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Photo Credit: © Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Michael DiPietro doesn’t care what you think: CanucksArmy prospect rankings #3

We’ve been licking our chops at the opportunity to write this prospect profile.

Michael DiPietro is most known to casual Canucks fans as the 19-year-old who was recalled on an emergency basis after some fumbling and an untimely waiver pickup caused the Canucks to lose goaltender Mike McKenna just days after trading for him.

DiPietro is deadset on making sure everyone knows that he’s not the same goaltender he was back then, and Canucks fans have every reason to believe him.

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Since that less than ideal start to his NHL career, DiPietro has received the in-depth coaching and guidance of Curtis Sanford and Ian Clark and has revolutionized himself as a goaltender.

He looks calmer and more confident in the crease and works tirelessly to incorporate the techniques and tweaks that Sanford and Clark suggest to him.

“You start showing him video of himself,” Sanford told CanucksArmy. “And then you start showing him video of other guys, and you start allowing it to make sense to him. Like organically, he’s going to have that figuring out process, and he’s going to be the one that makes that decision whether it’s like, ‘yeah I’m all in,’ or ‘oh I’m not sure,’ and maybe he gets halfway there and he reverts back. We never had that with Michael. What it was was like, ‘I get it. I get it I see it and I get it. I’m gonna do this,’ and he was all in right from the beginning.”

That buy-in and work ethic has caused DiPietro to garner some high praise and some pretty great comparisons.

“I’ve worked with some of the hardest working goaltenders probably in the history of the game,” said Ian Clark. “Roberto Luongo is an incredible worker, Sergei Bobrovsky — his work habits are legendary — and to be honest with you Mike DiPietro’s work habits are certainly right up there with some of the top goalies and top workers that I’ve had the privilege of working with. He certainly has all of those attributes in spades.”

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The main technical improvements DiPietro has made have mainly been in his stance, namely, his chest angle.

“They used to joke around with me that nobody knew what team I played for because you couldn’t see the crest of my jersey,” a laughing DiPietro told CanucksArmy.

Aside from chest angle, DiPietro’s movement has become noticeably more efficient, and his strong positional awareness has allowed him to perform exceptionally well at the AHL level.

Although he didn’t appear in a game until last season — he got four in with the Utica Comets after being stapled to the taxi squad all season long — DiPietro is as motivated and confident as ever to prove people who say he needs more time in the AHL wrong.

“I’ve been lucky enough — with help obviously — I’ve been able to adapt quickly and adapt these new concepts quickly into my game and on the fly,” DiPietro told CanucksArmy. “I’m hungry to continue to get better so you know I laugh at people when they think they know what’s best for me, because at the end of the day, I don’t play hockey to be second best or play in the second-best league. My dream is to play in the NHL. If I just go to camp and concede and just be like, ‘okay, well I’m going to the American Hockey League, let’s just kind of run through the motions,’ then I shouldn’t even be at camp.”

“My job at camp is to make it hard on them and to show them what I’m about. You know you can use my age and say ‘oh you’re still young, you can still grow, you can have time in the American league this season.’ I’m not delicate. I’m not 19 anymore. I’m not that same goalie who let in seven goals against the San Jose Sharks at 19. I’m a mature young adult and I’m here to make it hard on them and I know what’s best for me at the end of the day, and like Clarkie and Sandman always says, you’re your best goalie coach and they can only help you along the way.”

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While Jaroslav Halak’s full NMC will certainly make it hard on DiPietro to remain with the big club out of training camp, the young goaltender says all the right things and is somebody the organization is clearly high on.

There’s also perhaps nobody more confident in DiPietro’s abilities than himself, and that’s exactly what you want to see out of any young prospect.

Previous Rankings Articles:

15. Lucas Forsell, W
14. Arturs Silovs, G
13. Viktor Persson, RD

12. Arvid Costmar, C/RW

11. Hugo Gabrielson, LD/RD

10. Dmitri Zlodeyev, C
9. Joni Jurmo, LD
8. Jonah Gadjovich, LW
7. Jett Woo, RD
6. Aidan McDonough, LW
5. Will Lockwood, RW
4. Danila Klimovich, RW

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