Aaron Dell, Zane McIntyre, Cam Johnson, …Cameron Rowe? The young goaltender certainly hopes that he will be the next in a line of recent stud goalies to come out of the University of North Dakota. The U.S. National Development Program announced today that their keeper has committed to join the Fighting Hawks next season.
Rowe, 17, is a draft-eligible prospect who is regarded as one of the handful of goalies guaranteed to be selected in the 2019 NHL Draft. The Illinois native is in his second season with the USNTDP and led the U-17 squad with 43 appearances last season. This year, he’s sharing the U-18 net with fellow draft-eligible stopper Spencer Knight. Knight, who many feel is the top goalie prospect in the 2019 draft class and looks like a presumptive first-round pick next June, actually began making U-18 starts last year and has outperformed Rowe so far this year. The Boston College commit may even have the inside track to starring for the U.S. World Junior squad this year. While Rowe has had a tough time adjusting to the tougher competition so far this season, he continues to get his fair share of starts next to Knight and will likely improve as the year goes on, even if he remains overshadowed.
If anything, the fact that North Dakota was interested in Rowe is proof enough that he is a talented goaltender. The collegiate powerhouse has had immense success developing goalies of late. San Jose Sharks backup Dell was the first in line, helping the team to conference championships in each of his three seasons from 2009 to 2012, in addition to several individual accolades. Current Boston Bruins’ third-string McIntyre came next and in 2014-15 won the Mike Richter Award as the best goalie in the NCAA and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker award as the best player in college hockey. Most recently, New Jersey Devils prospect Johnson led the team to a National Championship in 2015-16. Interestingly enough, Dell and Johnson were never drafted and McIntyre was a seventh-round flier. Rowe, considered a legitimate NHL prospect already, may just have a chance to be the best of the bunch.