Earlier today, the Vancouver Canucks traded goaltender Anders Nilsson to the Ottawa Senators.
Over the last two seasons, Nilsson hasn’t been great in net. Last season, Nilsson played in 27 games with the Canucks and registered a 3.44 GAA and a .901 SV%. Unfortunately, this season to date, hasn’t been much better for the Swedish net-minder. In 12 games played, he owns a 3.09 GAA and a .895 SV%.
While he hasn’t been great in net, he will provide the Ottawa Senators with some much-needed depth in net. At the moment, the Senators starting goaltender, Craig Anderson is injured with a concussion and hasn’t skated since December 28th. In Anderson’s place, the Senators are utilizing Marcus Hogberg in net. Unfortunately for Ottawa, Hogberg hasn’t been great in his last couple of starts. Prior to game tonight against the Canucks, he had a 3.56 GAA and a .883 SV%.
With the acquisition of Nilsson, the Swedish goaltender provides the Senators with a veteran goaltender, who is more comfortable at the NHL level than Hogberg.
Thatcher Demko Time?
With Nilsson gone to Ottawa, this opens up an opportunity for the Vancouver Canucks to call up goaltender prospect, Thatcher Demko. Demko is one of the best goaltending prospects and deserves playing time at the NHL level.
There have been a few goaltending prospects that have been called up recently and blossomed at the NHL level. Recently, The New Jersey Devils called up MacKenzie Blackwood and the Philadelphia Flyers called up Carter Hart. Both goalies have made an impact at the NHL level and perhaps it won’t be long before Demko does the same.
So far this season, Demko has played in 15 games for the AHL’s Utica Comets and owns a 2.63 GAA and a .909 SV%. While Demko’s performance in the AHL hasn’t been mind-blowing, it hasn’t been bad.
If Demko does get called up, he won’t be placed in a high pressure role. He’ll have the opportunity to back-up Jacob Markstrom at first. So, he’ll be able to get his feet wet and gradually get used to playing at the NHL level, instead of being thrown in night-after-night without much preparation.
If and when Demko does get officially called up, you’d have to expect that Mike McKenna will take his spot at the AHL level. McKenna played for the Dallas Stars’ AHL affiliate, the Texas Stars last season and helped bring his club to the Calder Cup finals. Unfortunately, McKenna wasn’t able to shut-down the Toronto Maple Leafs’ AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. He’ll likely join the Utica Comets soon enough and will be sharing the net with Richard Bachman (when he returns from injury).
stats from NHL.com, hockey-reference.com and eliteprospects.com
featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals