After being selected 88th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in last month’s NHL Entry draft, goaltender Keith Petruzzelli will appear between the pipes for team USA during the 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase. The showcase is a week-long camp that features a dozen international competitions between Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States in preparation for the World Junior Championship to be held in Buffalo, New York, at the end of the year.
Team USA’s roster will be split into two different squads; Team USA Blue and Team USA White. Petruzzelli will protect the crease for Team USA Blue.
The Red Wings’ 2017 draft class was heavily criticized and largely panned by both fans and hockey experts alike, but Petruzzelli was regarded as one of the better, if not the best, selection by Detroit. Prior to the draft, NHL Central Scouting had Petruzzelli ranked as the second-best North American goalie while Red Line Report ranked Keith their 33rd best overall player.
Our own SlapshotGoal wrote an informative assessment about the six-foot-six Petruzzelli while covering the Red Wings’ annual development camp in Traverse City earlier this month.
Jeff Blashill also had some high praise for Keith after getting his first look at the goalie during the development camp:
"He has a real chance to be special. I hear his mental makeup is real good, which ultimately is going to be the biggest ... divider whether guys make it for goaltending.
"I thought he looked real good. He's big, made lots of saves, he seems to cover the net well, he plays efficient and he has the athleticism to make big saves when he has to and he showed that in the shootout as well. I thought he played real good."
Red Wings goalie coach Jeff Salajko also appeared impressed by what he saw out of his newest project:
"I think he's been as good as advertised," Salajko said.
Petruzzelli could very well be the goaltender of the future for the Red Wings. With Jimmy Howard’s age and inability to stay healthy combined with the recent revelations of Petr Mrazek’s troubles with the club, the Red Wings are currently lacking a true contender to come up and compete for the starting goalie job down the road. Keith Petruzzelli could possibly be on the path to change that fact.
The 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase will take place at the USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, from July 28-Aug. 5, 2017.