The Detroit Red Wings do not know who the goaltender of the future will be, but Carter Gylander is starting to build his case after winning AJHL Goalie of the Year.
In the seventh round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Detroit Red Wings General Manager (GM) Steve Yzerman selected Carter Gylander. A final round selection of an eighteen-year-old goaltender is a bit of an investment, an investment that is off to a great start. Gylander is currently playing in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), where he took home the award for goaltender of the year.
With the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the AJHL, Gylander played in forty games featuring a .924 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.07 goals-against average (GAA). His performance would earn him the honors for top netminder in the AJHL after his second full season with the Crusaders. He only played in twenty-two games in 2017, still featuring a .915 SV% and 2.43 GAA on the season.
He is a 6-foot-5, 179-pound frame who sizes up the puck well for a youngster turning away shots. Going into the draft scouts did not have a lot to go on, but Yzerman and the Red Wings would take a flyer on Gylander, hoping he can amount to something eventually.
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On top of his incredible performance for the AJHL Crusaders, Gylander is committed to continue his hockey career at Colgate University. Both of the current Colgate goaltenders are sophomores who will be juniors next season, meaning that Gylander will be thrown into some competition to earn minutes as a freshman.
He is one of a group of goalies who all have shots to receive a chance at the role of future Red Wings goaltender. The youngster still has a ways to go before he has an NHL impact, being that he was initially labeled as a throwaway pick, his success is turning heads.
Spending a late pick on Gylander, while they have other goaltenders is only a good thing for the Red Wings when he could turn out to be the next Pekka Rinne who was taken late in the draft as well.
Even though Gylander is so young, which means it is quite early to think he will be in a Red Wings sweater any time soon, he has the chance to develop while at Colgate and become a candidate for the goaltender of the future. If all goes well, the Red Wings should have a few goalies they can try out to make sure they have the next Vezina candidate, if they are lucky.
Gylander taking home the AJHL goaltender of the year award is only a start, but it shows that he is building his resume to be the future starter early on.