TORONTO – While going through a rabbit hole on Elite Prospects, I came across a few netminders who looked to have considerably challenging games in the American Hockey League.
It sparked me to go through the league list of qualified goaltenders (1,400 minutes minimum) to find out which goaltender had the worst save percentage for an entire season.
To also keep things fair, I did not include stats from the current season.
5. Joe Cannata – 2016-17 – 0.875svs%
Before leading the Colorado Eagles to a Kelly Cup Championship in 2018, the goaltender was, at the time, dubbed the worst in the league through the 2016-17 season, splitting time between Hershey and San Antonio.
One of the only goaltenders on the list to publish a winning record for a chunk of the season, Cannata held an 11-5-4 record with the Bears, combined with a 0.876svs%.
He spent his final six games with San Antonio, with a 0.872svs% and a 3.60 GAA.
Cannata now plays in the SHL in Sweeden, where he has put up sub .900 numbers for the past two seasons.
Phil McRae on a breakaway slips one past Cannata to add to the @WolfPackAHL's lead. #HFDvsHER pic.twitter.com/EiFqgLczbw
— American Hockey League (@TheAHL) December 18, 2016
4. Cam Johnson – 2018-19 – 0.872 svs%
Playing in his first full year of Professional hockey, things didn’t come easy for Johnson while playing in Binghamton. Through 29 starts, his 11-15-3 record saw him give up 107 goals on 732 shots.
Later that year, he made better strides in the ECHL, providing a 0.915 svs% through his ten starts with the Adirondack Thunder.
Johnson found his nack in the ECHL following the tumultuous year in Bingo, winning the ECHL Goaltender of the Week Award twice, and carrying his team to the Kelly Cup in 2022 as the team MVP, with an outstanding 0.931SVS%, paired with a 1.90 GAA.
3. David Leggio – 2014-15 – 0.869svs%
In the final year of his AHL stint, the (then) 28-year-old goaltender had a considerably tough season before his exit to Europe. Starting the season with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Leggio inked a 0.861 svs% through his 23 starts. During that time, he played behind a familiar name to Laval Rocket fans, Kevin Poulin.
He was later dealt to Portland partway through the season before putting up a 1-2-1 record, coupled with a 0.908svs%
His Sound Tigers finished the season with a 21-40-7 record.
Leggio’s career may have been known for a lot of things, but quite possibly, it was this:
David Leggio is a goalie playing in Germany. When other teams get breakaways, he just knocks the net off 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/nLyLXMBqyF
— Gino Hard (@GinoHard_) December 9, 2017
2. Dimitri Pätzold – 2005-06 – 0.869 svs%
The same goaltender that represented Germany at the Olympic Games four years later in 2010 had the worst save percentage in 2005-06. Playing 33 games with the Cleveland Barrons, Pätzold struggled through his third-to-last professional season in North America.
Pätzold primarily split the net with Nolan Schaefer during that season.
1. Alexei Melnichuk – 2020-21/2021-22 – 0.868 svs% / 0.867 svs%
Melnichuk had the worst save percentage in the 2020-21 season and 2021-22 season, both with the San Jose Barracuda.
He started his AHL career during the COVID-19 season for 2020-21, registering a 7-7-3 record and a league-worst 0.868 SVS%. Given his KHL experience, the Sharks gave him a shot in the NHL that season, which garnered similar results, publishing a 0-1-1 record through three starts and a 5.05 GAA, .864 SVS%.
One of the goals that helped @TexasStars maintain a lead in their 7-3 victory in #TEXvsSJ. pic.twitter.com/9PDNgYw4oY
— American Hockey League (@TheAHL) November 6, 2021
The following season, things proved to be equally as distasteful for him on the last-place club. A 10-14-2 record, paired with a 0.867 svs%, the performance spurred a demotion to the ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears before the season was out.
Following back-to-back record-breaking seasons, Melnichuk returned to Europe and now plays in the KHL.
So, Melnichuk has the worst record in the AHL. His award? A prize package: a bottle of Banana Boat sunscreen and a tube of Aloe Vera because, after all, the sunburn from those red lights isn’t going away anytime soon.
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