The Vancouver Canucks recently gave young netminder Michael DiPietro and his agent Darren Ferris permission to seek a trade, and Rick Dhaliwal of CHEK TV reports that one source believes that there is interest and a deal that “could make sense” for the Canucks.
DiPietro, 23, was a third-round pick of the Canucks in 2017 and quickly became a top goaltending prospect, despite his relatively small stature. He was included as the third goaltender for Canada at the 2018 World Championship before ever playing professional hockey and earned his first NHL minutes while still playing in the OHL as an emergency call-up.
It was his performance at the 2019 World Juniors that vaulted him to “goaltender of the future” status though, as Canucks fans got to see him dominate to the tune of a .952 save percentage. He would join the AHL affiliate the following year and put up decent numbers, but now a few years later and his path to NHL relevance is basically completely blocked.
With Thatcher Demko entrenched as the Vancouver starter, Spencer Martin signed to a cheap deal as the backup, and Collin Delia in place as a viable third-string option, it’s hard to see DiPietro ever getting the net for the Canucks. Thus the trade request and search, though general manager Patrik Allvin is not under much pressure to make a deal.
Not only is he under contract for the upcoming season but DiPietro is also still waiver-exempt this year, meaning he can be sent down without issue. It’s a tough spot for a netminder who hasn’t quite taken the step forward that many expected, and posted just a .901 save percentage in 34 appearances for Abbotsford last season. There is obviously potential there but at this point in the summer, most teams already have their NHL and AHL tandems in place. Expending an asset to acquire DiPietro might seem unnecessary, when he may well go unqualified by the Canucks next summer, if he’s still with the organization.