows him to look over traffic in the crease. Anchored by a landmark USHL rookie campaign, insiders view him as a second- or third-round selection.
“I was totally surprised he tried (to score a goal). It’s special for Keith and the players. I like when players have a chance to celebrate something special.” – Lumberjacks General Manager John Vanbiesbrouck, a 21-year NHL goalie who never scored a goal
“Like Coach said when we won the game, he is the best goalie in the world. He is unbelievable and it just shows that he can win games on his own. When we are not there, he can back us up.” – D.J. Petruzzelli, brother and former teammate
- Net Coverage
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Controlling Rebounds
- Maintaining Consistency
Teen-aged goalies are generally raw. Regardless of being ranked first in central scouting or last, drafting a goalie is a calculated gamble. Petruzzelli is no different, but his size provides a net-coverage asset modern GMs covet. Deft at handling the puck, he could be a quality addition to deepen an NHL organization’s depth chart.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 3/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Goaltender – 7.5/10
Keith Petruzzelli earned USHL All-Rookie First Team honors and was named USHL Co-Goaltender of the Week on Jan. 23. Last May, he earned an invitation to attend the Warren Strelow National Team Goaltending Camp.
Jeff Hawkins is a career sportswriter who has collected eight industry awards, including two Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) honors. Hawkins has served as a beat writer for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and UHL’s Adirondack IceHawks. A husband and father, Hawkins enjoys live music, hiking, New York-style pizza with Dr. Pepper, and writing with his golden Labrador retriever “mutt” cuddled around his feet.