Sharks fans were treated to something uniquely special during the teams second game in as many days on Sunday.
Veteran goaltender Antti Niemi had put in work the previous night, and the Sharks usual backup, Alex Stalock, is currently on injured reserve as many of us are aware. It’s the complete norm in the NHL for the backup goalie to start the second game of back-to-backs, but when Sharks’ head coach Todd McLellan announced Sunday morning that call-up Troy Grosenick would be getting the nod for the afternoon game, many fans scratched their heads and asked themselves, who is Troy Grosenick?
They aren’t scratching their heads any longer.
The 25-year old rookie started his first NHL game against the Hurricanes, and did not disappoint, as his 45 save performance backstopped the Sharks to a victory and Grosenick to a shutout in his NHL debut. He joins a very short list of rookies to record a shutout in their NHL debuts, and set a new record for a shutout debut in the modern era.
The Sharks signed Grosenick as an undrafted, unrestricted free-agent from Union College after the 2012-13 season. Spending all of last season with the clubs AHL affiliate, the Worcester Sharks, he recorded a .903 save percentage in 35 appearances.
Grosenick had a long path to the NHL, openly admitting he “wasn’t good enough” to be drafted by an NHL club.
After high school, he began playing for Cedar Rapids of the USHL, which is regarded as a top developmental league for NHL and college prospects. For two seasons, he was given all star honors in the USHL.
He eventually found himself at the aforementioned Union College, where during his sophomore year, he began to come into form, posting a goals-against average of 1.65 and a record of 22-6-3. That same year he led Union College to its first ever Frozen Four appearance and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker award.
McLellan felt that Grosenick could be a rallying point for the team Sunday, and at the surface, it appears that Grosenick single handedly carried the Sharks to victory, as the Hurricanes out shot the Sharks 45-19.
Now that we know who Troy Grosenick is, the question now is, does he get the start at the team’s final game of the road trip in Buffalo?