Red Wings: Petruzzelli To Toronto Makes Things Interesting

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Former Detroit Red Wings goalie prospect Keith Petruzzelli ended up signing with an Atlantic Division rival–just not the one everyone expected:

This is interesting on a number of fronts the first being him landing with long time rival Toronto. But the other fantastic storyline is that if he ascends to the top of Toronto’s netminding chart–which was the expectation in Detroit–the Red Wings might be coming into their own right–setting up epic collision courses in the regular season and potentially the playoffs.

Red Wings fans have long memories

The news wasn’t exactly met with anything other than what Wings fans would expect– mostly shock:

Now the once top prospect is signing with a bitter rival and speaking from some memories I have of the Leafs-Wings rivalry from when I was a young kid navigating through the Dead Wing era and then the 90’s, oof–the ’93 series still hurts. The idea of another goaltender–especially one who was drafted originally by Detroit, being a a block in the way of Detroit’s path is unsettling.

However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A lot has to happen between now and a few years from now for this scenario to even play out. But imagine if it does–Red Wings fans are known for their long memories–just ask Claude Lemieux–and the cat calls and mind games that could occur during important divisional games would be something we haven’t seen in a long time.

Petruzzelli wasn’t coming back

It had been reported prior to the 2021 NHL Draft that Petruzzelli was likely moving on which only heightened speculation that the Red Wings would take a goalie in the draft. Steve Yzerman did just that, selecting Sebastian Cossa when he traded up eight spots. This becomes another storyline of this whole signing should both goalies see the success that is expected.

Regardless, the fact that he signed with an intra-divsion rival and a storied one at that, makes for interesting theater. I think it’s a great move for the Leafs, a team that has been searching for that solution between the pipes for quite some time. It’s a low risk move–one that allows them time to acclimate Petruzzelli to the professional game with the Marlies while not losing anything if it doesn’t work out.

It’s curious that with what seemed like a wide open road for him in Detroit that Petruzzelli would opt to leave. But now, he’s in one of the biggest markets in hockey, and bringing a potential storyline that could intrigue for years down the road if it all comes together.

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