Canadiens prospect Michael McNiven named OHL’s top netminder

Pat Hickey

Montreal Gazette

A calculated gamble by the Canadiens two years ago appears to be paying dividends.

When Owen Sound Attack goaltender Michael McNiven wasn’t selected in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the Canadiens invited him to fill out the roster for their annual summer development camp.

McNiven played so well that the Canadiens decided to sign him to an entry-level contract, rather than have him go back into the draft in 2016 and be selected by another team.

The goaltender has made steady progress during the past two seasons and this week he was named Goaltender of the Year by the Ontario Hockey League.

His dominant play during the past season is reflected in the voting by OHL general managers. McNiven received 89 of a possible 95 voting points. Calgary Flames prospect Tyler Parsons of the London Knights finished a distant second with 27 points, and 2017 NHL Entry Draft prospect Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires was third with 26 points.

In his final junior season, McNiven appeared in 54 games and posted a record of 41-9-2-2. He led the OHL with a 2.30 goals-against average and tied for the league lead in shutouts with six. His 41 wins led the OHL this season and established a single season Attack record, surpassing Jordan Binnington’s mark of 32 set during his award winning 2012-13 season.

“This is a huge honour,” McNiven said in a statement released by the OHL. “At the beginning of the year, I made it my goal to be the best goalie I could be on a night in, night out basis, and to be named Goaltender of the Year in a league with so many fantastic goalies means a lot to me. That said, this should be viewed as a team award. I wouldn’t have been able to make the saves I did if it wasn’t for my teammates who blocked shots, cleared players from the front of the net and made my job easier.”

McNiven will attend his third development camp July 1-6 in Brossard and will be at the Canadiens’ rookie camp in September. Carey Price and Al Montoya are scheduled to return next season, and McNiven will have an opportunity to challenge Zach Fucale for the backup job behind Charlie Lindgren in Laval. Lindgren is a restricted free agent.

The goaltender award was first presented in 1987-88 to Rick Tabaracci (Cornwall) while other notable winners include Manny Legace (Niagara Falls 1992-93), Craig Anderson (Guelph 2000-01), and Steve Mason (London 2006-07).

phickey@postmedia.com

twitter.com/zababes1

Photo: James Masters/The Owen Sound Sun Times/Postmedia Network

1,506 Comments

  1. Habs62 says:

    Mavid is your head going to explode with Turds in ECF.

    I thought last year a house cleaning was needed only keeping Muller and Waite also dumping Lefevbre. Boucher was who I wanted along with someone like Groulx for AHL. Hopefully some housecleaning still happens

  2. Don Birnam says:

    France 2 Canada 1.
    Lol!
    Didn’t even know they played Hockey in France.

  3. baxman1 says:

    Watching the Ranger/Senator series shows that habs problems are not in the nets or defense for that matter. Habs make king Henry look worldly ( when he is past that) and Ottawa making him look like the goalie he really is and was during regular season. MB must somehow find scoring. Can’t believe habs couldn’t have signed Shypachev ( sorry for spelling) for the same price Las Vegas did


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