Friday, 17 April 2015

Prospect goalie Brandon Whitney signs ATO contract with Hamilton Bulldogs

Marc Bergevin has signed prospect LHJMQ goalie Brandon Whitney to an amateur try out contract.  He has been assigned to the Hamilton Bulldogs.

Funny, since I rued that we didn’t have a 7th-rounder in the 2012 draft, that we’d spent our sixth on Erik Nystrom, a self-admitted flyer by Director of Amateur Scouting Trevor Timmins.  Mr. Nystrom tried out with the Bulldogs at the start of the 2013-14 season but ended up not earning a contract.

We could have instead picked up this big kid from the LHJMQ and added to our goaltending depth, I thought. See if he pans out.  Now we get him for free if we want.

I can’t quite remember how it went, but I think Brandon Whitney had a great rookie camp and then training camp with the Blackhawks, the team that had drafted him in the seventh round, and the Hawks had an injured goalie, so there was talk of keeping him up, maybe for the AHL, it’s fuzzy, but anyway ultimately he was sent back to Victoriaville. He then suffered a crazy injury in practice, fracturing his larynx after taking a puck in the throat.

He eventually was not signed by the Hawks. It’s not quite the olden days, where a guy would hurt his knee and stop playing hockey and get a job at CN, but injuries still play a big part, are a big risk for a player, especially one who’s not a high pick.

This season he struggled, had more injuries, pulled a groin, but he’s still got the tools, the size, the potential. It’s worth taking a look.

Of note: From that same draft, the much-regretted (in some histrionic corners) Brady Vail played 6 games for the Toronto Marlies and was shut out, but got 30 points in 65 games for the Orlando Solar Bears in the ECHL. I still think the Solar Bears is the coolest team name in hockey.

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