It’s the big question being asked around Houndtown.
Can second-year goalie Brandon Halverson backstop the star-studded Soo Greyhounds to an Ontario Hockey League championship this 2014-2015 season?
It’s the million-dollar question in what has become a hundred-million dollar OHL.
To be sure, the Greyhounds loaded up at the OHL trade deadline to add one world-class skater after another to a team already full of impact players.
But the Hounds chose to stick with Halverson as their no. 1 goalie despite the fact that he ranks only ninth statistically among all OHL puck-stoppers.
Yes, Halverson has a record of 25-3-2 but that is more about who is he playing for. His so-called personal numbers are not great by any means — a 2.94 goals-against-average and .906 save percentage.
What is surprising to some is that while the Hounds were moving future draft picks for star players quicker than daily lunch specials are served by super server Sally at Muio’s, they failed to trade for overage goalie Jake Paterson when they could have.
Instead, Paterson — who is a top National Hockey League goaltending prospect of the Detroit Red Wings — ended up being dealt from the Saginaw Spirit to the Kitchener Rangers for a second-and-a-third-round draft pick.
All Paterson has done since going to Kitchener is steal wins for the Rangers with a record of 6-2-1, a 2.09 goals-against-average and a .933 save percentage heading into play this week.
Oh well, what is done is done.
Paterson is a lone Ranger of sorts and Halverson remains the masked man of Houndtown.
It should be noted that Halverson is thought of by many as a good goalie, including the New York Rangers, who took him in the second round of the 2014 NHL draft.
But his aforementioned stats suggest that Halverson is not one of the OHL’s top goalies — at least this season.
He’s not Paterson.
He’s not Lucas Peressini of the Kingston Frontenacs.
He’s not Ken Appleby of the Oshawa Generals.
He’s not in the same class of Greyhound goalies from days of old, be it Kevin Hodson or Danny Cloutier or Kyle Gajewski.
But he — meaning Halverson — is who the hopes of Houndtown rest with.
He is the last line of defence.
If the puck does not stop with Halverson it will likely mean yet-another season without an OHL championship for the boys who wear red and white — and their fans alike.
PHOTO: For the Soo Greyhounds, the puck stops with Brandon Halverson.