This is the first article in a series of, well, however many I decide to come up with, entitled "Pittsburgh Penguins Profiles." The articles in this series will focus on players from the 2008-09 Pittsburgh Penguins' roster.
The Pens' backup goaltender for the 08-09 season will once again be the man they call "The Great Sabou", Dany Sabourin.
With a nickname that includes the word "great", you might wonder why this guy is a backup goaltender. Well, the implied greatness in his nickname is more for effect than for actual pertinence.
Sabou was born in Val-d'Or, Quebec in 1980. After enjoying moderate success in the QMJHL, Sabourin was drafted 108th overall by the Calgary Flames in the 1998 NHL entry draft.
Sabourin bounced back-and-forth between the AHL and ECHL for the next five seasons, before finally getting a shot to play in the NHL.
Sabourin played just four games for the Flames during the 2003-04 season, posting a record of 0-3-0.
Sabourin was signed by the Penguins in the off-season, and was placed on their American Hockey League team, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
In 2006, Sabou won the Baz Bastien Memorial Trophy as the top goaltender in the AHL after winning 30 games in 49 starts with the WB/S Penguins. He played one game for the big club that season, a loss in which he allowed four goals and was promptly shipped back to the minors.
In October 2006, the Vancouver Canucks picked up Sabou off of waivers. Sabourin would get limited ice-time behind Canucks' all-star goaltender, Roberto Luongo, but he did manage to earn his first NHL victory in February of 2007.
Sabourin played in just 11 games that season for the 'Nucks, including two in the playoffs when he came in to relieve a battered Luongo.
Sabourin was re-signed by the Penguins on the first day of free agency before the 2007-08 season.
Sabou started the season as backup to Marc-Andre Fleury, but, when the Flower went down with a high ankle sprain, Sabou was supposed to be the man to pick up the slack.
Enter Ty Conklin.
After a disappointing performance as the new number one goaltender, Sabourin was once again relegated to backup, as Ty Conklin grabbed the reigns for the Fleury-less Penguins.
However, as a backup, Sabou continued to impress. He played in 24 total games, registering 10 wins and two shutouts, with a save percentage of .904.
Perhaps Sabou's best attribute is his performance in the shootout. He has posted a 4-2 all-time record in shootouts, and has stunned fans with flashy glove saves on numerous occasions.
While his performance as a number one goalie last season left much to be desired, Sabourin has proved that he can come up with some big wins as a backup. Barring another serious injury to Marc-Andre Fleury, Sabou should start between 15 and 20 games next season for the Penguins, and he will be looking to eclipse his career-high of 10 wins.
Stay tuned for part two of the series, which will highlight a certain Penguin who always plays to the Max...
Let's Go Pens