Heading into the 2022-23 season, the Powell River Kings needed a goaltender. Former starting goalie Zak Brice left for the North American Hockey League and Matthias Smith had aged out of junior hockey and will play college hockey at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. However, in August, the Kings found their new starting goalie.
The Kings acquired Kyle Metson from the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Burlington Cougars for forward Eric Bertelsen. As part of the deal, the Kings also received future considerations from the Cougars.
In the past, the Kings have iced several goaltenders. It’s something I wrote about in a previous article. Frequent injuries often forced Powell River to rely on AP callups.
For this article, I will trace Metson’s path to Powell River and examine how he can bring stability to the Kings crease. Before that, I’ll recap the trade that got Metson to Powell River.
The first trade, on Aug. 15, saw Kaleb Nelson and future considerations go to the OJHL’s Georgetown Raiders for Bertelson.
The second trade, which came on Aug. 19, saw Bertelson and defender Nathan Small traded to Burlington for Metson and future considerations.
From Sun County to Burlington
During the 2017-18 season, Metson was with the Sun County Panthers U15 AAA team in Essex, ON.
The following season, Metson joined the Panthers U16 team and got into 16 regular season games and three playoff games.
For the 2019-20 season, Metson joined the Wheatley Sharks of the Provincial Junior Hockey League, which is a 64-team junior C league in Ontario. During his rookie season, Metson played 25 games and finished the season with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage.
Next season, Metson signed with the junior B LaSalle Vipers but because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League season was limited. Metson didn’t end up playing any games for the Vipers.
Metson made the jump to junior A and signed with the Burlington Cougars of the OJHL. In 27 games, Metson finished with a record of 21-5-1.
Bringing stability to the crease
In the last three seasons, Powell River iced 15 different goaltenders as injuries and inconsistency forced the Kings to scramble for replacements.
Metson has two seasons of junior hockey left before he ages out. That’s longer than the past three starting goalies.
Metson’s stats are impressive. What’s more impressive is how he’s progressed through junior hockey. He began in bantam hockey before moving up to junior C. From there, he went to junior B and then junior A. He’s one of the few PJCHL players to play in the BCHL.
Last season, Powell River finished with a record of 13-32-7-2, placing it second-last in the BCHL. For the Kings to do better, they need stable goaltending. It appears Metson can provide that for them.
The future goalie tandem
On Sept. 6, the Kings traded for another new goaltender as Liam Vanderkooi joins Metson in Powell River. The Kings traded future considerations to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks for Vanderkooi.
Last season, he played 17 games for the Silverbacks and compiled a record of 13-2-2. His final goals-against average was 2.86, while his save percentage was .904.
With two 2003-born and experienced netminders in Metson and Vanderkooi, the Kings may finally have stable goaltending, regardless of who starts each game this season.