Goaltender Drew MacIntyre isn’t over thinking his opportunity with Toronto

Drew MacIntyre is 1-0-1 with a 0.96 goals-against average and .935 save percentage in two starts with the Marlies- Image Courtesy of Graig Abel

TORONTO– To say that goaltender Drew MacIntyre is a journey man might be an understatement.

“Somebody said 13 teams in 10 years, so I’ve had some practice,” said MacIntyre, who was recently signed to a professional-tryout contract by the AHL’s Toronto Marlies.

The 29-year-old goaltender was picked up by the Marlies on Feb. 13th to fill in for Jussi Rynnas, who was summoned by the Maple Leafs to back up Ben Scrivens while James Reimer nurses a knee injury. With his contract being a PTO, sticking around after Reimer’s return is not a guarantee either, which is why the veteran isn’t over thinking the situation.

“I’m taking this literally for what it is, a try out,” said MacIntyre. “I’m trying not to think too much. I’ve been around long enough that you just show up and play and if you do your job the rest will take care of itself.”

MacIntyre, who hails from Charlottetown, P.E.I., started this season playing in the KHL with Prague Lev, but was let go after just two games and a broken ankle. He returned to North America and signed with the ECHL’s Reading Royals and had a brief appearance with the AHL’s Hershey Bears as well before Toronto brought him aboard.

“When I came back (from injury), (Prague Lev) weren’t the most patient and they found someone right away to replace me,” said MacIntyre. I stayed a while, but (playing) never happened. I came back (to North America) after and it was a humbling experience.”

MacIntyre was originally drafted in the fourth round in 2001 by the Detroit Red Wings and after bouncing between their ECHL and AHL affiliates, he found himself traded to the Vancouver Canucks organization.

At the time, current Leafs GM Dave Nonis was in charge of Vancouver and instructing the goaltenders was current Leafs goalie coach Rick St. Croix. Statistically, MacIntyre had his two best seasons with the Canucks AHL affiliate Manitoba Moose and he eventually earned a brief call up to back up Roberto Luongo with the Canucks. To this day he credits St. Croix for helping to turn him into a better goaltender.

“(Rick) meant everything and he helped my career,” said MacIntyre. “I was going to the ECHL and not to say I was done, but it was an opportunity that changed my career. He’s a smart man and a great man.”

On Saturday, Marlies head coach Dallas Eakins chose to play MacIntyre over Mark Owuya and he held his own in his debut, making 17 saves in a 2-1 victory against the Hershey Bears. He also earned the game’s second star.

“Drew came in and we wanted to get an assessment,” said Eakins. He came in highly recommended and we had to see it with our own eyes.”

“Everything I thought he was going to bring he did,” Eakins added. “He was a calming force, had great communication with our defenceman and he’s been welcomed by the team.”

MacIntyre’s performance earned him a second straight start on Monday and once again showed he was capable of returning to the AHL level in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Houston Aeros.

“I’ve watched these guys a lot and their system and it’s awfully nice to have it in front of you for sure,” said MacIntyre, who has also spent time with Toronto’s division rivals the Hamilton Bulldogs and Rochester Americans.

Moving forward, it is still unclear what Toronto plans to do when Reimer returns and the domino effect hits the Marlies. MacIntyre could be released at any time, which is why he’s still wearing all black pads that don’t match Toronto’s blue and white. However, with Owuya struggling, a veteran presence may be warranted to assist Rynnas and the work load when he returns. Until the decision needs to be made, the humbled and guarded keeper is going to approach it the same way he has with the other 12 teams he’s battled for a spot on.

“I’m not over analyzing this. I’m showing up to the rink and when they tell me I’m playing I’m giving it my all.”

KYLE CICERELLA

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