For some of you OHL followers out there. Sparks was drafted late in the 2011 draft and seems to have improved by quite a bit in his sophomore season. He has 3 shutouts in his last 5 games and has really started to lead the Guelph Storm to a playoff spot.
The Toronto Maple Leafs seemed very high on him at the draft and were pleased to pick him up with the 190th overall pick.
For those of you who have had an opportunity to watch the kid, do you have any thoughts?
It sure is good to see a Leafs goalie being drafted for a change & excelling in his first post-draft season.
Early days yet but promising prospect.
I think there had been some concern as to whether he could win the starters job this season so clearly he has managed to do this AND MORE!
It wasn't really about winning the startes job, he was the unquestioned starter coming into the season. It was more about showing consistencey that he didn't show last year. Although it was hard to be consistent last year when he wasn't playing every game.
It will be interesting to see how he plays today. He played Friday, Saturday and I believe he is expected to be in between the pipes for today's afternoon game against rival Kitchener.
Statistically wise, it looks like Sparks has been lights out since his rough start. Can anybody who has caught Guelph games add any input? I've been to busy at school this semester, but will try and catch a couple storm games next semester!
He's been really impressive since being drafted and just had a big game yesterday in his first AHL game with the Marlies in Newfoundland so I'm expecting the over hype to begin. All seriousness he looks like a really solid prospect for the Leafs who have a surprisingly deep pool of goalies right now considering that's the area people like to rip on the Leafs the most about.
In response to the request for information about those who have observed Garrett Sparks, I have seen over 50 of his games the past 3 years. Sparks two years ago began the season as number 3 in the Storm goaltending hierarchy behind Brandon Foote and Metj Machovsky. By the start of his second season, he was the clear number one in the organization and did not look back. In terms of what is attractive about him as a prospect, he has continued to develop his talents and there is no reason that he will not keep evolving as a better player. He was a workhorse for the Storm the last two seasons as his coach Scott Walker had no faith in any other goaltender in the system including Foote as an overager last year. Sparks is very competitive and won a club record number of games. He also had the occasional bad game but was quite consistent in always giving his team a chance to win. There is nothing distinctive about his style which gives him the flexibility to play whatever approach his coaches want. You can tell from his twitter account that he is a bit of a character and by all information is well liked in the dressing room. Sparks was one of the three goalies for the world champion U.S.A. juniors. The encouraging news for Leafs fans is that Sparks came out of nowhere for the Storm and had a very strong career for them. Of course, you never know with prospects and goaltenders especially but if he continues to develop Sparks could be a very solid member of the Leafs for years to come.
Sparks has significantly exceeded expectations. He's from the same draft as Gibson and Binnington and was among the best goalies in the OHL last season. He wasnt on a particularly good team, but lead the league in shutouts and had a very solid save %.
Im excited to see him next season on the Marlies. The Leafs could really really use a late round home run pick. We havent drafted a 1st line/top pairing player... Since Kaberle? Kadri is showing he might break that trend, but he was a 7th overall pick so he's always been considered to have good potential.