It's been a crazy past 18 months or so for Drew Commesso.
From being drafted in the second round of the 2020 NHL draft, making his NCAA debut with Boston University, missing the 2021 world juniors due to COVID, being the third string goalie at the world championships, playing one game at the 2022 world juniors, to getting the start in the United States first Olympic game, it's been a whirlwind for him to say the least. But the Norwell, Massachusetts native has been up for the challenge and has gotten better every step of the way.
The 19 year old goaltender got the nod against China and not only was the youngest goalie to ever start an Olympic game for the United States, he also posted a 29 save shutout. I'm not sure if he'll be the starting net-minder for his native country, as Strauss Mann is starting against Canada, but he's certainly earned himself at least a backup role. Either way, it's clear USA hockey sees a lot of potential and believes in him. With a goaltending role so wide open, and a hockey tournament that's so open as well, it's not impossible to think that Drew Commesso could back stop his country to an Olympic gold medal.
"Because of the scoreline, his game is going to be overshadowed, but I can’t stress enough how comfortable and confident Commesso looked. He was tested a few times early in the game, but he made all of the easy saves and never once overcomplicated things. He’s such a steady presence in the net and I think the U.S. very likely has its No. 1. Pat Nagle backed up today and Strauss Mann (UFA) was scratched, but I think Mann is the No. 2 for the Americans. He very well could get the game against Canada, but after seeing how good Commesso looked against the 29 shots he did end up facing, I’d have plenty of confidence in the 19-year-old. We shall see how this plays out."- Chris Peters
Despite getting off to a slow start with Boston University, Commesso has only allowed 17 goals in his last 10 NCAA games, as well as a sparkling .944 save percentage. He has career record of 18-11-4, a 2.64 GAA, and a .915 save percentage in the NCAA. I'm really curious to see if he can carry that momentum when he returns to North America.
Going to his future with the Chicago Blackhawks, they'll most likely sign him after his NCAA season is finished sometime in March or April of 2024 before his rights expire on August 15, 2024. That gives him the rest of this season, 2022-23, and 2023-24 to develop with Boston University. No need to rush him. Commesso will be 22 in August 2024, so he'll probably need a year or two in Rockford before he's fully ready. While it does seem like a long time, remember Corey Crawford, who was also a second round back in 2003, wasn't the Blackhawks starting goaltender until he was age 26.
While there isn't whole lot to be excited about in the Blackhawks farm system, Drew Commesso is a prospect you can legitimately get excited for.