Expectations are nothing new to Brendan Burke. If Burke was worried about expectations, the son of a long-time NHL goaltender would have never become…a goaltender.
So if anyone has the mindset to replace the goalie who won more games than any other netminder in franchise history, then it’s Burke.
With Mac Carruth graduated from the WHL, Burke becomes the starting goaltender for a Winterhawks team entering the 2013-14 season looking to repeat as champions. It’s no small task, but there’s no reason to believe Burke isn’t ready for the job.
After 18 appearances as a 16-year-old two years ago, Burke saw action in nearly half the team’s games last season with 33 appearances. He showed he can handle a bigger workload as he shaved nearly a full goal off his goals against average, going from 3.58 to 2.65 to rank 11th in the league. He brought his save percentage up from .875 to .908, tying him for 13th, and added four shutouts to tie him for 10th in the WHL. And of all the goalies who won 24 games or more, he did so in by far the fewest games- Mac Carruth was next with 39 games played, and no other goalie who won 24 did so in fewer than 49 games.
His performance in an increased workload last season was enough to get him drafted in the sixth round by the Phoenix Coyotes, and Burke is poised to start crafting his own legacy with the team.
Backing up Burke this season is 18-year-old Jarrod Schamerhorn, who won the job in training camp and preseason. Schamerhorn was with the team for the entire playoff and MasterCard Memorial Cup run last season, traveling with the team the entire time and suiting up in practice.
He hasn’t seen regular season action yet for the Hawks, but went 1-1 in the preseason with a goals against average of 3.51 and .913 save percentage. Last season he suited up for the Nanaimo Clippers of the British Columbia Hockey League and went 3-2 with a goals against average of 2.20 and .928 save percentage in seven games. Schamerhorn then went on to play for the Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, where he posted a 5-1 record with a GAA of 2.01 and .925 save percentage in six games.
Expect Burke to get the bulk of the starts, but getting between the pipes in the WHL is an opportunity Schamerhorn has been preparing for.
Prior 2013-14 Previews:
Part 1: The Newcomers
Part 2: The Defensemen
Part 3: The Forwards