Sault Star

Fantasy Summary

A fast rising, high risk, high reward prospect with NHL potential.


Observations

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May 2024- After four years in the LA Kings organization, Villalta was not tendered a contract and became a free agent. This was after he had his best season since turning pro. He posted a 12-8-1 record along with a 2.65 GAA and .910 save percentage. Unfortunately, with LA acquiring Erik Portillo, Villalta became expendable. The Coyotes wasted no time signing Villalta, inking the netminder on July 1st, giving the organization some much needed goaltending depth. Originally expected to split duties for Tucson, when Ivan Prosvetov was claimed off waivers by Colorado to begin the 2023-24 campaign, Villalta was thrust into No. 1 goalie status for the AHL squad. Villalta responded and then some. He posted a 31-17-3 record, 2.54 GAA and .911 save percentage, setting several Tucson goalie records along the way. His 31 wins were tops in the AHL, along with his other numbers being among the best in the league. Villalta also made his NHL debut, recalled to Arizona for an injured Connor Ingram. On February 16th, he earned his first NHL start, a hard-luck 6-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Back down in the AHL, Tucson had one of its best statistical seasons to date, no thanks to the excellent goaltending of Villalta, and made the playoffs. Tuscon lost in the first round, but Villalta was very good again, posting a 2.56 GAA and .914 save percentage. Only signed to a one-year contract last year, Villalta could be on the move again. After the year he just had though, and none of the team’s top prospects ready for the jump, Utah would be smart to bring Villalta back. Keith Duggan

 

July 2022 – Villalta inked a one-year two-way contract worth $787,500 this week. Villalta played a professional career high of 46 games in 2021-22 where he posted a modest 2.98 GAA and a .903 save percentage. With both Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen under contract for 2022-23, expect Villalta to spend the season with the Reign, but should be first in line for a call-up in the event of a trade or injury to one of the NHL netminders. Sean Crocker

 

June 2022 – Villalta was given the keys to the Ontario castle in 2021-22, playing a career high 46 games while posting a 2.98 GAA and a .903 save percentage, both personal bests for the 23-year-old. VIllalta leads the young group of goaltenders in the Kings minor league system and is the presumed starter for the Reign when the 2022-23 season kicks off. Between his RFA status and other talented members of the pipeline, this is far from certain to happen. Villalta is still only 23-years-old and still far from his potential to become a starting goalie or at least a 1B option in the NHL. With Jonathan Quick under contract for one more season, he might have to go through at least one more year in the AHL barring a trade or injury to one of the NHL goalies. Sean Crocker

 

April 2020 – Thanks to the trade that saw Jack Campbell moved to Toronto back in early February, and the Kings AHL starting goalie Cal Petersen recalled to the NHL; Villalta has become the primary back stopper for the Ontario Reign. After serving as the back-up goaltender for most of this season appearing in only 13 games up to the trading of Jack Campbell, he has since started nine games going 5-3-1 with a 3.12 GAA and 0.910 Save Percentage in that span. He should continue to see the bulk of the workload should this season continue otherwise he will pick up where he left off in 2020-2021. Julian Mongillo

 

December 2018 – Villalta has continued to save his way up the hockey ranks with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds by following up his 25-3-0 record and .918 SV% with an astounding 40-5-2-2 and .908 SV% backstopping his team to a first place finish and franchise record 55 wins. This incredible year came after Villalta was given a heavier responsibility in goal after the Greyhounds traded away starting net minder Joseph Raaymakers. He is off to a 14-4-3 start for the 2018-2019 campaign and was selected to attend Team Canada training camp for the upcoming 2019 World Junior Championships.

Villalta battled the likes of Vancouver Canucks prospect Mike Dipietro and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Ian Scott to be one of two goalies to make the team and represent team Canada at the WJC tournament. After the last of three exhibition games against the University Sports All-Stars on December 14th Villalta was part of the additional cuts to the roster and will not be participating in the tournament this year. Villalta will shift his focus back to the Greyhounds in the hopes of having another successful season as the primary puck stopper and show the Kings organization that they have yet another goaltender ready to join their plethora of talent between the pipes. Julian Mongillo

 

October 2017 – Matthew Villalta won a backup spot on the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds as a walk-on and then proceeded to put up a 25-3-0 record with a .918 sv%. He continued to surpass expectations by then becoming the highest drafted goaltender since 2011 for the Kings. He plays calm in the net and his positional game is sound. Villalta needs to put on weight to become a bigger presence in the net and must be quicker on loose pucks to continue his rapid rise up the ranks. With an NHL organization now behind him, he has the resources and potential to be an NHL goaltender. Jamie Barber

Attributes
Fantasy Upside 7.5
NHL Certainty 4.0
Country CAN
Position G
Roster Type Minors
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth June 3, 1999
Height 6‘3”
Weight 190 lbs
Drafted 2017 Round 3; Overall: 72

Stats

 Season Team League GP GAA SVS%      Playoffs GP GAA SVS%
 2014-2015 Greater Kingston Gaels U16 AAAETAHL U1634 - -|      
 2015-2016 Greater Kingston Gaels U18 AAAETAHL U18- - -|      
 2016-2017 Soo GreyhoundsOHL33 2.41 .918|Playoffs2 4.20 .841
 2017-2018 Soo GreyhoundsOHL49 2.58 .908|Playoffs24 3.30 .893
  OHL All-StarsJr Super Series0 - -|      
 2018-2019 Soo GreyhoundsOHL51 3.03 .903|Playoffs11 3.43 .885
 2019-2020 Ontario ReignAHL22 3.27 .899|      
  Fort Wayne KometsECHL8 3.85 .864|      
 2020-2021 Ontario ReignAHL18 3.43 .889|Playoffs1 4.35 .828
 2021-2022 Ontario ReignAHL46 2.98 .903|Playoffs3 4.64 .829
 2022-2023 Ontario ReignAHL22 2.65 .910|      
 2023-2024 Arizona CoyotesNHL2 4.17 .828|      
  Tucson RoadrunnersAHL51 2.54 .911|Playoffs2 2.56 .914

Highlights