Keith Petruzzelli: What to expect

Keith Petruzzelli: What to expect

Another year of Maple Leafs hockey, another year of the injury bug causing goaltending issues.
With all of Ilya Samsonov, Matt Murray, and Joseph Woll at various phases of recovering from injury, the Leafs have been forced to lean on their depth. Erik Källgren, who saw some time with the Leafs last season, has filled in as starter, with mixed results.
The goaltender that intrigues me, however, is the acting backup Keith Petruzzelli. I wrote in my goaltending primer earlier this year that Petruzzelli would “have to have some degree of AHL success this season” in order to continue being considered an NHL prospect. And a degree of success he has had. Through six games with the Marlies so far, Petruzzelli is 6-0-0 with a .922 save percentage. This strong play, coupled with the Leafs’ injury issues, resulted in him signing his first NHL contract on November 6th.

Some Keith Petruzzelli highlights from this season. The 6-foot-6 netminder is 6-0-0 and has a .922 SV% with the Marlies. Coming off of a strong first professional season with the @NLGrowlers pic.twitter.com/09g3cj1WzB
— Kyle Cushman (@Kyle_Cush) November 6, 2022

To go from starting in the ECHL to earning an NHL contract within a year, injuries or not, is very significant. I spoke with TLN’s Dylan Murphy (@dylanmurphy329 on Twitter) who covers the Growlers for the site about him, and he praised Petruzzelli’s work ethic and positive attitude. Further, Dylan spoke with Growlers head coach Kyle Wellwood, who echoed that sentiment, saying that “[the organization] always said he was a gamer, he just had to learn to be a pro …

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Author: Colin Hunter / The Leafs Nation

Do early season games matter for the Maple Leafs?

Do early season games matter for the Maple Leafs?

It’s the beginning of a new hockey season, meaning it’s the best possible time for overreacting. Is your team undefeated? They’re a cup contender. Winless? Better hunker down for a long season of watching Connor Bedard highlights and playing draft lottery simulators. Of course, we all know it’s ridiculous to draw conclusions about anything based on the beginning of the season. This is especially true for the Leafs, as their season will be judged on playoff performance. But that doesn’t necessarily mean early games are entirely meaningless. Getting off to a good start is essential, setting the tone for a long 82-game season. But just how meaningful are early season games? How difficult is it to overcome a slow start? To hold on to standings position after a hot start? Let’s take a look at some teams in recently who show us some answers.
We’ll start by going six years back, to the 2016-17 season, taking a look at the three most recent seasons that were on a “normal schedule” unaffected by the pandemic. Taking a look at the standings on December 1st, the Montreal Canadiens sat atop the Eastern conference, while the Chicago Blackhawks had the top spot in the West. By the en …

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Author: Jaden Ho / The Leafs Nation