The Pittsburgh Penguins added to their prospect depth today by signing goaltender Brad Thiessen, who just finished up his junior year with Northeastern. Being that Thiessen had one more year of college eligibility left he didn't have to leave he collegiate ranks, but then again his profile is definitely at a high point as he's a finalist for the Hobey Baker award as the nation's best college player.
Thiessen, a 23 year old native of Canada, posted a record of 25-12-4 for Northeastern with a goals against average of 2.12, save pecentage of 93.1% and registered three shutouts. Thiessen will now join his collegiate teammate Joe Vitale (think a mixture of Tyler Kennedy and Max Talbot) down in Wilkes-Barre for the rest of this season. Thiessen is listed at 6'0 and 176 pounds, a smaller goalie for today's standards, which may be one of the reasons he wasn't drafted in the first place.
As Jonathan Bombulie points out, this wasn't an expected move for the Penguins:
I didn't realize the Penguins were putting a priority on replenishing their goaltending prospect pool. I figured John Curry would back up Marc-Andre Fleury next year, this Chad Johnson cat from Alaska-Fairbanks would come in, and the organization would sign a veteran No. 3 to play in the AHL and be ready if Curry falters in an NHL role. Plus, they took two goalies in last year's draft (Alexander Pechurski from Russia in the fifth round and Patrick Killeen from Brampton in the sixth).
I guess I shouldn't be surprised, though. This is pretty much exactly what the Penguins did in 2007, choosing to sign a promising college free agent (Curry) rather than a draft pick (Bobby Goepfert) and that worked out pretty well for them, didn't it?
Yes it did, as Curry is now one of the best goaltenders in the AHL and a likely candidate to be the backup in Pittsburgh next season.
I still think that Pittsburgh will look to sign a Ty Conklin-esque veteran backup (even though it's unrealisitic to expect a 2007-08 Conkblock performance). As far as Chad Johnson, maybe he'll start in the ECHL? Who knows.
It's nice to bring in a highly regarded player into the system. Just this morning I referenced the Pens signng a Hobey Baker candidate, and who knows, maybe before it's all over they'll land the highly prized Matt Gilroy.