Victoria Royals goalie Griffen Outhouse thrives in rookie season

Kelly Friesen
Victoria Royals netminder Griffen Outhouse has been lights out in his WHL rookie season. (Jon Howe)
Victoria Royals netminder Griffen Outhouse has been lights out in his WHL rookie season. (Jon Howe)

Despite going undrafted in the 2013 WHL bantam draft, Griffen Outhouse has solidified himself as one of the league’s top goalies in his rookie season with the Victoria Royals. Look no further than his numbers for proof of that, as he’s posted a 1.83 average and .937 save percentage throughout 25 games.

“I feel I’m a late-bloomer and have grown my game a lot in the past couple of years,” says Outhouse, who turns 18 on March 13. “I played for some good programs the last couple of years (Pursuit of Excellence in 2013-14 and the Cariboo Cougars in 2014-15) and I developed a lot.”

Humble and modest, Outhouse credits his team, especially his goalie partner Coleman Vollrath, for his early major junior success.

“As soon as I got here, the team welcomed me and made me feel comfortable,” he says. “The defensive core here is great and we have a great group of guys. I also couldn’t have asked for a better teammate and mentor than Coleman. He’s a great guy and has helped me a lot this year and helped me through the ups and downs.”

On the coaching side of things, Outhouse points to Royals goalie coach Lynden Sammartino as having a big impact on his strong play.

“With our goalie coach, Lynden Sammartino, we’ve worked on having active hands and tracking the puck this year,” says Outhouse, who holds a 16-3-3-1 record. “I’ve improved a lot here and I owe that to good coaching. I’ve been given an opportunity here and have been helped a lot to improve.”

With a 5-foot-11, 175-pound stature, Outhouse feels he’s at a bit of a disadvantage because of his smaller frame. It has led to giving him an underdog mentality and has pushed him to work harder in between the pipes.

“I have to make sure I’m working harder than guys who are bigger than me,” he says. “I have to make sure I play bigger and play as big as I can out there. With bigger guys it comes natural and they have it easier, but I have to work harder to cut down angles and not give players much to shoot at.”

It seems the odds are against the Williams Lake, B.C., native to don a jersey at 2016 NHL draft in Buffalo, as he wasn’t ranked in NHL Central Scouting Service’s mid-term ranking. However, with his impeccable numbers and strong play in the latter half of the season, there’s a good chance he will earn an NHL camp invite at the very least.

“I never really think about the future that much and haven’t thought too much about the draft,” says Outhouse. “I think of where I am now and focus on that. But I wouldn’t have expected a year ago that I would be where I am today.”

Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen