Chicago Blackhawks goaltender prospect Wouter Peeters will move from Finland to play in the USHL next season, reports The Athletic’s Scott Powers. The move was confirmed by Peeters’ agent, Markus Lehto, who said his contract with Jokerit has been terminated.
Peeters, who turns 19 in July, was selected by the Blackhawks in the third round (No. 83 overall) in the 2016 NHL draft. He was not considered one of the top 100 prospects in his class by ESPN’s Corey Pronman, but the Blackhawks targeted him as their potential goalie of the future with that pick.
The 2016-17 season didn’t go particularly well for Peeters, however. He posted a .899 save percentage in 23 appearances for Jokerit’s U20 team in Finland. That lackluster performance is part of what motivated him to make the leap to North America for 2017-18.
By playing for Youngstown Phantoms, who selected Peeters in the USHL’s Phase II draft, the Blackhawks will be able to keep closer tabs on their top goalie prospect. It’s a sensible move for a team that needs to improve its organizational depth at the position after losing Scott Darling.