The Vancouver Canucks are in the midst of a youth movement. So, let’s take a look at the club’s top youngsters!
If the Vancouver Canucks want to make their ‘rebuild on the fly’ work, they need a strong foundation of young roster players. We all know the Bo Horvats and Ben Huttons of the team, but what’s after that? How are things for the AHL Utica Comets and what can we expect from the Canucks’ next crop of youngsters?
To answer those questions, our staff ranked all signed Vancouver Canucks players under the age of 25. After compiling a list of the top 10 Canucks prospects recently, this is all about who can help today. And guess what, the Canucks only have a total of 26 players under 25 signed and playing in North America right now.
Next up is No. 17 on our list: Michael Garteig.
#17 – Michael Garteig
Team: Alaska Aces (ECHL) / Utica Comets (AHL)
NHL Experience: 0 Games
How He Got Here
Michael Garteig took the long way around. Born in Prince George, British Columbia, Michael Garteig played his junior career in the second-tier BCHL. He started as a backup in Powell River and slowly but definitively ascended to the No. 1 spot. He played so well that he was picked up by the Penticton Vees in his last season.
More from Canucks News
- Canucks are in “wash, rinse, repeat” mode after Monday’s 5-1 loss
- Canucks send Jack Rathbone and Vasily Podkolzin down to Abbotsford
- Canucks acquire Ethan Bear, Lane Pederson from Carolina
- Brock Boeser, Curtis Lazar placed on injury reserve
- Canucks officially unveil Reverse Retro jersey in latest aesthetic change
Garteig went from unknown and relatively unwanted to a desired and important player. This story has repeated itself.
Garteig went undrafted, unsurprisingly, and committed to Quinnipiac University. Again, he started as the backup and slowly, steadily became a dominant force for the team and in the league. In 2015-16, Garteig played 43 games. He had a .924 save percentage and lead his team to the Frozen Four finals.
It is the most interesting thing about Garteig. No one expects him to challenge Thatcher Demko for the position of future franchise goalie. Garteig has never been a top prospect. Yet, in both the BCHL and the NCAA, he became a No. 1 goalie.
The obvious plus to Garteig is his ability to learn and adapt to the next level. The obvious minus to Garteig is that he isn’t a blue-chip prospect and will have trouble cracking the AHL lineup this year.
Where He Is Today
Today, Garteig is in that hopeful, but undesirable, space of possibilities. He signed an entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks after his stellar final season at Quinnipiac ended. Last year he had seven shutouts, a 32-4-7 record and a goals-against average of under 2.00. I have no idea how well this will translate to the NHL, or even the AHL.
Because of his long route to arrive in the show, Michael Garteig is already 24 years old. Most NHL goalies enter their prime in their mid to late twenties.
Has his chance already passed him by?
I don’t think so. But his route to the NHL, if he makes it, will take him the long way around again.
Where He’s Headed
I don’t have any reason to believe Garteig can usurp presumed AHL No. 1 Richard Bachman or universally anointed ‘next one’ Thatcher Demko. But, I also wouldn’t be surprised if Michael Garteig quickly climbed from ECHL backup to AHL starter to challenge Thatcher Demko in the Vancouver Canucks net in a couple of years.
It seems obvious that Garteig starts in the ECHL next year. Ryan Miller has one year left on his contract and Jacob Marstrom recently signed an extension that should end when Demko is ready to step into the number one position. But history has a habit of repeating itself.
I don’t know if God is lazy or we just recognize the same patterns over and over while ignoring others. Either way, I can believe in a scenario where Michael Garteig pushes Thatcher Demko for the No. 1 position in the AHL in two years and for the Vancouver Canucks in 3 or 4.