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Meet Big Goalie Keith Petruzzelli

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Keith Petruzzelli
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The Wings chose to use one of their 3rd round draft picks this year to take goalie Keith Petruzzelli. At 6’ 6” 190 Pounds Petruzzelli is tall and lanky with an impressive wingspan, and even from the butterfly position is still shoulder height to the crossbar. The 18 year old goalie got his start playing hockey when his older brother needed a goalie to shoot on. Why not stick your kid brother in net and fire pucks at him, that sounds fair right? Since forward D.J. Petruzelli introduced Keith to hockey, it’s only fitting that they’ll be reunited and playing together again at Quinnipiac University in a couple months. They’ll even be rooming together! Being a big goaltender will get you a lot of attention in today’s hockey circles, heck the smallest goalies at this development camp are 6’02”.

Aside from his size, there were a few traits that jumped out to me in my very limited viewing. The very first thing I notice about Petruzzelli is his demeanor, he’s very calm, relaxed and loose, like it’s no big deal to be here. Maybe it’s his confidence, or maybe that’s just his personality, whatever the case I think it’s a great attitude to have.

He also has a gracefulness to his movements. They look smooth, fluid, and sort of at ease. Here’s just a short snippet of his movements during instruction this morning.

(Streamable Link)

It’s difficult to get a good handle on goalies in development camp, because they don’t see much “real life” action. Most of the shots they see are one and done shots as the skaters cycle through their drills as fast as they can. It’s like only getting to see 50 pieces of a 500 piece puzzle and being expected to figure out what the big picture is.

That being said, here’s what I saw from Petruzzelli in those 50 pieces.

He did an excellent job of covering the ice down low, while absorbing shots with his upper body. With those long legs and pads, there’s not much opening to get pucks past him on the ice and he does a great job of covering his five hole. Basically, shooters don’t have a lot of opportunity to get one past him on the ice in a one and done situation. Sometimes pucks hit goalies and seem to bounce all over the place, creating rebound opportunities for the opposition. Petruzzelli appears to be very good at absorbing the shots that hit him in the chest and arms, and holding on to them. He looked great on his angles did a good job of squaring up to the shooter. While athletic in nature, he didn’t look out of control or like he was flailing around as some athletic goalies do. He relied on reading the shooter and anticipating their shot. He was both efficient and effective.

Petruzzelli was recently named USA Hockey’s goaltender of the year and is one of four goalies invited to the World Junior Summer Showcase at the end of the month. His new coach in Quinnipiac was at the draft and said this of his new goalie.

Al Jensen of Central Scouting said before the draft

Maybe the reason he looks so calm and confident on the ice is that he processes and understands the game at such a high level.

Tomorrow is the scrimmage and I’m looking forward to seeing this big beautiful goalie in some “friendly” game action. So far he looks like he has a bright future, and he’s bringing it to the Red Wings.