The American Hockey League’s Worcester Sharks have started the young season on top of the Eastern Conference, and most of the teams early success has been given to goaltender Troy Grosenick. The San Jose Sharks top affiliate have played in three games so far, and currently undefeated.
Grosenick, who was eligible to be drafted back in 2007, was not selected by any National Hockey League team, and signed as a free-agent with with the Sharks on a one-year entry-level contract following his Junior year at Union College. In three years playing at Union, Grosenick appeared in 71 games for the Dutchmen, posting 39 wins, 16 losses,a 1.96 goals against and .919 save percentage.
The 2013-14 season was Grosenick’s rookie season in the AHL where he split the season with former Worcester Sharks starter Harri Sateri. Grosenick appeared in 35 games, with an 18-14 record, a 2.62 goals against and .903 save percentage. With the NHL Sharks comfortable with the efforts of backup goaltender Alex Stalock last season, Harri Sateri opted to leave the Sharks organization for a better opportunity in the Kontinental Hockey League, signing a one-year deal with Vityaz Podolsk club.
This season will be the first year that Grosenick will be a legitimate AHL starter with the Sharks. He has started all three games, while going undefeated. In those three games he has a stellar 1.86 goals against and .944 save percentage. The 25 year old, Brookfield, Wisconsin native should get a bulk of the starts for head coach Roy Sommer, while continuing his development under the close eye of goaltending coach Corey Schwab.
Grosenick is certainly a work in progress for the Shark organization as he does have some flaws in his game. Although he is a hard worker, he needs to work on his rebound control with his blocker, and glove hand. He is a very quick and athletic goaltender who positions himself very well to the shooter. He also has stellar lateral movements down low going post to post.
Grosenick is an aggressive goaltender who is known for cutting down his angles out of the crease, but has been caught many times out of position with weak rebound control. He has also been known to play a little too deep in the crease when opposing traffic is in front of him, forcing him to make fast reaction saves.
This season could be a very important year for Grosenick, because of the unrestricted free agency status of starting goaltender Antti Niemi who is currently on his last year of his contract. If the Sharks and Niemi cannot agree on an extension it is believed that Alex Stalock has the ability to be the starter, and could give Grosenick a great opportunity as an NHL backup. Grosenick himself is currently on his last year of his contract and is slated to be a free-agent this coming summer.