In the first part of the Regina Pats season preview, we cover the goaltending situation heading into the 2020-21 season.
Looking back at 2019-20
The Pats’ crease was a little bit of a carousel in 2019-20.
Max Paddock was the starter until his trade to Prince Albert last January. Although his record was not great at 10-13-3-2 with two shutouts, his numbers were stellar on this club. A respectable 3.31 goals-against average to go with a .905 save percentage helped keep the Pats competitive.
Donovan Buskey did an admirable job in goal picking up a 9-13-2-0 record in his 27 appearances. His 4.20 GAA was almost a full goal more against than that of Paddock. Allowing a four-spot with a younger rebuilding team does not get the team many wins.
Danton Belluk got into 12 games as an understudy to Paddock and Buskey. He went 1-7-0 with a 4.93 GAA and an 0.833 save percentage.
The 2020-21 season
With the Pats selecting Connor Bedard first overall, Regina Pats General Manager John Paddock shored up the goaltending. He acquired 20-year-old Roddy Ross from the Seattle Thunderbirds, making Buskey (now an overage) expendable. Buskey was claimed by the Tri-City Americans in the off-season. Meanwhile, Belluk no longer appears on the Pat roster.
TRADE: Pats acquire @NHLFlyers prospect goaltender Roddy Ross from Seattle!!
Details here: https://t.co/Wv6dmNlujg
— Regina Pats (@WHLPats) April 22, 2020
Ever since Ross was acquired in April, many fans have been excitedly waiting months to see him in the Pats lineup. The Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan product comes to the Pats making 74 career WHL appearances with the Thunderbirds. The Philadelphia Flyers’ sixth-round draft pick comes to the Pats with a career 3.03 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage and a 36-26-5-5 record.
.@signpatico Player Signing: Pats ink goaltender Spencer Welke!
— Regina Pats (@WHLPats) October 24, 2019
Welke, originally a listed player, signed with the Pats on October 24, 2019. The Yorkton, Saskatchewan product spent the majority of the 2019-20 season with the Prince Albert Mintos in the SMAAAHL. He went 9-9 with a 2.89 GAA and 0.910 save percentage in an injury-shortened season. He did get into two games with the Pats going 1-0-1 with a respectful 2.98 GAA and a 0.905 sv%.
.@signpatico Player Signing: Pats ink goaltender Matthew Kieper!!
— Regina Pats (@WHLPats) June 27, 2019
The third goalie on the Pats roster is Matthew Kieper, the 2019 third-round pick (63rd overall). The product of Winnipeg, MB signed with the Pats in June 2019. A highly touted goaltender, he only appeared in 14 games during the 2019-20 season. An injury slowed him down during the season but finished strong with a 3.93 GAA and 0.892 SP. He played in three playoff games going 1-1-0 with a 3.19 GAA and 0.942 sv%. He got into one WHL game, allowing five goals in 29 minutes of action.
With just 24 games on the 2020-21 schedule, it will be a delicate balance between the pipes. Having a top-quality overage starter will make it difficult for the Pats. The NHL’s Flyers will surely have some expectations for the amount of game action Ross gets between the pipes. With Ross expecting to get most of the reps, where does that leave Welke and Kieper? Time will tell how things get sorted out.
Looking past the shortened season
No matter how this season unfolds in goal, the Pats will have a definite lack of experience heading into the 2021-22 season. Welke, who will be 19 years old, and Kieper who will be 17 years old, will be the incumbents. The depth chart includes 2020 draft picks Florian Wade (fifth round) and Kenneth Marquart (10th round).
Even though it is a 24 game season, it is an exciting time.
With that all said, let’s get the 2020-21 season started. It is almost time to drop the puck.