Garret Sparks
Image: NHL

Garret Sparks

Hometown:

Elmhurst Illinois

Currently Playing In:

Pro

Birthday:

1993-06-28

Position:

G

Eligible for draft:

2011

Catches:

Left

Drafted:

2011

Height:

6-2

Acquired:

7th round (190th overall), 2011

Weight:

200 lbs.

<<<<<<< Updated upstream
History

2008-09: Garret Sparks played 18 games for Team Illinois U-16 and was 9-6-2 with a 3.05 GAA and .879 save percentage. Sparks was selected by the Guelph Storm in the 8th round (160th overall) of the OHL Priority Draft and was one of 24 goalies invited to participate in USA Hockey’s Warren Strelow national goaltending camp. Sparks attended USA Hockey’s U-17 tryout camp.

2009-10: Sparks and goaltending partner Eric Garavaglia combined to lead Chicago Mission to the 2010 USA Hockey Tier 1 U-18 championship. Sparks appeared in 27 games and had a record of 19-7 and 3 shutouts with a 1.98 GAA and .907 save percentage. Sparks was in net for the championship game and stopped 24 of 25 shots in a 7-1 win over the Philadelphia Junior Flyers.

2010-11: Sparks appeared in 19 games as an OHL rookie behind Guelph Storm starter Brandon Foote. Among the season highlights for Sparks were a 38-save, 5-3 win over high-powered Windsor in November (his second OHL start) and a string of games between Jan 23 and Feb 21 when Sparks won six of seven starts. Overall, he finished with a record of 8-6 with one shootout loss and posted a 3.64 GAA with an .890 save percentage. Guelph finished fourth in the Midwest division but Sparks did not see any action in the playoffs as Foote was in net for all six games of the Storm’s first-round series loss to Saginaw. Sparks was ranked 17th among North American goaltenders by Central Scouting and was selected by the Maple Leafs in the 7th round (190th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft.

2011-12: Sparks assumed the lion’s share of the goaltending duties for the OHL’s Guelph Storm after splitting time with 20-year-old Brandon Foote early in the season. He played a career-high 59 games and was 27-25-4 with 5 shutouts and had a 3.11 goals against and .907 save percentage. Sparks started all six games in the Storm’s playoff series with Plymouth and was 2-4 with a 4.45 goals against and .881 save percentage. Sparks participated in USA Hockey’s U20 Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid in August, 2012.

2012-13: Sparks signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Maple Leafs in March of 2013 and made his pro hockey debut with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies following his third season with the OHL’s Guelph Storm. He was 2-0-1 in three regular season games for the Marlies with a 2.53 goals against and .895 save percentage. Toronto finished first in the North Division and reached the second round in the AHL playoffs. Sparks made one playoff appearance, stopping 9 of 10 shots in 14 minutes of action. He was 36-17-4 with 7 shutouts in 60 games for Guelph and had a 2.65 goals against and .917 save percentage. The Storm finished fourth in the Midwest Division, Sparks was 1-4 with a 3.05 goals against and .920 save percentage in the five-game playoff series with Kitchener. He won a gold medal at the 2013 U20 World Junior Championship in Ufa but did not see any action as the USA’s third goalie behind John Gibson (Anaheim) and Jon Gillies (Calgary).

2013-14: Sparks played in 21 games for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies in his first pro season as a backup to veteran Drew MacIntyre and also skated for the Orlando Solar Bears in the ECHL. He was 11-6-1 for the Marlies with a 2.63 goals against and .915 save percentage. Toronto finished first in the North Division and reached the Western Conference finals — falling to Texas in a seven-game series. Sparks did not see any action in the playoffs. In 10 ECHL games with Orlando he was 4-6 with one shutout and had a 2.82 goals against and .916 save percentage. 

014-15: Sparks appeared in two games with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies, spending most of his second pro season in the ECHL with Orlando. He was 1-0, stopping 58 of 60 shots in his brief time with the Marlies. Sparks was 21-7-3 with five shutouts and had a 2.34 goals against and .936 save percentage in 36 games for Orlando. The Solar Bears finished fourth in the East Division, falling to first-place Florida in an opening round series. Sparks was 2-4 with a 2.98 goals against and .921 save percentage in six playoff games.

2015-16: Sparks made his NHL debut in a November 30th game against Edmonton after starting the year with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. He played in 17 games for the Maple Leafs, missing time after suffering a lower-body injury in December. Sparks was 6-9-1 with one shutout and had a 3.02 goals against and .893 save percentage. Sparks played 24 regular season games with the Marlies. He was 14-4-3 with three shutouts and had a 2.33 goals against and .928 save percentage. Toronto finished first in the North Division, advancing to the Eastern Conference finals against Hershey. Sharing the goaltending duties with Antoine Bibeau, Sparks was 2-2 with one shutout and had a 2.30 goals against and .915 save percentage in his first five playoff games.

Talent Analysis

Sparks is a large player whose frame allows him to be a very good blocking goaltender. He cuts down the angles well and is able to track play through traffic. Sparks steadily showed gained more consistency during his junior career and has shown promise early in his pro career — though he been set back by injuries.

Future

Sparks played 17 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015-16, making his NHL debut after spending the majority of his first two pro seasons in the ECHL. Sharing the goaltending duties with Antoine Bibeau for the AHL's Toronto Marlies, Sparks is at the end of his original entry-level contract and would be an unrestricted free agent if not tendered a contract offer. Barring any off-season acquisitions, if he is re-signed he will compete with Bibeau and recently signed Kasimir Kasisuo for the backup job to Leafs starter Jonathan Bernier in training camp. Sparks has the size and skill set to be an effective NHL goaltender. Consistency is his biggest challenge.

 

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