After leaving Tom Reid’s in downtown St. Paul following the draft, Remis, Ezra and I had the opportunity to meet the Kasdorf family. They were very friendly and engaging, as well as thrilled that Jason was selected by the Jets. Since that meeting, I have been following Kasdorf, a Winnipeg native, a little more closely than some of the other Jets’ prospects.
It was with great interest that I recently read that Kasdorf would not be reporting to RPI this fall as originally planned. Instead, it would appear Kasdorf is slated to spend another winter in Portage la Prairie plying his trade for the Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
Kasdorf, who posted a GAA of 2.53 in 34 games played with a save percentage of .912 (2 shutouts), will obviously be leaned on heavily in Portage and will see a ton of minutes. I do, however, wonder if playing in Portage is the best developmental track for him (with no disrespect intended to Portage or the MJHL)? Though Kasdorf’s numbers are not all-world, they still show a goaltender who has obviously adjusted well to the level of play in the MJHL.
More on Kasdorf after the jump.
In a season where many of his peers will be logging significant minutes in major junior, college or the minor leagues, Kasdorf will be playing in a Tier II junior league not widely noted for producing talent. I realize that the Portage option is much better for Kasdorf than going to RPI and being either a back up or 3rd-string goalie (behind Bryce Merriam and Scott Diebold). He will get significant game action and the chance to take Portage back to the playoffs. However, if he is not being challenged on a daily basis, I believe there is a risk of a stagnant year in his development.
If Kasdorf wishes to retain his college eligibility, he (and the Jets) are left with very few options. He could play in the BCHL (a slight step up from the MJHL) or the USHL, which would likely be another step up still. I have not been actively keeping up on #1 goaltender vacancies in either the BCHL or the USHL, but one would think there would be some interest in Kasdorf. I would guess there are also some college teams looking for goaltenders (hello, Michigan) this season, though it may be tough for Kasdorf to ignore the positives of playing for former goalie Seth Appert at RPI.
I am loathe to advocate for a kid switching teams this late in the summer, but if the Jets are serious about developing Kasdorf then they should seriously consider how his long term development will be hindered by a year playing against lesser competition. For a tall and lanky goaltender with raw skills to be facing competition he knows he can dominate instead of challenging himself can have a detrimental long term effect on development. The Jets should be proactive with Kasdorf and give the goalie the opportunity to prove himself at a higher level. Better competition will help the player and will assist the Jets in evaluating exactly what kind of prospect they have on their hands.
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