When the Ottawa 67’s acquired Michael DiPietro prior to the OHL trade deadline, they believed they found the final piece of a Memorial Cup puzzle. The decision to go all-in on one of the NHL’s top goaltending prospects is paying off.
DiPietro has posted a 2.26 goals against average and a .913 save percentage through 12 games, helping the 67’s sweep their way to the OHL Final. The team is awaiting the winner of the Saginaw Spirit and Guelph Storm to determine who they’ll play for the J. Ross Robertson Cup.
Ottawa’s run through the playoffs has been ridiculously impressive. While sweeping the eighth-seeded Hamilton Bulldogs in the first round of the playoffs wasn’t overly surprising, sweeping the Sudbury Wolves and Oshawa Generals, two teams who had 43 and 44 wins on the season respectively, was a wild feat.
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) April 25, 2019
Heading into next season, DiPietro will be in the mix for the starting gig on the Canucks’ AHL team in Utica. Barring some kind of unforeseen change, the Canucks will roll with Jacob Markstrom as their starting goalie and Thatcher Demko as his backup as the rookie eases into the NHL. That would leave DiPietro competing with Jake Kielly and possibly another veteran for playing time in the AHL.
Canucks goalies are signed, in Utica I see Michael DiPietro, Jake Kielly and possibly another veteran AHL goalie battling for 2 jobs. Not sure I see Richard Bachman in the picture although he has 1 year left on his deal.
— Rick Dhaliwal (@DhaliwalSports) April 24, 2019
Richard Bachman is currently under contract with the Canucks for one more season. Due to injuries, Bachman played just nine games for the Comets, posting an 0.884 save percentage. Kielly, an undrafted NCAA free agent who inked a two-year entry-level deal in April, is coming off a very strong season in which he posted a 0.929 save percentage for Clarkson University.
If the Canucks don’t want to have two rookie goalies in the AHL at the same time, they could keep Bachman around and start one of DiPietro or Kielly in the ECHL. While playing in the ECHL is a bit of a death sentence for position players, it isn’t the same deal for goalies. For example, in 2007-08, Jonathan Quick started in the ECHL, worked his way up to the AHL, and then finally got into three games for the Los Angeles Kings before taking over the net at the NHL level the next season.