Prospect Impressions: Saves of the season featuring Condon, Nedeljkovic, Vasilevskiy, and more

By David Hahn
Alex Nedeljkovic - Niagara IceDogs

Photo: Niagara IceDogs goaltender and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Alex Nedeljkovic turned in a strong season in the OHL once he was moved from the troubled Flint Firebirds club to Niagara (courtesy of CHL Images)

 

 

In this special edition of Prospect Impressions, we kick off the first of our “Best of the Year” series with some of the best saves of the season. Goaltenders were featured heavily throughout the season, with a number of fine saves making their way into our highlight articles in 2015-16. There were a number of special efforts, including one goalie who made a save on his stomach, another who stymied a 2-on-0 breakaway, and a few glove saves that should be investigated for robbery.

10. Quinnipiac University senior goaltender Michael Garteig enjoyed his best statistical season in his final year in college. He was a three-year starter for the Bobcats, amassing a 1.91 goals-against average and .924 save percentage this year alone. Garteig guided the Bobcats to the NCAA Tournament in all three years, and displayed his superb agility and top-notch glove hand in the final few minutes as Quinnipiac narrowly held off Boston College in the NCAA Frozen Four semi-finals.

Garteig was signed by the Vancouver Canucks to a one-year, entry level contract following the season, and was named as Quinnipiac’s Male Athlete of the Year. Oddly enough, Garteig will compete against Thatcher Demko for time in the crease within the Canucks organization, the very goaltender he bested in the semi-finals.

9. Standing at just 5’9″ tall, Simon Rytz has had to adjust and come up with some unorthodox ways to stop the puck. He earned a spot as a starter with EHC Biel in the top tier of hockey in Switzerland starting in 2013, and he has logged a lot of minutes in the crease since. His finest save this year came when he was trapped on his stomach and somehow lifted his leg to stop the shot, sight unseen.

Despite his second solid season as a starter, Rytz will face an uncertain offseason as Jonas Hiller recently signed a long-term deal with the club after leaving the Calgary Flames.

8. Former University of Vermont product Rob Madore has been a bit of a journeyman since graduating. He was up-and-down in the Florida Panthers organization, culminating with a successful run in the ECHL with Cincinnati, where he was named as the Kelly Cup Playoffs’ MVP. More recently, Madore tended the twine in Orlando, where he filled in adequately following the departure of Garret Sparks to the Toronto Marlies. There, Madore quickly endeared himself to fans with his passionate play and ‘never say die’ attitude. Take a look at this fantastic effort where Madore absolutely robs an oncoming shooter.

His contract with the team is up at the end of the year, but with consistent performances like this, Madore would surely be welcomed back in Orlando if he doesn’t find a full-time opportunity in the AHL.

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