The Soo Greyhounds have added a veteran goaltender to the mix.
The team has added netminder Tucker Tynan from the Niagara IceDogs in exchange for a pair of draft picks.
The 19-year-old got into action in 14 of Niagara’s 21 games this season, posting a 5-9-0-0 record with a 3.88 goals against average and a 0.894 save percentage. Tynan was in goal for all but one of Niagara’s wins this season.
“He’s a super competitive kid,” said Greyhounds general manager Kyle Raftis of the Chicago, Ill. product. “He’s highly motivated and coming into this new environment is really going to take him to another step.”
The deal, which sees the Greyhounds send a third round draft pick in the 2025 OHL Priority Selection along with an eighth round pick in 2024 to Niagara, was a surprise for Tynan.
“I was pretty shocked,” said Tynan, reached while awaiting a flight to the Sault from Toronto on Monday evening.
The expectations for Tynan are high as he prepares to join his new club.
“My goal is to be the best goalie in the league, and I think that’s attainable,” Tynan said. “I haven’t gotten off to the start I necessarily wanted, but the Sault is a great team and I think I’m going to fit in really well.”
Raftis called the addition of Tynan, along with adding some experience in goal, sees the team acquire a goaltender they believe can push the younger netminders and mentor them as well.
“With so many new players this year and a lot of inexperienced players at all positions, you want to be patient coming into this year and getting an idea of what players can do,” Raftis said. “With that year off, it was difficult to assess. Bringing in Tucker, it’s a situation where he can push our younger goalies.”
Raftis added that the play of rookies Samuel Ivanov and Charlie Schenkel has improved since opening day of training camp.
“When you go back and look at that first exhibition game to where these guys are now, they’ve really improved,” Raftis said. “At the same time, as we get into this stretch, you want to have somebody that can push and with Tucker, he’s going to push our goaltender practice-habits wise and teaching-wise.”
Raftis called the addition of Tynan the “right fit at the right time.”
“Goaltending is always a tough acquisition mid-season because sometimes guys aren’t sure if they’re going to be back as OA’s or they’re so valuable to their team because they have a young team in front of them and the older goalie might keep them in it,” Raftis added. “When it lined up in this spot, instead of sitting and waiting right until the deadline and seeing what becomes available, we decided to take a step with Tucker.”
Raftis said talks began between the two clubs “a week or two ago” adding that the deal came together quickly over the weekend.
IceDogs general manager Joey Burke said the deal wasn’t an easy one to make.
“It is always a difficult day to trade away a quality player like Tucker,” Burke said in a prepared statement, adding that with two other netminders in the mix and the opportunity to add draft picks in the deal “this is one of those deals that makes sense for, and helps, everyone involved.”
Tynan was in the midst of a solid rookie season with the IceDogs when he suffered a gruesome injury in a game against the London Knights in December 2019.
Tynan’s leg was cut by a skate and required surgery and a long recovery process.
He was 11-8-3-1 at the time of the injury with a 3.80 GAA and a 0.910 save percentage.
Tynan didn’t return to the lineup for the rest of the 2019-20 season but made his first start with the IceDogs since the injury on opening night in October, posting a 25-save performance in a win over the Barrie Colts on Oct. 7.
“It’s definitely been crazy,” Tynan said of returning from the injury as well as the year off from the league due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I just want to win. I haven’t gotten to do that much this year and it hasn’t been the start I wanted this season, but I just have to look up and keep going.”
Raftis added that the year off due to COVID allowed Tynan to focus on what he needed to do to get back to playing.
“That year off really gave him an opportunity to focus in on his training and doing what he needed to do off the ice to get his body ready,” Raftis said. “There were times where it was ‘Is he even going to play hockey again?’ And that was the least of anyone’s concerns just because of how tragic that injury was and how serious it was at the time. It was probably a benefit just to have that time off to train and rehab and do all of the things he needed to do to.”