Welcome back to Top Shelf Hockey Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2017 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at goalie Michael DiPietro.
The starting goalie for the Windsor Spitfires, Michael DiPietro is currently getting ready to play in the Memorial Cup. While the team took a hard-fought first round loss to the London Knights in the first round of the OHL Playoffs, they still advance to the tournament as hosts. Unfortunately, it is a nearly two-month wait between the final game of their OHL Playoff Run, and their next competitive game. He also appeared in the CHL Top Prospects Game.
DiPietro’s season started with an August appearance for Team Canada at the Ivan Hlinka touranament. He followed that up by winning the starting goaltender job in Windsor and had a solid season for the Spitfires. DiPietro played in 51 games and putting up a .917 save percentage. He also repeated that exact same save percentage in the playoffs. This followed up on a rookie season where he was named to the OHL All-Rookie Team, played for Team Canada at the Under 17 Hockey Challenges, and was also part of the squad at the 2016 Under-18s, though he didn’t see the ice.
Michael DiPietro Scouting Report: 2017 NHL Draft #39
Goaltender — Shoots Left — Catches Left
Born June 9th, 1999 — Amherstburg, Ontario
Height 6’0″ — Weight 193 lbs [183 cm / 88 kg]
Skating and Talent Analysis
DiPietro is slightly undersized compared to most of the goalies who have been drafted in recent years. He makes himself look bigger by coming out of the crease far and cutting down angles. Excellent skating ability allows DiPietro to play out of his net while getting back quickly on dekes, as well as moving across the crease laterally. Playing an aggressive hybrid style, DiPietro is very athletic. He uses his quick legs to take away the bottom of the net, as well as a good blocker and glove upstairs. His rebound control is also very good for a 17-year-old, as he swallows up pucks or deflects them into the corners.
DiPietro has excellent puck tracking ability, as well as excellent lateral movement. He can track cross ice passes, and seems to be in position before the puck arrives. He does a very good job of keeping his shoulders square to the shooter. DiPietro also gets himself back in position quickly, coming up square to shooters, and making himself big for rebound attempts. His legs are strong, giving him a good push on moving side to side.
DiPietro is calm and composed in net. There have been times this year when Windsor has dominated the play, and he has not seen many shots. Depite that he maintains good focus and is ready for the next shot. There have also been times when Windsor had a mish-mash lineup due to injuries, and he faced a lot of shots and odd-man rushes against. He did not get flustered and maintained his poise in the net. Dipietro often came up with big saves, keeping Windsor amongst the top teams in the OHL. He recovers quickly after giving up a goal. He composes himself quickly, and is ready to face the next shooter.
Projection and Comparison
Like most young goalies, DiPietro is going to be a long-term project. He will need time to develop and refine the finer points of his game. The talent and potential to be a number one goaltender in the NHL are there. One aspect of his game that really needs work is his puck handling ability. He does not help his defence in the breakout and transition game the way a lot of the best NHL goalies today are able to. In terms of a comparison, his style is reminiscent of Jaroslav Halak of the New York Islanders, but this is not a talent based comparison.
The following is a compilation of highlights, assembled from Youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect available on our draft board.