On Saturday goaltender Troy Grosenick was added to the Edmonton Oilers active roster, amid speculation that the career minor-leaguer could make just the third start of his National Hockey League career on Sunday when the Oilers host the Ottawa Senators.
Edmonton claimed Grosenick off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings on Jan. 16. The 31-year-old native of Brookfield, Wisconsin, had since been in mandatory quarantine before becoming eligible to play. He dressed as Mikko Koskinen’s backup for Edmonton’s 4-3 overtime victory over the visiting Toronto on Saturday.
Having manned the crease for all 10 Oilers games thus far, Koskinen could use a night off. The veteran goalie made 26 saves against the Leafs, picking up his fourth win of 2020-21.
Here are five things to know about Edmonton’s newest netminder.
He’s Part of NHL History
Grosenick is one of only 25 goalies ever to make his NHL debut with a shutout, backstopping the San Jose Sharks to a 4-0 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 16, 2014. At the time, it was only the 22nd time an NHL goalie debuted with a goose egg. Grosenick also set the record for most saves in a debut shutout with 45.
The goalie’s family was in the crowd in Raleigh, N.C., and his father’s reaction provided a touching moment for the night’s sports highlight shows.
Grosenick originally signed with the Sharks as an undrafted free-agent in 2013 and had been playing for their American Hockey League affiliate in Worchester. His opportunity came early in the 2014-15 season when he was recalled after Sharks goalie Alex Stalock was placed on the injured list.
Grosenick made his second start for San Jose on Nov. 18 in Buffalo, where he stopped 10 of 13 shots in a 4-1 loss to the Sabres. Shortly after, Grosenick was placed on injured reserve with an upper-body injury, then sent back down to Worcester. He hasn’t taken the ice for an NHL game since.
He’s Accustomed to Moving
After spending most of the first five years of his professional career in the Sharks organization, Grosenick has been on the move quite a bit, beginning on Feb. 25, 2018, when San Jose dealt him to the Nashville Predators.
Grosenick spent the remainder of 2017-18 and all of the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons playing for Nashville’s AHL affiliate, the Milwaukee Admirals. He’s now changed teams twice since he last played a game; Grosenick signed as a free agent with the Kings in October, dressed as a backup for their season opener against Minnesota on Jan. 14, then got picked up by the Oilers two days later.
Grosenick reportedly drove to Edmonton because the quarantine time involved in crossing the border by car for an NHL player is less than if arriving by flight. (From ‘Oilers Trying to Deal With Goaltending Conundrum’, Edmonton Sun, 01/19/21).
He was on the ice with his new teammates for the first time Friday.
He Has Plenty of Hardware
Just last season, with the Admirals, Grosenick shared in the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award (given to the goaltenders on the team with the fewest goals allowed in the AHL) and earned the Yanick Dupre Memorial Award as the AHL Man of the Year, recognizing his efforts in the Milwaukee community.
Those are just the latest additions to a trophy case that includes the Baz Bastien Memorial Award, given to the AHL’s outstanding goaltender, in 2016-17. While playing at Union College, Grosenick received the Ken Dryden Award for 2011-12 as the Goalie of the Year in the Eastern Colleges Athletic Conference.
Grosenick was also selected as an AHL First Team All-Star (2017) and named to the ECEC Hockey First Team (2012). He was a three-time ECAC Hockey All-Academic Team member and Union’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year as both a sophomore and a junior.
He Used to Be a RoughRider
No, he didn’t play football in Saskatchewan, and he wasn’t part of DMX’s crew back in the day, but before he went to Union College, Grosenick played his junior hockey with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.
He had a combined record of 39-19-6 over two seasons, 2008-09 and 2009-10, with the Iowa-based USHL team, and was an All-Star selection in his second year.
Dozens of RoughRiders alumni have reached the NHL, including the aforementioned Stalock and one-time Edmonton forward Teddy Purcell, who played 143 games with the Oilers in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
He’s a Pretty Decent Golfer
During a Reign On The Record podcast appearance in October, Grosenick revealed he’s an avid golfer, who despite not getting on the course as much as usual last summer, maintained a handicap of around 7 or 8
Grosenick’s for the links is something he shares with the greatest Oilers goalie, Hockey Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr, who has golfed in events on the Korn Ferry Tour and the MacKenzie Tour.
Should he get the nod against Ottawa, Grosenick would become the 59th different goaltender all-time to appear in an NHL regular season game for the Oilers, and the first other than Koskinen or Mike Smith to start for the Oilers since the 2018-19 season.
Brian is an Edmonton-based sports writer and broadcaster. His experience includes working as a sports reporter for the Edmonton Sun, where he covered the Edmonton Oil Kings 2013-14 Memorial Cup championship season.