Looking to add some depth between the pipes, the Soo Greyhounds completed a trade on Wednesday and added an overage player in the process.
The Greyhounds acquired veteran goaltender Christian Propp from the North Bay Battalion on Wednesday in a deal that sees the team send a conditional 15th round draft pick (2022) to North Bay.
For the Greyhounds, the deal gives the team a veteran netminder to work with Ethan Taylor, who is coming off his first season with the team.
“He’s an established starting goalie in the league,” Greyhounds general manager Kyle Raftis said of Propp. “The second half (of the season) and what he was able to accomplish in the playoffs leaves a great refresher in my mind of what he’s capable of doing.”
Propp played in 51 games for North Bay last season, going 24-24-2-0 with a 3.98 goals against average and .893 save percentage.
In North Bay’s five-game series loss to the Niagara IceDogs in the opening round of the playoffs, Propp posted a .929 save percentage. The series included stopping 53 shots in the series opener and 50 more in the series finale. Over the five games, Propp faced 252 shots for an average of just over 50 per game.
“Anybody who watched or followed that series knew that he did everything he could to give (North Bay) the best opportunity to win. The series went the way it went but we saw him reach that level. It shows what he’s capable of doing.”
In a release, North Bay director of hockey operations and coach Stan Butler called the trade a “good opportunity with a good team.”
“Given our overage situation and what we feel is the depth in goaltending in our organization, we wanted to give Christian an opportunity to play in the league,” Butler said.
With the addition of Propp, the Greyhounds overage situation continues to take shape.
With goaltender Matthew Villalta likely turning pro in the Los Angeles Kings organization, Raftis did say that he has not been told for certain that the netminder would be turning pro, but the Greyhounds made the move to acquire Propp to assure the team was in a good position as Villalta looks to make the jump to pro hockey.
Among other potential overage players, the Greyhounds stand to lose Morgan Frost, a draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers as well, but are poised to return veteran forward Jaden Peca, acquired from the Barrie Colts ahead of the OHL trade deadline in January.
With one overage spot still open, Raftis said the team will consider potential offers to fill the spot.
“We’ve had conversations and that’s how Christian became available,” Raftis said. “We’re definitely not against adding another overage but it’s got to be the right fit. It’s not going to be somebody that we’re adding just so we can be older.”
As the Greyhounds roster continues to take shape, the team is still considering possibilities for the CHL Import Draft.
Raftis said that Jaromir Pytlik, who joined the team in January, is expected back with the team as he enters his NHL draft year.
Roman Pucek’s status with the team wasn’t confirmed.
“We’re playing around with a few different scenarios but if he’s not going to be returning, we’ll make our selection,” Raftis said. “With our forward-base that we’re returning, we’ll see how it trends. We don’t have to make any decisions until the week after the NHL draft so it’s still wide-open. At the same time, looking at the depth at some positions and the players that become available through the draft, that’s going to impact our decision-making.”
The Greyhounds are slated to select 50th in the two-round draft.
The team has continued to sign prospects as the summer progresses. With 2019 first round pick Jacob Holmes signed, the team has also inked free agent forward Tanner Dickinson, a former commit to Ohio State University, and winger Marc Boudreau, a third round pick in 2019.
The team has continued to talk with 2017 pick John Beecher and 2018 pick Cole Caufield, both Americans with commitments to U.S. universities. Beecher is committed to the University of Michigan while Caufield is committed to Wisconsin.
Both are highly-touted prospects for the NHL draft later this month.
Raftis said the team has kept in contact with both players but signing them is something that isn’t close.
“With those guys having the years that they’re coming off of, it’s just a wait and see how their NHL draft goes,” Raftis said. “We’re in contact with them. It hasn’t been anything that has gotten close at any point thus far. We’ll see how the next couple of weeks trend.”