Canadiens: Battle for the Blue Brewing for Jacob Fowler

Fowler Will Represent the USA at the World Juniors, But Will Need to Battle for the Starting Spot in the Crease

Boston College v Massachusetts-Lowell
Boston College v Massachusetts-Lowell / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages
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Canadiens prospect Jacob Fowler has officially made the United States world junior roster, a massive accomplishment. The BC product is one of three goalies to make the team, and as such, the real challenge begins for Fowler. Like any competitor, the goal will be to win the number one goalie gig, something that is far from guaranteed.  

Here on this site, we’ve documented the dominance that Fowler has displayed in the NCAA this year. And how could we not? Fowler, a true freshman, has taken the NCAA by storm, quickly establishing himself as one of the nation’s top goalies. The Canadiens netminder has a 13-3-1 record with a 2.16 GAA and a .925 SV% in 17 games this season for Boston College.

But how much of that will matter when it comes time to decide who will be the number one goalie for the Americans in Sweden? Sure, his numbers are great, but the World Juniors are a different beast, and the Americans might opt for a more proven commodity on this stage. This is where Trey Augustine comes into play.

Augustine, a Red Wings draft pick, was the top goalie for the United States last year, helping them to a bronze medal. That experience on this stage may give him the edge to ultimately win the battle for the crease. But Augustine’s numbers this year don’t hold a candle to Fowler’s, which could tilt the scales back in Fowler’s favour. Augustine has a 2.97 GAA and a .916 SV% in 17 games with Michigan State this year.

It is worth mentioning that Augustine gave up 11 goals over his last two games in the tournament, though, including seven in the bronze medal game. His numbers at that tournament are not amazing as a result, but he did backstop them to a medal at the end of the day.

I’d assume both goalies will get a chance to play a game in group play, and that will be the final factor in determining who gets the starting gig. It’s still up in the air, but Fowler has a legitimate shot to steal the crease and lead a loaded American squad to glory. If he continues to play the way he has all year, you might be hard-pressed to find a better goalie in the tournament.

It also doesn’t hurt that six of Fowler’s teammates will be joining him at the World Juniors. I can’t help but think if the players had a vote, there would be a strong collective of players going to bat for Fowler. Ultimately, he’ll have to earn his chance, but the opportunity has clearly presented itself.