Dear Red Wings: Petruzzelli signs AHL contract with Toronto Marlies

Former Red Wings goalie prospect ends up signing with Toronto’s AHL team

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 02: Keith Petruzzelli #35 of the USA makes a save against Sweden during a World Jr. Summer Showcase game at USA Hockey Arena on August 2, 2017 in Plymouth, Michigan. The USA defeated Sweden 3-2. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Keith Petruzzelli (Dave Reginek, 2017 Dave Reginek)

The Keith Petruzzelli saga took a surprise turn on Sunday.

Petruzzelli signs with Marlies

Petruzzelli, now 22, is a 6-foot-5 goalie out of Quinnipiac University. He was without a NHL contract, leaving us all to speculate (for years, hence the word “saga”) about what his next step would be. Signing a two-year contract with an AHL club was not one of the outcomes anyone really suspected. The Toronto Marlies announced Sunday they were bringing him in on the two-year deal.

He was drafted by the Red Wings in the 3rd round (88th overall) back in 2017. He spent the past four seasons with Quinnipiac, most notably this past season when he was named an ECAC first-team all-star, the ECAC goalie of the year, a finalist for the Mike Richter Award as the NCAA’s best goaltender, and a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA’s most outstanding player. He posted a .926 save percentage and 1.89 GAA while leading Quinnipiac to a conference title and NCAA Tournament appearance. This was sure to get him the NHL contract he wanted, right?

Wrong. He parted ways with the Detroit Red Wings, who held rights to him since he was drafted. That’s fine, especially after we saw what the Red Wings did by adding Alex Nedeljkovic and drafting Sebastian Cossa. Personally, after realizing Steve Yzerman was not about to sign this guy (for whatever reason), I fully expected Petruzzelli would sign with another NHL team or return for a 5th season with Quinnipiac. Wrong again.

If he’s not getting a NHL contract right now (again, no clue why he’s not), then I don’t really understand why someone like him would choose to go to an AHL club, specifically in the goalie hellscape that is the Toronto Maple Leafs organization, and not go to Europe. He must really think he’s going to own the AHL and get even more recognition before signing an even better NHL contract. I don’t know where that would be. Toronto has a healthy list of goalies trying to play for a job with the Marlies. I mean, I don’t think he’s putting himself in an ideal situation unless he’s promised the starting job with the Marlies and a shot with the Leafs. Good luck.


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Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.