Luke Opilka

Hometown:

St. Louis Missouri

Currently Playing In:

CHL

Birthday:

1997-02-27

Position:

G

Eligible for draft:

2015

Catches:

Left

Drafted:

2015

Height:

6-1

Acquired:

5th round (146th overall), 2015

Weight:

192 lbs.

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History

2012-13: Luke Opilka played for the St Louis Blues AAA U16 team in Missouri. In 22 games he had a 1.55 goals against and .927 save percentage. Opilka attended USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program evaluation camp in March and was offered a spot in the NTDP program for the 2013-14 season. He was selected by Kitchener in the sixth round (102nd overall) in the 2013 OHL Priority Draft. In August 2013 he committed to playing college hockey at Wisconsin in 2015-16. 

2013-14: Opilka moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan to play for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, skating for the NTDP U17 team and playing for the USA U17 team in the 2014 World Hockey Challenge in Canada. Sharing the goaltending duties for the NTDP U17 squad with Harvard University recruit Michael Lackey, he was 14-19-1 in 30 games and had a 3.59 goals against and .863 save percentage. Opilka was 2-0 with a 1.50 goals against and .927 save percentage in two games for the gold medal USA squad at the WHC. Lackey started the gold medal game against Canada Pacific, stopping all 12 shots he faced in a 4-0 win. 

2014-15: Opilka returned to Ann Arbor for his second season in the NTDP program — skating for the U18 team. He appeared in two games as a backup to Tri-City Americans goalie and 2016 NHL Draft prospect Evan Sarthou for the gold medal-winning USA U18 team at the 2015 World Junior Championship. In 36 games for the NTDP U18 team he was 25-7 with 3 shutouts and had a 2.77 goals against and .883 save percentage. Opilka started two games for the USA at the WJC and was 1-1 with a 3.01 goals against and .818 save percentage. Sarthou started the gold medal game as the USA defeated Finland, 2-1, in overtime. Opilka played for Team Grier in the 2014 USA Hockey All-American Top Prospects Game and was ranked 12th amongst North American goaltenders in the Central Scouting final rankings. He was selected by St. Louis in the fifth round (146th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft and signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Blues in July 2015. He signed an OHL contract with Kitchener the following day. 

2015-16: Opilka enjoyed a fast start with Kitchener in his first OHL season — beginning the year 16-3-2 and earning an invitation to the USA U20 training camp for the 2016 World Junior Championship — before yielding to 20-year-old Dawson Carty late in the year and in the playoffs. Opilka was 27-11-5 with two shutouts in 44 regular season games, ending the year with a 2.70 goals against and .906 save percentage. Kitchener finished third in the rugged Midwest Division.  Opilka made his only playoff start in the Rangers’ first game, allowing three goals on seven shots in 9:36 minutes before being replaced by Carty. Kitchener eventually came back to win 6-5 in overtime; dispatching the Spitfires in five games before being swept by eventual champion London.

Talent Analysis

Opilka has the prototypical size of a pro goalie and has the ability to steal games for his team when he is on his game. He is an athletic netminder and uses his size to advantage. He should continue to develop as he grows and adds strength. He is still adjusting to the rigors of the longer CHL season.

Future

Opilka enjoyed a promising first season in the OHL with Kitchener in 2015-16 before wearing down at the end of the year. The 19-year-old will look to build on his success in his second season with the Rangers and is also a candidate for the USA starting job at the 2017 World Junior Championship. The experience gained in his first season should pay dividends in the future. Like most teenage goalies Opilka is a mystery in terms of his long-term potential. He has the tools to be an NHL starter.

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