Goalie controversy for the IceCaps?

Photo: Ross Dettman/Chicago Wolves

Not quite. But going into the 2011-12 AHL season, the team is questionable between the pipes.

During this week’s rookie tournament, it seems the Jets are impressed with what youngster Edward Pasquale is bringing to the table. Six years his junior, Pasquale will push Peter Mannino for the starting job in St. John’s when the season rolls around.

Mannino has been somewhat of an AHL staple over the past three seasons, compiling at least thirty starts in all three. Most recently he started 42 games for the Chicago Wolves last season.

Pasquale, on the other hand, has a smaller sample size to pull stats from, with only 24 AHL starts, all with the Wolves as well.

As mentioned, Pasquale is a kid born in 1990, while Mannino, a college product, is still looking to make his mark at 27 years of age. Pasquale comes from the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit, taken in the 4th round by the Thrashers in 2009.

From the Toronto Sun, coach McAmbridge had this to say about Pasquale:

“He challenges the puck well, his lateral movement is very good,” said McCambridge. “His puck-playing ability is pretty decent for a guy at his status. He’s got some real positives, development-wise.”

Neither goaltender has really shown much in the ways of brilliance. Mannino managed a strong season in 2009-10 when he posted a .921 SVP in 38 starts, but regressed to a .892 last season.

In only 24 starts, Pasquale managed to keep an even .900 at the AHL level last season. Nothing to write home about, but let’s keep in mind the small sample size again.

For all of these reasons, I think we can expect a better performance from both guys this upcoming season. Mannino will look to retain his starting job and return to bringing up that save percentage to the .920+ range, while Pasquale will be pushing him the entire way.

Right now there’s no denying that from a Jets point-of-view, Pasquale is showing more upside due to his age and potential. Whether he can take the necessary steps to improve, only time will tell. Regardless, his journey to break into the NHL takes on a new, and possibly the most important chapter this season with the IceCaps.

Email ryanfancey@gmail.com and follow the blog @SJ_IceCaps

Check in to the IllegalCurve.com for Jets and IceCaps news, along with my weekend column “On the Farm” during the season.

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