The St. Louis Blues are focused on all the individual performances in their prospect’s games. The team has been quite silent when it comes to the guys between the pipes though.
The St. Louis Blues have had a checkered past when it comes to the goaltender position. So, perhaps it should come as no surprise they are rather silent on the performances in goal, so far, during the Traverse City Prospects Tournament.
As is roster protocol, the Blues do have two goaltenders on their team. However, through two games and likely the entire tournament, they have only used one.
Evan Fitzpatrick, drafted in the second round in 2016, has seen all the action for the Blues squad. Whether you want to blame him or his defense or a combination, things have not gone swimmingly on the back end.
The Blues have allowed 12 goals, in total, in two games. The lay person will put a lot of that at Fitzpatrick’s feet.
Whether that is right or wrong, it is how it is. Unfortunately for Fitzpatrick, even if some goals were not his fault, the stats just do not look good.
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As seems to happen with the Blues at all levels, they limit shots but the quality of shots that get through is often high. So, even though they’ve only allowed 45 shots, only 33 have been saved.
That is a .733 save percentage. It is a 5.85 goals against average as well.
Fitzpatrick is only 19. In goalie years, that’s practically a baby.
He has plenty of time to grow and get better. For now, it is just a little frustrating to see a relatively high pick struggle somewhat.
During last year’s prospect camp, Fitzpatrick looked like the weak link in the goaltending chain. He just seemed uncomfortable and uneasy of his surroundings. Perhaps that is the case again.
Fitzpatrick is playing with guys that are on the verge of making the NHL team while he is years away, if he ever makes it.
At his going rate, Fitzpatrick will likely be a backup or minor league goaltender. However, it is not just his current stats that will hold him back.
Fitzpatrick has a log jam in goal ahead of him. If you include the current NHL netminders, there are at least four players in line ahead of Fitzpatrick.
From a coverage aspect, I understand why the goaltenders have gotten no attention. Firstly, there is just the one guy.
Secondly, most people don’t discuss a player that is not playing well unless they are a highly touted prospect in the first place.
Lastly, the entire team has to pick up some of the slack. Even if some might argue the goaltender could be playing poorly, twelve goals does not fall on one person alone.
If the team keeps winning, that is the important thing. Coaches can say all they want about seeing guys step to the plate and perform, but building a winning culture does make a difference.
As a fan of the position, I wish the best for Fitzpatrick. Hopefully he can turn it around both within this tournament and his budding career.
The Blues are in no rush for him to be the man in net. However, they don’t want the position to be somewhat void below their pro ranks.
These prospects tournaments can gauge how a player is doing against their peers, so but they are not the end-all-be-all. Still, it would be nice to be excited about the goalies at this tournament instead of just the players. Perhaps not this year though.