Jake Paterson - Rena Laverty
Hockey is a great sport isn't it? All the highlight reel goals, and downright dirty moves that some of these players make.. Who couldn't love it? What makes this sport so exciting? Is it the Sidney Crosbys or the Pavel Datsyuks? Sure, of course. But what REALLY gets the blood pumping for me, is good goal-tending. A goalie has the capability to take one of these talented puck-handling gurus and rob them of all their hopes and dreams of scoring that highlight reel goal. Great goaltenders have the ability to steal the game and essentially seal a victory for their team. But it's not all dazzling saves and flashing the leather. Even though you are confined to the crease and the trapezoid, if you play well as a goaltender, you essentially own every inch of the ice.
But it's not all larceny and highlight-caliber leather-flashing.. You truly have to be another breed of human being to be a goalie. Some would say you have to be completely out of your mind, and they're probably right. You're the last line of defense, you're the key to opening the door for the big win. You're the backbone. I mean it when I say that there is NO position in sports more admirable than goaltending.
Here in Detroit, we have gotten to see some pretty good goalies.. Dominik Hasek, Chris Osgood, Mike Vernon, Jimmy Howard... But what about the future? Who's going to be the nut-job to take over the paint in the foreseeable future? We all know about Petr Mrazek. He's fantastic. Amazing. Miraculous. So sexy.. Wait, what were we talking about again?
Back in the 2012 Draft, The Detroit Red Wings took Saginaw Spirit goaltender Jake Paterson 80th overall. Coming in at 6'1", 184 lbs this 19 year old Mississauga, Ontario native is quite the athlete. Wait what's that? A Canadian goalie? Y'KNOW IT'S ABOUT TIME WE GOT SOME GOOD OL' ONTARIO BOYS HERE IN DETR- *gets hit with rotten fruit*
Okay, okay, okay. Let's get down to business..
I had the pleasure of going to see Jake and the Saginaw Spirit take on the Plymouth Whalers on December 11th. Paterson entered the game with a record of 10-9-2, and a .898 SV%. Keep in mind this is the juniors, he's facing an average of 35-50 shots a night. So there is no shortage of goals being scored. This was a big game for Jake, as it is the last game before he must report to Toronto for World Juniors Camp. I got to have a chat with Jake after the game but first I'll recap the game real quick:
Jake slamming the door shut on Whalers forward Zach Lorentz
- Rena Laverty
This game was pretty one-sided. Saginaw dominated the game the entire time. Jake didn't even see his first shot until about 6:00 into the first period. His first real test came at about 14:00 when Plymouth went on the power play. Jake displayed great positioning and ability to eliminate open space in the crease. He shifts himself very well and navigates his area almost masterfully. He was very heavily screened the entire time and that didn't seem to phase him much. He wasn't afraid to give the opposing team a little nudge when they were getting too close. After the first period the score was 3-0 in favor of Saginaw even though the shots were favored by Plymouth at 13-10.
Jake has wonderful skating abilities. Wait, what's that? A goalie who can skate? That makes no sense, right? ENNNH. Wrong-o. Ask anyone who's been around the game for a while and they'll tell you that the best skaters on the team are often the GOALIES!! Weird concept, I know. Next time you're watching a goalie, just watch the kind of moves and shifts they need to make. It's not easy, folks. Especially when you're skating out to play the puck and you have a 200 lbs oaf of a forechecker coming to take your head off!
About 4:34 into the second period is when Jake gave up his first goal, and if you ask me, it was blatant goaltender interference. The player screening him was playing rough-house with him and decided to nudge him out of position which lead to a goal from the blue line. Jake didn't complain, or throw a fit. He picked the puck up, gave it to the ref, shook it off and got ready for the face off. I like that a lot. But at the end of two the score was 4-1 and the shots were 30-27 in favor of Saginaw.
The third period was probably Jake's biggest task. Saginaw started to get very relaxed and cute with the puck (sounds familiar) which resulted in some great chances for Plymouth. The Whalers scored their second and final goal of the game when Jake got hung out to dry on a 2 on 1 when Saginaw's defense got caught pinching. Again, showing no signs of distraught, Jake kept his composure and stayed strong after the goal.
The highlight of the game came at about 10:05 in the third period when Saginaw again got caught pinching and Plymouth broke out into a 2 on 1. Jake came out of the paint to challenge, the player crashing the net fed the puck to his fellow teammate in the slot for a one-timer, and Jake kept his eye on the puck to slide over to make a MAGNIFICENT save. Just stoned him. Jake Paterson? More like Make Saverson!!
*tap dances off stage*
Jake closed out the game making 35 saves and only allowing 2 goals giving him a .946 save percentage. If I had to compare Paterson to any current NHL goalie it would be Carey Price. He plays an almost similar game. Which is good, because Carey Price I guess is pretty good at goalie or something.
Anyways, after the game I got to talk to Jake and ask him some questions. Really nice kid, very humble, and kinda funny.
Kyle: Who would you say is your favorite player, current and past?
Jake: Tough to say, there are so many great goalies.. If I had to pick it would have to be Carey Price or Ryan Miller.. They just dominate the game. I grew up a Toronto fan so Curtis Joseph was always a guy I got to watch and idolized as a kid.
Kyle: What do you think it's going to take to create success as a goaltender in the NHL?
Jake: I just want to develop my game. It's important to understand that there are lots of things out of my hands like guys who are higher up on the list than I am.. So I right now it's working on my game and my mechanics to make me a better player.
Kyle: Which goalie did you click most with at Training Camp this year?
Jake: Petr Mrazek. He's a little bit older and has gone through the system, he gets it. He's extremely talented and watching him helped me a lot. Plus he's a cool guy to hang out with.
Probably good, seeing that Petr and Jake will be the Detroit goalie tandem some day, right? Right? RIGGGHHHT?!? :)
Kyle: This is a big year for you. It's your last year of juniors AND you are one of the top goalies for Team Canada in the World Juniors. How are you feeling about that?
Jake: I feel great. I think World Juniors is going to be a huge challenge. I went last year as the number three, and this year I have a shot at possibly winning the starting spot. Zach Fucale is a great goalie, so it's not going to be easy.. But I think it's just what I need to make myself a better hockey player.
Kyle: Do you speak with Jim Bedard on a regular basis?
Jake: I do, actually. I'm pretty fortunate to have him as my coach. He really cares about developing my game and not trying to change my style. I really respect that and am grateful to have such an awesome coach behind me.
What a guy, this Jake Paterson is. Young, talented, and determined. Jake's favorite things to do outside of hockey is play golf and go to his family's cottage. He likes anything with chicken or pasta and when I asked him about music he replied "I like everything, but mostly country." I am fairly convinced that Ken Holland has a list of musical preferences of all players at the draft because every one of these kids likes country. I see ya, Kenny.
Anyway, Jake is really good. Expect to see him moving up in the system next year, whether it be to the AHL or the ECHL.
Want to know more?
Here is Jake's Prospect Bio