Garret Sparks - Photo Courtesy of ca.sports.yahoo.com

 

Garret Sparks, G

Catches: R

Height: 6-2

Weight: 205

Born: 1993-06-28

Hometown: Elmhurst, IL, USA

Drafted: 2011 by Toronto Maple Leafs, 190th overall

 

 

 

 

 

Observations:

 

December 2013 – Sparks started the season in the AHL with three games, two of which were poor results. He looks much better in the crease, size wise, than in my viewing last year, an issue that may have been fixed in camp by the new goaltending staff. In the ECHL his results are much stronger, where he has a .924 save percentage in nine games. During an open practice, Steve Spott discussed the fact Drew MacIntyre would be the main starter for the Toronto Marlies, while both Sparks and Christopher Gibson will be rotated up and down from the American league to the East Coast giving them a chance to both learn from the veteran pro on how he prepares and works for games, but also to allow them strings of starts to worth on their game. According to this plan, Sparks is due to be recalled sometime after the holidays, but Gibson has played strongly in his three games, so that might be delayed. During the open practice it was interesting to compare goalies during skills, MacIntyre the more acrobatic and erratic vet, showed strength in rebound control and directing pucks, where as you could see the amount of work Sparks needed in this area. I also felt Sparks relied heavily on his trapper hand, sometimes with great efficiency, but also had major blunders. I wouldn’t advise holding him at the moment as his path looks long, but keep an eye on him as the Leafs will need a solid third option that could handle promotion within a couple years. Jason Banks

 

May 2013 – Sparks has shown very good growth this season in junior and has gained much experience in many situations all over the map this season. He played as the number one guy in Guelph, was a reserve goalie for the USA in the world junior championships, and is now circulating in the AHL as the backup goalie for the Marlies. I viewed him in early 2012 during his first season as an OHL starter, his play made me cringe a bit as he was very erratic, inconsistent and overplayed shooters which created more work for him, put him in difficult recovery positions for rebounds and emergency situations than needed. I was rather surprised when he stepped in the AHL this spring and did not look out of place in his trio of games. His movement was much more controlled, he was taking away angles but also allowing his extremities do the work and he looked confidant in what he was doing. His glove was strong both coming up on shots, out and above the shoulder where many struggle, he also showed control and good puck placement with his blocking hand. For the size he is listed at, he looks rather small in the net, personally the past several seasons I’ve become accustom to seeing very large 6’4 or bigger goalies in blue, white and silver, I’m yet to figure out if his set stance is taking away from his net coverage, pad selection or if it is just me and what I’ve become used too. He will not likely see crease time in the playoffs, but should consistently be found on the bench. Next season he will turn pro, but I question where he will be. The Leafs are currently working on an agreement to have an ECHL affiliate for next season so I’ve been told by the Marlies management, and it might be best for Sparks to turn in a full year as a starter at that level before jumping in to the AHL as a backup. But with only he and the questionable Mark Owuya signed for next season, the possibilities are endless. Jason Banks

 

March 2013 - The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed goaltender Garret Sparks to a three-year entry level contract. Sparks finished among the top 10 in all OHL goaltending categories including GAA (2.65, 7th), save percentage (0.917, 5th), wins (36, T-1st), shutouts (7, T-1st), minutes played (3440, 1st), and saves (1672, 2nd). Brendan Ross

 

January 2013 – Garret Sparks is a large goaltender with strong technical skills and he has very good rebound control. His play has been inconsistent in his first few OHL season but the third year goaltender has been steady for the Guelph Storm improving in all statistical categories and he currently sits among the top-10 in every one. After serving as the third string goaltender for the gold medal winning Team USA squad at the 2013 WJHC, Sparks has returned to Guelph to lead his team to a long playoff run. Sparks is among the league leaders in shutouts (5) and his development is heading in the right direction.  Brendan Ross


Fantasy Outlook: C-

At this point in time, Sparks is a solid goaltending prospect but with years of development ahead of him it is important to temper expectations until he proves himself at the professional level.

 

Footage:

 

Sparks discusses training camp and his overall game after a prospect contest vs Chicago

 

 

Sparks throws a fun bodycheck during his welcoming to the AHL in 2012-13

 

 

Garret Sparks records his first shutout of the 2012-13 OHL Season

 

 

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