If you get a chance to speak with Ontario-based scouts about the 2015 OHL Entry Draft, it’s almost unanimous that the first goalie expected to be selected is Michael Di Pietro.
Di Pietro spent the 2013-14 season with the Sun County Panthers in the Alliance Hockey Minor Midget Pavilion League (AHMMPL).
PRO Goaltending owner Michael Lawrence quickly labeled Di Pietro as the camp’s “Young Stud”, saying he has the making to be an OHL first-round draft pick.
But beyond Di Pietro’s natural athleticism and above-average instincts, as a 15-year-old, what makes him such a quality prospect are his preparation skills. He’s known as being the first guy waiting to get into the rink before early-morning practices, he’s the first to arrive for games, he puts in the extra time to warm up his eyes and hands with tennis ball exercises, and he’s very disciplined with his entire pre-game routine. He also can’t wait to get into the room to do video analysis with his goalie coach or his head coach.
Consider this a classy, crucial form of goaltender etiquette, one that is rarely seen in a 15-year-old. If he continues to take great pride in his craft and respect the preparation process, he’ll be developing that pro mentality much earlier than most prospects his age.
In terms of his on-ice game, Di Pietro is very much a diamond in the rough. The PRO Goaltending system is very new to him, so Lawrence explained that there’s a lot of work to be done. He wants to stop the puck so badly that he’s over-aggressive, spending too much time in the white ice.
But I always feel it’s easier to dial back a goalie’s intensity than it is to try and crank it up, so as time goes on, Di Pietro is expected to work on making more conservative pushes and not challenging as often.
There are very few 15-year-old prospects that have the body control and awareness to display containment on a regular basis. But backed by impressive preparation skills and good off-ice and practice habits, the foundation is set for Di Pietro to have a strong season in preparation for the 2015 OHL Entry Draft.