In the most recent off-season the Milwaukee Admirals announced the signing of 23-year old goaltender Jake Paterson. It felt like one of those goaltending projects that could have a nice pay-off. Paterson was stuck in the Detroit Red Wings system and never really was afforded the chance to show what he could do on the AHL stage. It has been a rotation heavy time for both Admirals goaltenders behind Anders Lindbäck but lost in that is this has been the longest time spent operating in the AHL in Paterson’s career. It has been an opportunity to learn and to grow.
Paterson was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the third round of the 2012 NHL Draft. That moment came right after his first full season in major juniors playing for the Saginaw Spirit in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). That debut season in the OHL saw him make 42 appearances while earning a record of 18-18-3 with a 2.97 goals against average, 0.907 save percentage, and a lone shutout all at the age of 17. He would play a complete junior career in the OHL, with Saginaw as well as the Kitchener Rangers, and he would make 192 appearances, claim 96 wins, and post 7 shutouts.
At the end of his major junior playing career Paterson would make the leap to the professional ranks in the Red Wings pipeline as a member of the Toledo Walleye in the ECHL late in the 2014-15 season. This would be a narrative that would persist for Peterson’s first two professional seasons in the Red Wings organization. He only ever played 2 games in the AHL as part of the Grand Rapids Griffins and both of those starts would come in the 2015-16 season. He lost both outings and faced 83 shots gathering 77 saves in the process.
Despite providing such excellent numbers for the Walleye in the ECHL his efforts to elevate himself were effectively impossible with the Red Wings and Griffins veteran and established goaltending depth pushing prospects down to the place that Paterson found himself. It has provided two Calder Cup victories for the Griffins in the process -but- Paterson could only look up and watch as it unfolded.
I would love to say that the change of scenery has had the ultimate ” told you so” moment for Paterson back at the Red Wings organization -but- this 2017-18 season hasn’t exactly been that kind to Paterson or for his fellow AHL/ECHL rotation pal Matt O’Connor. The two have combined for 4 appearances (3 starts) for the Admirals in the AHL this season and displayed a combined 3.32 goals against average and 0.903 save percentage. Between the AHL and ECHL both have only managed to deliver 2 wins from 23 appearances- and those victories have come with Paterson in net as a member of the Norfolk Admirals and Quad City Mallards in the ECHL.
It has been a grinding process for both. What shouldn’t be ignored though is that Paterson has been the longer serving back-up for Lindbäck this season. Paterson arrived only ever having appeared in 2 games in his AHL career. He has matched that this season but, even more so, has been afforded the time to practice, learn, and process the game at the AHL level with the Admirals longer than he had in just over two seasons within the Red Wings organization. Paterson is still only 23-years old and looking to take steps forward in his pro career. Regardless of activity this season has been a step forward in his developmental process and one worth keeping an eye on to see how his career unfolds from this educational season.
A massive thanks to Jake Paterson for taking time to chat with us and let us get to know the man behind Dabbing Patty that much better. Fifteen will continue on in the coming weeks via fan suggestions and requests. Please let me know who you would like to hear from next in the comment section below.
Be sure to keep updated with Admirals Roundtable through social media platform of your choice: follow along on Twitter, like us on Facebook, get photo updates on Instagram, and listen along on SoundCloud.