Former Rebels goalie Toth serves as Vancouver Canucks emergency backup
Even if Rylan Toth doesn’t realize his dream of playing regularly in the NHL, he can always say he was at least part of three games at the top level.
Most recently, the former Rebels and current UBC Thunderbirds netminder dressed as an emergency backup for the Vancouver Canucks Sunday and watched from the bench as the visiting St. Louis Blues recorded a 3-1 win at Rogers Arena.
Toth backed up Michael DiPietro after four Canucks netminders — Thatcher Demko, Spencer Martin, Jaroslav Halak and AHL goalie Arturs Silovs of Vancouver’s top farm team, the Abbotsford Canucks — had tested positive for COVID-19.
Welcome to the show, Rylan Toth! pic.twitter.com/W0QQBcvmlG
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) January 24, 2022
Toth, who played two seasons with the Rebels — 2014-15 and ’15-16 — signed an amateur tryout agreement with the Canucks Saturday afternoon, which maintained his university hockey eligibility.
“I had a game Saturday with UBC and because of the situation with the Canucks goalies, I was told that someone might be in contact with me,” Toth told Ben Kuzma of the Vancouver Province prior to the Sunday contest.
“Last night it was looking like I was going to back up Abbotsford and this morning I got another text that I’d be backing up Vancouver tonight,” added the Saskatoon native, who had been an emergency NHL backup on two previous occasions, with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Canucks, but didn’t dress.
Toth, 25, leads Canada West with 10 wins and a .935 save percentage, and is second in goals-against average (1.83).
Toth has also recorded a school record four shutouts for the Thunderbirds, who are tied for first place in the league with a 10-2-1 record, and his three consecutive shutouts tied a Canada West mark. He’s in his fourth season with the T-Birds and is studying arts.
Although he never got into Sunday’s game, Toth said he was confident he would fare well if called upon.
“I’m just going to treat it like a normal game and try to enjoy it,” he told the Province. “It’s a cool opportunity. I’m just going to stay focused in case something happens and just soak it in. I worked a lot in the last few years to get where I’m at in this (Canada West) league and I trust my abilities.
“It (NHL) is the toughest league in the world and it won’t be an easy task if that (playing) were to happen tonight. But I’m confident I could do well.”
Recently graduated Rebels netminder Ethan Anders, who was in Red Deer for four years, is Toth’s backup at UBC. The 21-year-old has appeared in one game this season, recording a 2.87 GAA and a .906 save percentage.
Notable: The Rebels are in Swift Current Tuesday to face the Broncos, then return home to prepare for a pair of weekend games at the Peavey Mart Centrium — Friday against the Broncos and Saturday versus the Lethbridge Hurricanes.