Seeming intent on creating more competition between the pipes, Sudbury Wolves now have a pack of goalies to choose from ahead of the 2018-2019 season.
With holdovers Jake McGrath, Marshall Frappier and David Bowen already in the Wolves den, Sudbury general manager Rob Papineau added three more goalies at the recent Ontario Hockey League priority selections and under-18 draft processes.
Papineau used two picks on goalies at the 15-round priority selections draft, taking Jonathan Lemaire in the fifth round and Nicholas Heinzle in the 13th.
Then, at the three-round, under-18 draft, Papineau added to the Wolves net worth by taking goalie Mitchell Weeks with the first overall pick.
Lemaire — who stands in at 6-foot-5 — and Heinzle both have 2002 birth dates while Weeks was born in 2001.
The troika of 2018 draft picks will challenge aforementioned returnees McGrath, Frappier and Bowen for roster spots come the 2018-2019 season.
Of those with OHL experience, McGrath has the most, having played two full seasons in Sudbury. McGrath had a 9-26-5 record with 4.00 goals against average and .885 save percentage for the Wolves in 2017-2018.
Frappier debuted as an OHL rookie with the Wolves in 2017-2018 and had a 5-10-1 record, 4.69 goals against and .871 save percentage as the primary backup to McGrath.
Bowen also made his OHL debut with the Wolves in 2017-2018 and in a limited role, had a 1-1-1 record with a 3.65 goals against average and .902 save percentage.
McGrath has a 1999 birth date while Frappier and Bowen were both born in 2000.
Having finished 20th in the 20-team OHL in 2017-2018, the Wolves are in a rebuild with a plan of what they aspire to be future success.
Indeed, just prior to and at the January 10 trade deadline, Papineau made no less six trades, moving out older players for younger ones and future draft picks.
As for the overall depth that he has now accrued at the goalie position, Papineau noted how crucial that is.
“Goal-tending is such a key and critical position and we wanted to make sure of our depth,” he relayed to Hockey News North. “Depth is about both the present and the future and we think that we have created outstanding depth and competition among our goalies. Which, we feel, at the end of the day, is one area that will make our hockey team better.”
PHOTO: Sudbury Wolves goalie Jake McGrath. (Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL.)