Prospect Profile: Rick DiPietro

By Drew Bennett
At the 2000 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the New York Islanders,
with the first overall selection, shocked the world by selecting Goaltender
Rick DiPietro, and trading Roberto Luongo and Kevin Weekes. DiPietro
instantly made hockey history by being selected the highest drafted
Goaltender ever, surpassing Luongo, who was selected by the Islanders with
the 4th overall choice in 1997.

At Boston University, DiPietro had a 18-5-5 record with a 2.45 goals
against average and a .913 save percentage. DiPietro won the Kevin Mutch
award as the Most Valuable Player of the Boston University vs. Boston College
Series. One of DiPietro’s top qualities are his confidence and his puck
handling ability. His ability to play the puck was the reason that Mike
Milbury, General Manager of the New York Islanders, believed he would be a
better Goaltender than Luongo. Milbury was quoted a few weeks after the
draft saying “DiPietro will revitalize the goaltending position.”

After struggling at training camp, where he suffered a groin injury, he
was sent to the Chichago Wolves of the International Hockey League. He also
struggled in Chicago where he posted a sub-par 3.39 Goals Against Average.
In the World Junior Championships for Team USA, DiPietro played almost 360
minutes, and allowed only 8 goals on 109 shots. He played in six games, and
had a 5-1 with a 1.33 goals against average and a .927 save percentage.

After the World Junior Championships, DiPietro finally got his chance to
play in the NHL. In his debut on January 27, he faced the Buffalo Sabres and
made 29 stops in a 2-1 loss. In that game he also recorded an assist, on a
Dave Scatchard goal. Since then DiPietro, just like the rest of the
Islanders team, has been inconsistent. So far, in 18 games, DiPietro has
played almost 1,000 minutes and a Goals Against Average of 3.42 and a Save
Percentage of .877.

In is clear to most people that DiPietro is still a top prospect. Still
a teenager, DiPietro has shown many positives in his young career. He has
not been affected by the Islanders losing atmosphere and has made some
outstanding saves on some of the NHL’s top snipers such as Pavel Bure. Next
year, DiPietro will probably start for the New York Islanders new farm team,
the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.