2003-04: Pogge won the starting job in Prince George during his rookie WHL season, supplanting fellow Leaf prospect Todd Ford, who was subsequently traded to Vancouver (WHL). Pogge finished 17-18-2 in 44 games with a 2.833 GAA and .900 save percentage. Pogge was named Prince George’s Rookie of the Year. Pogge played one game for Canada at the WJC U-18 tournament, allowing two goals. He was drafted by Toronto in the 3rd round (90th overall).
2004-05: Started the season with Prince George before a mid-season trade to the Calgary Hitmen. In 53 games with Prince George, he was 10-9-2 with a 2.80 GAA and .891 save percentage with four shutouts. Playing behind a stronger lineup in Calgary, Pogge’s numbers improved. He was 14-12-3, allowing 2.29 goals a game with a .917 save percentage and had a pair of shutouts. In his first WHL playoff appearance, Pogge played all 12 games for the Hitmen, who topped Lethbridge in the first round before falling to Brandon in the second round. Pogge had a 1.94 GAA and .928 save percentage with 1 shutout in the playoffs.
2005-06: Pogge’s final season in the WHL was one to remember – both for his play with Calgary and his performance in the World Junior Championships, where he allowed just six goals in six games as Canada won a gold medal on its home turf. In WHL play with the Hitmen, he finished the campaign with 38 wins, 10 losses, 6 ties and 11 shutouts. Pogge’s 1.72 GAA and .926 save percentage earned him the WHL’s Del Wilson trophy as best goaltender and Four Broncos Memorial MVP trophy. The playoffs were a bit of a disappointment for the Hitmen as the long season may have taken its toll on Pogge. In 13 playoff games, he had two shutouts with a 2.54 GAA and .911 save percentage but the Hitmen again fell in the second round, losing to Moose Jaw in seven games. Pogge was named the CHL Goaltender of the year and in a sign that Toronto viewed him as their goalie of the future, the Leafs traded another goaltending prospect, Tuukka Rask, their 1st round pick in 2005, to Boston.
2006-07: Pogge’s first pro season did not exactly go as planned as the Toronto Marlies were one of the weaker teams in the AHL and he was frequently under duress. After splitting time with fourth-year minor leaguer Jean-Francois Racine for the first half of the season, Pogge was given the majority of the starts over the second half of the season, with the Marlies well out of the playoff picture. From January 5th on, Pogge played 33 games for the Marlies – with some spectacular performances and some that were awful. On the plus side, he had three shutouts for the Marlies but this was countered six occasions when he allowed five or more goals. Pogge’s best stretch came over six games in March, when he posted a 2.13 GAA and a 3-2-1 record. Overall, in 48 games he was 19-25 with 2 OT losses and had a 3.03 GAA and .896 save percentage.
2007-08: Things went much better for Pogge in his second season with the Toronto Marlies, as Toronto added several AHL veterans and were much more competitive. From a personal standpoint, Pogge seemed to benefit from playing in a true tandem with former New Jersey Devil backup Scott Clemmensen. Pogge posted the best numbers of his career to date, despite fewer appearances than in 2006-07. He was going 26-10-0 with four shutouts in 41 regular season games and finished with a 2.34 GAA and a .908 save percentage. In the playoffs, the Marlies rode Clemmensen’s hot hand to the AHL semifinals but Pogge played in four games and was 1-1 with a 2.09 GAA and .918 save percentage.
2008-09: With Clemmensen back in the New Jersey organization, the Marlies starting job once again fell to Pogge but even before new Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke took over in November there were signs that Pogge’s status as the Leafs “Goalie of the Future” might be fading. Pogge got off to a slow start for the Marlies, winning only 11 of his first 24 games with a .891 save percentage. Pogge made his NHL debut at the end of December, stopping 19 of 21 shots in a Leafs’ win over the Thrashers but that would be his only NHL win. In seven games with the Leafs, as he shuttled between the Leafs and Marlies during the second half of the season, he was 1-4 with one OT loss, with an unsightly 4.35 GAA and .844 save percentage. His numbers were much better in the AHL, where he finished 26-21 with 5 OT losses and a 2.70 GAA and .895 save percentage. Pogge’s tenure in Toronto officially ended when he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks for a conditional 2010 draft pick in August.
2009-10: While the move to Anaheim allowed Pogge to get out of a bad situation in Toronto, the Ducks goaltending tandem of Jonas Hillier and Jean-Sebastien Giguere have both been successful at the NHL level. With Anaheim without an AHL affiliate, Pogge split his time between Bakersfield in the ECHL and was loaned to Phoenix’ AHL affiliate in San Antonio (ironically, Al Montoya, the former Team USA goaltender who also won a gold medal at the WJC and was once a highly-prized prospect, was with the Rampage, and it was Montoya’s separated shoulder that led to Pogge’s playing time). In 23 games with San Antonio, Pogge was 12-7 with 3 OT losses and 3 shutouts and had a 2.57 GAA and .920 save percentage. He played nine games with Bakersfield and was 6-2 with a 2.69 GAA and .902 save percentage. In March, the Hurricanes traded Aaron Ward to Anaheim for Pogge and a 4th round draft pick in either 2010 or 2011. Pogge finished the season with Carolina’s AHL affiliate in Albany. In four games with the River Rats he was 1-0 with 2 OT losses with a 2.41 GAA and .928 save percentage.
For such a tall goalie, Pogge moves very well in his crease and handles the puck well. Once one of the most highly prized goaltending prospects, Pogge’s production has not matched the potential he showed during his days in junior, when his composure and confidence were two of his biggest strengths. In fairness to him, he has yet to be in a stable situation with a solid structure to allow him to develop.
Pogge will likely join Mike Murphy in net for Charlotte in the AHL this season. Once viewed as a can’t-miss prospect after leading Canada to a WJC gold medal in 2006, he has now fallen off the radar in terms of being a top prospect. After three tumultuous years in the Toronto organization and the uncertainty of last season, playing for an organization with an AHL affiliate, the relative stability of the Hurricanes system could help him turn things around. While the chance he becomes an elite NHL starter are remote, Pogge’s talent suggests he can thrive in the right situation.