Chris Driedger was once cut by the Manitoba Triple A Midget League’s Winnipeg Wild. In fact, Driedger spent his midget career playing city midget with the Winnipeg Monarchs and not provincial midget with the Wild.
All that didn’t matter on Wednesday when Driedger signed a three-year entry-level contract with the National Hockey League’s Ottawa Senators.
Driedger, 19, was the Sens third-round selection (76th overall) in the 2012 NHL entry draft. During the 2013-14 season, his fourth with the Western Hockey League’s Calgary Hitmen, Driedger finished fifth among WHL goaltenders in save percentage (.918) and tied for seventh in wins (28).
At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, Driedger is a big goaltender who fills a lot of space in the net. In four WHL seasons, he has a record of 94-46-15 with eight shutouts. He’s played more than 170 games with the Hitmen and Tri-City Americans.
This past season, Driedger passed current Los Angeles Kings backup goaltender Martin Jones to become the Hitmen’s all-time saves leader. He made his record 3,375th save in Calgary’s 7-3 win over Brandon back on Feb. 1
Earlier this season, Driedger became the sixth Western Hockey League goaltender to score a goal. He was credited with the tally after the officials signaled a penalty, Kootneay Ice goalie Mackenzie Skapski went to the bench for a sixth attacker as play continued. Kootenay forward Zach Franko, another Winnipegger, tried to pass the puck to the point but it went the length of the ice and into the empty net. Driedger was the last Hitman to touch the puck and was awarded the goal.
Driedger was originally drafted by the Tri-City Americans in the fourth round (80th overall) of the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft out of the Monarchs. He was selected to play for Team Manitoba in the 2009 U-16 Western Canada Challenge Cup.
Under the terms of his two-way contract with the Senators, Driedger will make $755,000 in each of his first three seasons if he plays in Ottawa. If he plays in the American Hockey League, he’ll make $80,000 a season.