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Canucks Goalie DiPietro a Prospect or a Trade Chip? Or Both?

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Vancouver Canucks, St. Louis Blues
Vancouver Canucks goalie Michael DiPietro took the 3-1 loss on January 23rd, 2022 to the St. Louis Blues in his 2nd career NHL start.

Someone from the Vancouver Canucks would have said it, you’ve heard it dozens of times over the years from people all over hockey, “you can never have enough goaltending.”

Well guess what? Most NHL teams don’t have enough quality netminders in their organizational depth charts, let alone the ones that don’t even have enough at the NHL level. Teams are always looking, that’s why depending on how the goalie battles for the Vancouver Canucks shake out in camp, if we even get that far with all of the goalies, we could see one of them moved as a valuable commodity.

It probably wouldn’t be a straight-up stand alone deal, it would more likely be an accompaniment as part of a bigger deal. Like Michael DiPietro for example, in on a trade for a defenceman, or maybe with a high profile forward we may or may not have heard rumours about. A goalie who helps push a transaction across the finish line, whatever the player and cash elements might be for a deal.

“I still see a ton of upside in Michael DiPietro,” said Kevin Woodley of InGoal Magazine and NHL.com. “I’m biased, I’ve always been a fan. I saw the steps he took on his own to make improvements in his game since he was drafted out of juniors. He’s not even close to the same goalie, he’s so much better, and I think he’s added a lot of tools and had a lot of different voices over the years and now it’s just time to grab hold of his foundation and just go out there and execute.”

The Canucks selected DiPietro in the 3rd-round of the 2017 NHL Draft. He found success at the AHL level when the team was located in Utica, New York. He’s 0-and-2 in the NHL with three appearances spread over four seasons. His lone NHL start last season came on January 23rd, a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues in a game in which he saw only 17 shots.

One could argue that with Thatcher Demko and Spencer Martin presently at the top of the chart, with Martin having to lock-down the back-up role in camp, and with Collin Delia, DiPietro and Arturs Silovs all legitimate competitors for two spots in Abbotsford, somethings gotta give. The Vancouver Canucks presently don’t have an ECHL affiliate to drop further prospects, last season they essentially loaned Silovs to Trois-Rivieres at that level for ten games.

Maybe that gives the Canucks a little wiggle room to move a netminder, while others might say not so fast.

“I have high hopes for Michael DiPietro at the end of the day,” said Vancouver Canucks goalie coach Ian Clark. “Mike DiPietro is an incredible worker, an incredible competitor, we know all these things, these are all well documented. From the standpoint of his broken progression, structurally and all those things that you measure, he’s done a nice job. I think he got a little bit caught behind the eight ball last year and had to recover from that which he did nicely in the second half, and as you saw, we qualified him and we still think very highly of him.”

DiPietro and Martin basically split the games in Abbotsford last season.

This conversation took place during Vancouver Canucks Development Camp just before the franchise added Delia from the Blackhawks. So much for pencilling in DiPietro and Silovs.

See where this is going? The club has given itself options. By the way, they also have two more recent goalie draftees who won’t factor in for a year or two or three.

“At the end of the day, whether you’re Thatcher Demko or Michael DiPietro or Arturs Silovs, or any of these guys, you’ve got to stop pucks,” Clark said. That’s all I can say, stop more pucks. We didn’t make the playoffs last year, so they actually need to stop more pucks.”

It’s good to have options, for puck stopping and deal making.

The name of the game is goalie.

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