If you’re a Canucks fan who follows the club’s prospects closely, chances are, you’re not exactly high on Michael DiPietro anymore.
And if you’re a more casual fan whose only opinions of DiPietro stem from what you’ve seen from him at the NHL level, then you’re almost certainly not a fan of DiPietro.
It’s been an up and down season for DiPietro, to say the least.
After spending most of last season on the big club’s taxi squad and unable to get into game action for over a full calendar year, DiPietro struggled to find his footing this year.
The technical improvements in his game that came from working with Ian Clark in practice for a full year were apparent right from training camp, but the on-ice results weren’t there for DiPietro.
Advertisement
Ad
Once tabbed by both Jim Benning and Abbotsford Canucks GM Ryan Johnson as a goalie who would log around 50 games this season in Abbotsford, DiPietro was quickly forced to share the crease with fellow prospect Arturs Silovs, along with Spencer Martin.
Martin quickly established himself as the best goaltender in Abbotsford, and against all odds, received a two-year contract from the big club as a result.
He’s almost certainly going to be the backup for the Vancouver Canucks next season, but in the meantime, he’s still dominating with Abbotsford.
Or, he was dominating in Abbotsford, we should say — as Martin was called up earlier this week after a hand injury sidelined Jaroslav Halak.
Martin’s .914 save percentage ranks in the top 15 league-wide, and his GAA of 2.43 is the 10th best in the league.
Advertisement
Ad
The Abbotsford Canucks are on a seven-game winning streak, thanks in part to Martin’s play, but also the play of Michael DiPietro. The baby Canucks are playing for playoff seeding at this point, and are going to be relying on DiPietro to get them as high up in the standings as possible to get that coveted home-ice advantage deep into the playoffs.
DiPietro and Martin have been splitting starts for roughly the past month down in Abbotsford, and while both goaltenders have shown well, it’s been DiPietro who is quickly changing the perception of him after an up and down season.
Since February 27th, DiPietro has amassed an extremely impressive .927 save percentage over his past 12 starts, and has gotten his season save percentage up to .909 and his GAA down to 2.70, which ranks 17th in the league.
Advertisement
Ad
There’s a serious possibility that DiPietro gets the final four starts of the season for Abbotsford before Spencer Martin returns from the big club once Vancouver’s season is over.
If DiPietro keeps up his strong play, it will be extremely interesting to see how the Abbotsford coaching staff decides who should start playoff games.
Regardless, DiPietro is finishing the season strong, and setting himself up for a big comeback season next year, where he will try to emerge as the undisputed number one AHL starter once again.