The last few days have brought a lot of news around the prospect world. The Toronto Maple Leafs brought back a depth defenseman and the Peterborough Petes received a commitment from one of their top prospects. We also look at a goalie who could be a revelation in a few years for our Prospect of the Day.
Maple Leafs Sign Kivihalme
Although the Maple Leafs are busy gearing up towards the restart of hockey, that does not mean their front office has stopped making moves that will benefit them in the future.
On Saturday, the Maple Leafs announced that they signed defenseman Teemu Kivihalme to a two-year contract extension. The native of Cloquet, Minnesota, was originally drafted by the Nashville Predators in the fifth round, 140th overall in the 2013 NHL Draft.
KIvihalme spent this past season playing for the Toronto Marlies in the American Hockey League (AHL) where he scored 4 goals and added 14 assists for 18 points in 55 games played. Kivihalme could see some time with the Leafs in the future as rumors speculate that defensemen Cody Ceci and Tyson Barrie will leave come free agency.
Petes Sign Import Draft Selection Zanetti
The CHL Import Draft allows many teams to retool on the fly and add a prospect that could help the team in the present and the future. Fans are always excited to see who their respective team drafts and are even more excited when the player commits to the team.
Petes fans are certainly feeling that excitement as their team announced that first-round selection Brian Zanetti has committed to the team for the 2020-21 season. The Switzerland native spent this past season playing for Lugano U20 where he collected 27 points in 38 games played.
In the official press release, general manger Mike Oke said, “In speaking with Brian and his family since selecting him in the Import Draft a few weeks ago, he is excited about coming to Peterborough and playing for the Petes to continue his development.”
Zanetti is the first 2020 Petes Import Draft Selection to commit to the team as they also selected Latvian forward Kaspars Ziemins.
Prospect of the Day – Dylan Garand
The trajectory that goalies take during their development is one of the very few things that no one can anticipate, but we will take a look at one who has really good potential. Garand has spent the past two seasons playing for the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League (WHL). In his first season with the team, he posted a record of 11-7-1 to go along with a 2.94 goals against average (GAA) and a .902 save percentage (SV %) in 27 games played.
Garand was given the starter role this past season and ran with it. In 42 games played, he posted a record of 28-10-3 to go along with a GAA of 2.21 and a .921 SV%. Although he may not be the biggest goalie, standing at 6-foot-1, Garand has the raw athleticism that allows him to be efficient whenever he steps onto the ice.
Related – 2020 NHL Draft Guide
Our very own Dayton Reimer feels as though Garand may be pushed down the draft board due to his size but he does have potential.
“His biggest strength is arguably his glove hand, which can whip out and make highlight-reel worthy saves night after night. He’s also very patient in net and his positioning is strong, allowing him to move very little to get into the shooter’s lane. Down low, he’s very hard to beat and although he can leave a bit of room at the top, his quick glove can often cover up his mistakes.
But many scouts seem to have pushed Garand to the bottom of the class, largely due to his size. While height has become less of a factor among forwards and defensemen — see Alex DeBrincat and Quinn Hughes — it has become even more important with goalies. At 6-foot-1, Garand is considered by some to be too small for the NHL.”
At the end of the day, it is near impossible to predict the development of goalies as you never know how they will turn out. Garand has the potential to be good down the line but it is up to him to see whether or not he will ever make the NHL.