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Draftee draws high praise

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings made Saginaw goalie Jake Paterson a third-round pick Saturday when they took him with the No. 80 overall selection. (Photo by Getty Images)

PITTSBURGH – Jimmy Devellano stood near the Red Wings’ draft table on the floor of the Consol Energy Center sipping a cup of coffee Saturday morning.

Moments earlier, the Wings selected 18-year-old goalie Jake Paterson with their third-round pick – 80th overall – in the 2012 NHL amateur draft. Not knowing much about Paterson’s pedigree, the senior vice president sought an honest analysis from someone who’s quite familiar with the third ranked North American goaltender in this weekend’s draft.

Peering over his wire-rimmed glasses, Devellano asked former Wings goalie Chris Osgood to compare the young Paterson to a current NHL netminder. Without hesitation, Osgood, now the club’s goaltending development coach, likened Paterson to the league’s reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner.

“He's a mixture of Jonathan Quick and (Cory) Schneider,” Osgood said, referring to the goalies from Los Angeles and Vancouver, respectively. “Definitely one of the guys we targeted and hoped would come to us in the third round.”

For Paterson, who grew up a Red Wings’ fan in Mississauga, Ontario, being drafted by Detroit was a bigger than life experience Saturday morning.

“It’s a surreal for sure,” he said. “I was a Wings’ fan growing up so to be picked by the Wings is just an unbelievable feeling right now.”

Paterson played parts of the past two seasons with the Saginaw Spirits of the Ontario Hockey League. The first goalie selected in the 2010 OHL draft, Paterson blossomed last season in leading the Spirit past the Sarnia Sting in an opening round playoff series. The Sting was led by Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk, who were both first-round picks on Friday.

Though he had a slow start to the season last fall, Paterson turned up his game.

“We had a great second half, and me personally I played a little bit better as we went down the stretch,” he said. “It was a good year for myself and for the team. I’m just looking forward to having a good year next year.”

Osgood spent a considerable amount of time last season scouting Paterson and talking him up to the Wings’ organization. But the biggest thing about Paterson that caught Osgood’s attention was the young man’s peaceful demeanor.

“Watching goalies all my life, I could tell right away he had something for sure,” said Osgood, who won more than 400 games as an NHL goalie. “Obviously he was raw when I first saw him early in the season. As the season went on he really improved.

“What I like about him is he's athletic when he needs to be but there's a calm demeanor to him. When he was playing you could tell his team knew he was calm, a real competitor. They played hard for him. Every time I saw him play, he's a real good teammate from what I hear on all accounts. He's high on our list.”

Paterson describes himself as a butterfly-style goalie, who once idolized Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury and Buffalo’s Ryan Miller.

“I would say that I’m a hybrid goalie and I’m usually pretty calm in the net, not usually flopping around all over the place,” said Paterson, who took up goaltending at age 10. “I’m pretty quick down low with my reactions with the glove and blocker, so I’d say a butterfly goalie whose pretty calm in the net.”

But from a skill standpoint, Osgood really likes that Paterson will challenge shooters and doesn’t rely on his reflexes alone.

“He plays like Schneider with the athletic ability of Quick a little bit,” Osgood said.

Paterson will return to Saginaw in the fall, where it’s expected that he’ll be the No. 1 goalie, though he believes he’ll have competition in Clint Windsor, the No. 17 ranked North American goalie. But he was not drafted.

“It’s up in the air right now though I would like to get as much as playing time as possible. Me and Clint (Windsor) will probably be battling for the No.1 spot next year again, so I’m just looking forward to it.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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