from Ian Kennedy of The Hockey News,
When the Detroit Red Wings selected Keith Petruzzelli in the third round of the 2017 NHL Draft, the 6-foot-5 netminder looked like the team’s goaltender of the future.
After the draft, Petruzzelli did nothing to tarnish that distinction. Backstopping the NCAA’s Quinnipiac Bobcats, Petruzzelli put up a four-year 2.17 GAA and .915 save percentage. As a senior, he was named the ECAC Goaltender of the Year and a Hobey Baker nominee. He looked pro-ready.
Detroit however, wanted Petruzzelli to use the extra year of eligibility the NCAA provided during the pandemic to return to school for a fifth season. At that moment, the towering netminder decided to follow his own path. He was going to leave school, turn professional, and become an NHL free agent. It was a gamble on himself, and when he didn’t immediately earn an NHL contract, it looked risky.
The Boston Bruins were the first team to call, inviting Petruzelli to development camp, but it was the Toronto Maple Leafs organization that made an offer.
Toronto didn’t sign Petruzzelli to an NHL contract; rather, they inked the Wilbraham, Massachusetts prospect to an AHL contract. Here, it was up to the once highly touted prospect to prove himself, and Petruzzelli has done just that.
Could He Be Toronto’s Goalie of the Future?
If Petruzzelli’s rookie pro season is any indication, the Toronto Maple Leafs may have found a low-risk, low-cost prospect who could become an NHL starter.