AHL (goalie) Update

I am going to have a little look at some of the goalies making noise in the AHL this season.

In my Bulldogs article on Saturday, I mentioned Cedrick Desjardins’ shutout streak. Although they lost in OT to the Marlies on Saturday, his personal streak is still going at 158.51. Curtis Sanford played on Saturday. The only way he will see time in the NHL is if Jaroslav Halak leaves or he is traded from the Canadiens.

Now into his second full season as starter of the Manchester Monarchs, Jonathan Bernier is still hailed as the best goaltending prospect in the NHL. I really believe that while Jonathan Quick has been good for the Kings, they are just waiting until Bernier is ready to take the reigns. That thought was furthered by the fact that Quick was extended for three years at only $1.8 million; hardly the numbers of a starting goalie in the League. If Quick were to go down with an injury, I would not be surprised to see Bernier start immediately over Ersberg.

Washington just continues to prove their skill at the draft table. Eleven spots after taking Simeon Varlamov in the 2006 Entry Draft, they drafted Michael Neuvirth from the Czech Junior League. Unlike Varlamov, who only came over last season, Neuvirth came to North America right after being drafted. He is 10-5 for Hershey with a 1.99 GAA and 0.929 sv%. In all likelihood, Jose Theodore (UFA) will not be re-signed during the offseason, allowing there to be another goalie controversy in Washington.

While the ‘goalie of the future’ title in Florida belongs to Jacob Markstrom (31st overall in 2008), Alexander Salak is making waves with his play so far this season with the Rochester Americans. He is a staggering 15-1. If Clemmensen continues to struggle, or Vokoun goes down with an injury, Salak will likely be called up.

Former first round draft pick Cory Schneider has now begun his third season in the AHL and is off to a decent start, 12-7 with 0.911%. I can’t see him wanting to back up Roberto Luongo for the next 10 years, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he is moved as soon as this trade deadline. The Canucks have not put it all together this season and will likely be one of the teams fighting for a playoff spot come March.

I can’t go through this without mentioning how the Wings prospects are doing. Chris Osgood is a UFA after next season at which time he will be 38. Although he may sign a one or two year deal with the Red Wings at that point, I can’t see them going with him as their starter after next season (or even next season).  For the first time in a long time, the Wings will have some cap room heading into this summer, so they could try to land a free agent on a one year deal. Jimmy Howard has not yet developed into what they thought he would, but they also have two solid goalies playign for Grand Rapids. Daniel Larsson won the Rookie of the year and the goalie of the year award for the SEL in 2008, and is in his second season with the Griffins. Backing him up is the Wings last first round pick, Thomas McCollum. He is the new Jimmy Howard in the system, and their moves in the future will likely depend on his development.

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