It comes as no surprise.
But the head coach of the Soo Greyhounds made public who his No. 1 goalie is on Wednesday.
While he won’t start Thursday’s exhibition game in Sarnia (6:30 p.m. start), overage Christian Propp is considered the team’s No. 1 netminder going into the Sept. 20 start of the Ontario Hockey League regular season.
“Propp is the No. 1,” said John Dean, when reached on his way to Sarnia Wednesday afternoon. “It’s up to (Ethan) Taylor to push him for playing time.”
And after Propp went all the way in the Hounds 7-2 exhibition victory in Sudbury on Aug. 31, Taylor, a second-year man, is expected to start and play the full 60 minutes against the Sting.
An overage, the 20-year-old (1999 birth year) Propp was the starter for the North Bay Battalion last season. He played in 51 games, posting a 3.98 goals against average and a saves percentage of .893.
With the Battalion trying to find him a place to play, the Hounds acquired Propp over the summer for just a conditional 15th-round draft choice.
The 18-year-old (2001 birth year) Taylor played backup to Matt Villalta a season ago, posting a 3.24 g.a.a. and a saves percentage of .894 in 22 games.
Dean raves about Propp’s leadership and work ethic.
“He’s the first guy at the rink and the last to leave,” the coach said of the Milton, Ont., native.
As for the Sting clash, Dean spoke of how the club spent the last week putting systems into place.
On Thursday, he’ll be interested in “seeing guys embrace the concepts. You want to see focus on the systems we’ve taught.”
Having lost some big names to graduation, and with the 2019-2020 status of Arizona Coyotes centre Barrett Hayton not yet determined, Greyhounds players are battling for roles.
Dean spoke of the Hounds presenting “a team approach” this season.
Though minus the star power of last year’s club, this year’s Hounds have a number of players who appear poised to contribute.
Several can play multiple positions up front, something Dean called “a really-good problem to have.”
And for players who want to stake claims to big roles – and big minutes – the exhibition season “is the time to shine,” the coach added.
In particular, Dean talked about how Propp, fellow overage Jaden Peca, a winger, and second-year centre Rory Kerins have caught his eye since the end of training camp.
“Rory Kerins has made it clear he wants a more-pronounced role,” the coach said. “His intensity has impressed me.”
Peca, acquired at last season’s trade deadline, “has really shown the young guys the importance of being on time and working hard in practice,” Dean noted. “And Propp works extremely hard.”
As for the Hounds who’re away at NHL rookie camps, the club expects “most of the guys” to return before the end of the week, Dean said.
Hayton, who’ll move on to the Coyotes main camp, is the exception.
The group expected to return includes Jacob LeGuerrier (Montreal), Cole MacKay and Cullen McLean (Vegas) and Joe Carroll (Toronto).