It takes time for some NHL prospects to develop. Not everyone breaks right into the NHL. This is especially true in goal. Goaltender Jake Kupsky (@kubby10) is another asset the Sharks hope pays off in the long term.
A sophomore at Union College, Kupsky is currently the back-up to senior goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos. While the elder Sakellaropoulos is entrenched as the starter, an injury allowed Kupsky the chance to start back to back games this past week.
He especially shined in a game against Colgate, putting up 26 saves in a 3-1 win.
"I thought he was the star of the game," Union head coach Rick Bennett said of Kupsky to the Albany Times-Union. "He really kept us in there, when we were scrambling around."
"I think it's tough for a positional player to not have played for that long, so I can't imagine what's like from a goaltender's standpoint," Bennett said to the Daily Gazette. "But Jake is a strong guy, mentally, and his work ethic is phenomenal."
The Sharks seem to have a goalie pipeline running through Union as of late. Barracuda goaltender and AHL All-Star Troy Grosenick was also a netminder for the Dutchmen.
The Sharks drafted Kupsky in the seventh round of 2015 NHL Draft (193rd overall). Listed at 6'5" and 210 pounds, he's the biggest goaltender in the Sharks organization in an era where NHL goaltenders have started trending bigger.
"He is a fast goaltender, and moves side to side well. He was not an easy goalie to play against in the NAHL. The lanky goalie has an aggressive style to his game, and he challenges shooters with his big frame. He may be a bit too aggressive at times. His pad-work is bit underdeveloped, but his blocker and glove are above average. He doesn't have the strongest positioning, but that can improve." - Craig Fischer, Hockey's Future.
In his first season with Union last year, Kupsky made school history by earning a shutout in his first career start, and was later named to the ECAC Hockey All-Academic Team.
Next year, with the aforementioned Sakellaropoulos moving on after his senior season, Kupsky should have a shot to take over the reigns for the Union Dutchmen in 2017-18. Perhaps he can play himself into being another seventh round steal for the Sharks down the line.