|Brodan Salmond - Shoot the Breeze Photography|
In two starts and 61 minutes of playing time, Salmond has stopped 32 of 33 pucks for a save percentage of .970.
One word. Impressive.
Having allowed only one goal against, the about to turn 19 year-old has a goals against average of 0.98. Simply put, Salmond has delivered despite naysayers suggesting he can't get it done. While doubt still remains with his limited resume and the regular season still 16 days away, in my opinion, he deserves the starting role when the team opens the regular season September 22nd against the Kamloops Blazers. You can't take that opportunity away from him after riding the pine behind Michael Herringer a season ago.
Salmond won't wow you with his cat-like reflexes, athleticism or his tremendous positioning. The 10th round WHL bantam pick has a lot of work in his game. But that could also be said of Memorial Cup champion and MVP Kelly Guard. Guard came to the Rockets as a 19 year-old discarded player from the Prince Albert Raiders. Guard had his warts too, but was a WHL champion (2003) at seasons end. Adam Brown and Jordan Cooke were never sure-fire proven starters in their 19 year-old seasons either. Brown still holds a franchise record for minutes played. Cooke is regarded as one of the Rockets best goalies after capturing the CHL Top Goalie award in his 20 year-old season.
Can you imagine if all three were never given a chance?
Were you shaking in your boots when Cooke graduated and Jackson Whistle assumed the number one duties for the start of the 2014-2015 season? Sure you did. So did I. You should also remember how Whistle grabbed the baton and ran with it. Whistle, who wasn't positionally sound either, would help the team earn a WHL title when it was suggested through the season, and all through the playoffs, that he was the weak link that would sink the Rockets chances of winning the Ed Chynoweth Cup.
Does Brodan Salmond need to be terrific this season and steal games in order for the team to win? It wouldn't hurt, but if Salmond needs to be a saviour in order to propel his team to success, the 2017-2018 edition of the Kelowna Rockets have more problems than at the starting goaltender position.