Peter Delmas, a second-round NHL draft pick in 2008, signed with the Wichita Thunder on Tuesday — a move that added intrigue to a goaltending situation that seemed settled with the recent strong play of Marc-Antoine Gelinas and Marty Magers.
The Thunder signed Delmas, who was taken by the Colorado Avalance with the 61st overall pick, to a five-game contract. The 6-foot-2 Delmas practiced with the Thunder for the first time Tuesday morning.
"He's a big goalie, and from what I've seen he looks good," coach Kevin McClelland said. "He stays square to the puck, and it looks like he controls his rebounds real well.
"So there are a lot of positive signs, but you can't judge anything in practice. We'll have to get him in some games and see what he's all about."
After the surprising poor play of presumed No. 1 goalie Ian Keserich, who was released last week, Gelinas and Magers responded to increased roles, helping the Thunder (5-4) to a five-game winning streak.
Magers, who has been with the team since training camp, is 3-1 with a 2.48 goals-against average and a .909 saves percentage; Gelinas is 2-0, with a 1.00 goals-against and a .963 saves percentage in Wichita.
McClelland declined to specify his goalie plans for the weekend's home games — Missouri on Friday and Bloomington on Saturday — but it would be surprising if Delmas didn't start at least one game.
Delmas was assigned to the Thunder by the NHL'S Montreal Canadiens, who can recall Delmas to their American Hockey League affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, at any time. In two starts with Hamilton this season, Delmas was 1-0-1 with a 1.92 GAA and a .933 SP.
Prior to turning pro, Delmas won a gold medal with Canada's under-18 team and played in the 2008 Canadian Hockey League/NHL Top Prospects game.
"He's a young goaltender who needs some minutes in the pro ranks; that's what Montreal is hoping he gets down here," McClelland said. "We've got to get him in there and see what he can do."