Battle for the #3 Netminder Spot:
Thatcher Demko vs. Richard Bachman
This is not a battle for a spot in the NHL, though Anders Nilsson and Jacob Markstrom are going to push each other to play better each game. The battle between youngster Thatcher Demko and veteran Richard Bachman this season will be one for AHL crease supremacy.
So far in preseason, neither has found a friendly place to play. The duo let in nine goals against the Vegas Golden Knights, five of which were against Bachman. The 30-year-old veteran also played the duration of the Edmonton Oilers game, also letting in five goals.
As for Demko, he let in four goals against Vegas and another three goals against Calgary. He finishes with a .848 save percentage while Bachman is at .804.
These stats are quite meaningless since the group was hastily put together without any veteran presence. Plus, the split-duty games are always tough, while the small sample size and the volatility of a new roster in Vegas and the stars on the Edmonton roster do not serve as good measuring sticks against these two netminders.
The two are still with the Canucks, though it remains to be seen if either will see minutes in these final two games.
If they do, it will be the final audition before deciding whether Bachman returns to his starting role in Utica or if Demko reclaims his role as Utica’s top netminder in Bachman’s absence in backing Ryan Miller up late last season in the NHL.
Though the two do share a mentor-mentee relationship, the time is soon approaching that the 5-foot-10 Bachman will step aside for the 6-four-4 Demko to be the Comets’ starter to a road to becoming the Canucks’ starter. Will that be this year? Regardless, Demko is not playing in the NHL for at least two years.