Most ECHL fans know the name Sebastien Charpentier, and for good reason. In 1998 he won the Kelly Cup Championship with the then Hampton Roads Admirals, and was named the Playoff MVP. A year before, he had led goaltenders in the QMJHL for games played, minutes, and wins.
When he made the transition to the AHL’s Portland Pirates three years ago, everything changed. Chronic arthritis and a leg injury resulted in him having to sit out for months at a time. During the 1999-2000 season, Charpentier missed 49 games in a row.
During the past couple years, he would have a game here or there that was very good. But those were few and far between. And it was clearly more than just overcoming injury. Inconsistency, a lack of confidence, and an inadequate game mentality were all there too. One of his ‘shining’ moments was the Pirates’ final game of the playoffs last season. Charpentier made 50-something saves, and showed some absolutely brilliant goaltending, and yet, the two goals that he did let in during regulation were arguably the two easiest shots to stop in the entire game.
Then came this season.
Like so many of the other prospects in the Capitals’ organization, Sebastien Charpentier has not played this well in a very long time, if ever. He is healthy, the arthritis is not bothering him, but more importantly, he has his game back. He has been consistently wonderful for the past few weeks, and that is a huge step in the right direction for him. Two shutouts in the space a couple weeks was unheard of for him the past couple years. One simply has to look at Charpentier to see the change, and the other Pirates are more confident because of it.
All that said, he needs to keep it up. The Capitals’ needed a new backup with Kolzig out, and Hirsch was the one they called. This it is a golden opportunity for Charpentier. Thus far, Hirsch and Charpentier have split the game equally; in terms of minutes played, their numbers are less than 9 minutes apart. But, with Hirsch called up, it is basically a given that Charpentier will assume the position of starter and Stana will serve as backup.
Charpentier is 7-3-3 so far this season, with a save percentage of 0.925.