Moncton Wildcats Director of Hockey Operations Ritchie Thibeau and his staff have their hands full when it comes to the organizations goaltending situation for the upcoming season.
Don’t worry it’s a good problem to have considering the organizations depth between the pipes.
“We are going to have a battle there,” Thibeau said.
“We have some kids that are older and some kids that are younger, and a sixteen year old.”
“We have a good separation in ages and it’s going to be very interesting who comes in and wins the job.”
As it stands right now the Cats will have five netminders attending their Training Camp which is scheduled to start on Sunday.
Dakota Lund-Cornish, Gio Dimatti, Nicolas Sheehan, Justin Katz and 19 year old import netminder Val Usnik.
How is important for the Wildcats to have depth, but provide opportunity to all goaltenders in their system?
“Goaltending is a key position and you don’t win without good goaltending so it’s important for us make sure we have two good goaltenders that give us a chance to win every night,” explained Thibeau.
“At the end of the day they just have to be the best they can be and help us or give us an opportunity to win every night,” Thibeau said.
Thibeau’s son Brandon a former Wildcat in his own right plays an instrumental role identifying future goaltending prospects from a scouting perspective.
“Brandon is really getting to know them prior to the draft and the evaluation of them before drafting them and helping us to make sure we have a good list for the draft,” Thibeau explained.
“Once we draft them it’s really a transition between Brandon and Marc(Theriault) because they are our property and once they become our property Marc takes them over and forms a relationship with them and understands their style and the things we need to move forward to develop them.”
Once a Wildcat netminder makes the team, Theriault is with them everyday. Theriault’s job doesn’t end there he also follows up with the Cats goaltending prospects as well.
Competition between the goaltenders will be extremely exciting to watch, but very fierce.
It would appear there’s no guarantees when it comes to the crease this season for the Moncton Wildcats.
How difficult is to trade a young goaltender?
“You can never have enough goaltending,” Thibeau said.
“The teams have their share of goaltending it’s quite an asset to have.”
“In my mind is you can never have enough, because it’s such important position and you really have to have an abundance of it and really good development of it because it’s the difference between winning and losing,” admitted Thibeau.
“At this point we aren’t looking at moving any of our goalies,” Thibeau said.
“We need that organization depth,” he added.
“The ones that win a job here will be here while the others will be else where, but we see them as all part of the group either playing for us now or down the road,” Thibeau said.
The inner competition in the blue paint amongst Wildcat netminders will undoubtedly become one of the most watched and anticipated battles in training camp for quite some.
Tough decisions regarding the Wildcats crease will no doubt get even more complex with the subsequent arrival of import netminder Val Usnik in the up coming days and weeks.
The Moncton Wildcats crease will be crowded, but as Thibeau eluded to you can never have too much goaltending.