The Sharks didn’t win on Tuesday because of Aaron Dell’s eye-popping save percentage, but in his first NHL start the kid played well enough to keep San Jose in the game. That proved to be good enough as he posted a .913 save percentage and earned a win in his first ever start at the NHL level.
This isn’t the first time a rookie goalie has picked up a win for the Sharks in his first start. Dell is now the fifth Sharks netminder to win in the first start of his career, joining Troy Grosenick, Nolan Schaefer, Miikka Kiprusof and the legendary Arturs Irbe..
Those players run the gauntlet in terms of NHL success. While Kiprusof and Irbe went on to have very nice NHL careers, Schaefer didn’t get much of an opportunity after his debut and Grosenick is still down in the AHL with the Barracuda.
It’s far too early to know where Dell’s NHL career goes from here, but he made a fine impression as the Sharks played in their first back-to-back of the season. He made a few nifty saves and I can’t fault him much for the goals he gave up — that’s about what the Sharks need from Dell this year. He doesn’t have to be spectacular, just good enough to allow San Jose to rest Martin Jones.
Let’s take a look at the San Jose careers of the netminders Dell joined on Tuesday night, starting with the most recent.
First start: 11/16/14 @ Carolina.
Stats: 45 save shutout.
Total minutes with Sharks: 117
Last game with Sharks: 11/18/14 @ Buffalo
First Start: 10/28/05 @ Los Angeles
Stats: Saved 21 out of 25 shots.
Total minutes with Sharks: 352
Last game with Sharks: 12/02/05 @ Buffalo
First start: 4/8/01 @ Anaheim
Stats: Saved 22 out of 23 shots.
Total minutes with Sharks: 2390
Last game with Sharks: 3/20/03 @ Colorado
First start: 11/8/91 vs. Edmonton
Stats: Made 30 out of 32 saves.
Total minutes with Sharks: 10286
Last game with Sharks: 4/12/96 vs. Calgary