Canucks sign 18-year-old goaltending prospect Michael DiPietro

May 31 2018, 6:21 pm

If Thatcher Demko is the Canucks’ goaltender of the future, then Michael DiPietro is the goalie of the future’s future.

DiPietro signed his first professional contract on Thursday, inking a three-year entry-level deal with the Canucks. The 18-year-old had another fine season after Vancouver drafted him in the third round of last year’s draft.

The 6-foot-0, 200-pound netminder led the OHL in shutouts (7), and finished fourth in the league in save percentage (.910) and third in goals against average (2.79). Playing behind a team that wasn’t nearly as good as the one he won a Memorial Cup with in 2017, DiPietro’s play earned him OHL Goaltender of the Year honours.

The Amherstburg, Ontario native got a nice surprise at season’s end when he was asked to represent Canada at the IIHF World Championships. Though he was never going to appear in game action as Canada’s third goaltender, it was still a nice feather in his cap – not to mention a valuable opportunity to rub shoulders with the likes of Connor McDavid, Ryan O’Reilly, and future Canucks teammate Bo Horvat.

After being the final goaltender cut from Canada’s World Junior team in December, expect DiPietro to be the team’s starter at this year’s tournament in Vancouver and Victoria. Next season will be his final year of junior hockey, after which DiPietro is destined for Utica, taking Demko’s place assuming he’s ready for the NHL by then.

Beyond that, a Canucks goalie controversy perhaps? This is Vancouver, after all.

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