The word we’re getting is that the Edmonton Oilers could be facing a fascinating prospect tonight in Toronto. With James Reimer injured and Jonathan Bernier struggling, prospect Garret Sparks could make his NHL debut. Before we get excited, let’s check out this AHL phenom, and compare him to Edmonton’s goalie-in-waiting, Laurent Brossoit.
— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) November 29, 2015
Sparks is even more of a long shot in terms of draft pedigree than Laurent Brossoit:
- Brossoit chosen No. 164 overall in 2011 by Calgary
- Sparks chosen No. 190 overall in 2011 by Toronto
In truth, that was an interesting talking point on draft day but after that it’s all about the work and the development—both men doing plenty of both. It’s fun to track players who are drafted same year because all things should be somewhat equal. We know prospects don’t develop in a straight line, but using save percentage we should see how the race is going—and it’s pretty clear these are quality prospects.
HEAD TO HEAD, BY YEAR
- 2011-12: Sparks (OHL) .907; Brossoit (WHL) .914
- 2012-13: Sparks (OHL) .917; Brossoit WHL) .917 (even)
- 2013-14: Sparks (ECHL) .916; Brossoit (ECHL) .923
- 2014-15: Sparks (ECHL) .936; Brossoit (AHL) .918 (different levels)
- 2015-16: Sparks (AHL) .938; Brossoit (AHL) .931
I’m being unfair to Sparks here, he played more games in the AHL in 2013-14 (21, .915) but wanted to get these men at the same level as often as possible. It looks even to me, how about you? Sparks is having a better year this season but it’s early days and one outing could change things.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
Well, let’s ask our friends from Leafs Nation in the article linked above:
It’ll be interesting to see how Sparks takes advantage of this game. The
Leafs aren’t exactly great, but they aren’t the Oilers, so he gets a
bit of an easier first go at things than one would expect.
I think that’s fair, this is a pretty good spot for Sparks. Remember when Brossoit stopped 49 of 51 against the San Jose Sharks and Todd McLellan? Those things can happen. The Oilers can’t be worried about the goalie, but can be a little disappointed they won’t see Bernier who has struggled badly. It should be a fun game!