The Hamilton Bulldogs won the OHL title yesterday, back-stopped by goaltender Kaden Fulcher.
Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff spoke with Red Wings director of player development Shawn Horcoff and assistant GM Ryan Martin regarding Fulcher’s rapid progress up the team’s depth chart:
“He’s improved his movement in the net,” Horcoff said. “We like his size and athleticism. He was a little bit raw but he’s a kid that wants to work and puts in the work. Goalies are more of a long-term project. You get these kids that are young, it takes a while to hone their craft. They really have to put the work in to be ready for the pro game. He’s very much doing that. We’re happy with his progression and where he’s at.”
Where Fulcher will be at next year is a debate the Wings will engage in over the summer months. Detroit’s goaltending is definitely in a state of flux. Jimmy Howard is the only goalie on the roster with any significant NHL experience, and Jared Coreau, who was No. 1 in Grand Rapids and Howard’s back up with the Wings at the end of the NHL regular season, is an unrestricted free agent, as is fellow Grand Rapids netminder and 2008 No. 1 draft pick Tom McCollum. The contract of Matej Machovsky, a free agent signed last summer, is also up and he’s opted to return to his native Czech Republic.
The door of opportunity to turn pro certainly appears to be there for Fulcher but that’s a decision the team is still weighing.
“Next year we have the option to send him back and play an overage junior year, or he’d be working between Toledo and maybe Grand Rapids,” Martin said. “We’ll continue to monitor his development.”
Duff continues, and Fulcher and the Bulldogs will head to Regina to compete for the Memorial Cup starting on the 17th.