Developing goaltenders is a long-term project. Unlike some skaters who can make a sudden impact in the NHL at 18 or 19, goalies tend to take longer to mature. Look at the Barracuda's Troy Grosenick for example - all of a sudden, he's turned into the AHL's best goaltender at the age of 27. That's also the same age Sharks netminder Aaron Dell made his NHL debut this year.
Sharks prospect Mike Robinson (@mike32robinson) hopes to be the next in a long line of success stories, even if it takes a little while.
Robinson is committed to play for University of New Hampshire Wildcats in the 2017-18 season. He was originally going to become a Wildcat this year, but after suffering a wrist injury, Robinson decided to wait a year before enrolling at UNH.
In the meantime, he started the season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League. After a rough couple of games, he has seemed to find his footing with the Springfield Jr. Blues of the North American Hockey League, where he's become the starter and leads the team in wins.
The Sharks selected Robinson out of high school in the 3rd round (86th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft after playing with Lawrence Academy and the Boston Jr. Bruins. Despite just turning 20 last week, the netminder is already listed at 6'3" and 197 pounds.
"The Bedford, NH native is a big goaltender who impresses scouts with his size and fundamentals. He's not overly athletic, quick or agile, but he is technically sound. He does a nice job squaring up to and challenging shooters and he covers a lot of the net with his big frame." - SBN College Hockey
Positioning and tracking the puck are big parts of Robinson's game. "You want your nose to the glove and to watch the puck go into the glove," Robinson said to Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News. "You focus in on the puck instead of just blocking it."
He's getting no shortage of shots to practice stopping with the Jr. Blues this season. In 24 games, Robinson has had to face 40 or more shots in 7 games. In just his 4th game in Springfield, he had a 50-save performance.
For goaltenders, development requires a lot of repetition. With potentially 4 years of college hockey ahead of him, Robinson still has the opportunity to continue honing his craft before hopefully making his NHL dreams come true down the line.
Click here to view the current prospect report.