Goaltender Eddie Pasquale has appeared in over 250 games as a professional, more than half of them with the St. John’s IceCaps. However, heading into this week, he had never played a second in the National Hockey League.
That could change tonight as the Tampa Bay Lightning take on the Red Wings in Detroit.
The 28-year-old Pasquale was recalled by the Lightning from the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch Sunday and the expectation is the Toronto native is in line for the start in Detroit.
Louis Domingue has started 11 straight games for Tampa Bay in place of the injured Andrei Vasilevskiy, sidelined with a broken foot. That included Monday’s games in New Jersey against the Devils, so with the Lightning playing the second of back-to-back games on the road, tonight would be the opportune time to give Domingue a night off and provide Pasquale with a shot at his first NHL starting assignment.
Lending credence to that suggestion is the fact the Lightning returned Pasquale — who had been originally called up to Tampa on Nov. 15 — to Syracuse for a couple of games over the weekend before recalling him again. That might seem ironic, but also makes some sense since it would indicate the Bolts wanted Pasquale to get in some game action before making his big-league debut.
Pasquale was drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the fourth round (117th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft and played his first pro game with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves.
But he really made his mark in the AHL in St. John’s, originally with the IceCaps (2011-14) when they were the farm team of the Winnipeg Jets, and also during the 2015-16 campaign when the IceCaps were affiliated with the Montreal Canadiens.
In all, Pasquale played 142 games with St. John’s, more than any other IceCaps netminder, while posting a 68-58-9 record and 2.53 goals-against average. And he was a fan favorite, with chants of “Eddie! Eddie” regularly raining down at Mile One Centre.
Pasquale, who has also played with the AHL farm teams of the Detroit Red Wings and Edmonton Oilers, has also dealt with a number of setbacks in his pro career.
After three seasons with the IceCaps — during which time he had been called up to Winnipeg, but only as a backup — Pasquale signed with the Washington Capitals in 2014, but didn’t play a single game in the Caps’ system that subsequent year because of chronic hip problems.
He was back in St. John’s the following season, but only on an AHL contract. He even spent considerable time in the ECHL with the Brampton Beast when the IceCaps had two NHL-contracted netminders in Dustin Tokarski and Zach Fucale.
But his second stint in St. John’s also marked the start of a career rebound for Pasquale.
He signed with Detroit the following season and was a member of the 2016-17 AHL Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins. Then it was on to California and the Bakersfield Condors (Edmonton) before a January 2018 trade sent him the Lightning organization.
He went 10-1-2 with a 1.72 GAA with Syracuse over the second half of 2017-18 campaign and went 5-2-0 with a 2.98 GAA during his time with the Crunch this season.
Pasquale is operating on a two-way contract with the Lightning, one that pays him $650,000 in the NHL and $200,000 in the minors.