The NHL Draft Combine is an exciting event and marks the last test before the NHL Draft. It gives scouts, General Managers and fans a look at the pure physical strength of the undrafted prospects. It is important to note though that the results of the combine will not sink or cause a prospect to rocket in the rankings. What the combine does is it shows the potential, NHL readiness and gives NHL organizations a confirmation about prospects.
If you are interested in goalies though, it’s hard to find coverage. Fans know the results of everything Patrik Laine, Auston Matthews and others have done. So what about the goalies? We’ll start off with Chatham-native and goalie of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Joseph Raaymakers.
Every year there is one fitness freak that dominates nearly every category of the combine and for the 2016 draft eligible goalies, that person is Joseph Raaymakers. While we don’t have an official height or weight for Raaymakers from the combine, it doesn’t matter much. What does matter is the results and here is what Raamakers did:
No. 1 goalie & 5th Overall in the Pro Agility Left test
No. 1 goalie & 7th Overall in the Pro Agility Right test
This is a rather big deal as it shows the strength and ability of Raaymakers to make side-to-side movements which are the type of movements goalies make the most.
No. 1 goalie & 25th Overall in the Anaerobic Fitness: Mean Power Output
Tied for no. 1 goalie & 21st overall in the Fatigue Index
No. 1 goalie in Wingspan
No. 2 goalie & 13th Overall in Body Fat%
No. 4 goalie & 10th Overall in VO2max test
With the combination of his combine performance and with Raaymakers taking over the starting position with the Greyhounds next season, he will be more then worth a late-round pick.
For more Raaymakers combine content, check out this video from the Maple Leafs:
• Evan Fitzpatrick is the most NHL-ready goalie physically in this draft. At 6-foot-2, 202.96 lbs Fitzpatrick has a frame that NHL GM’s will fall over themselves for. Other notable results for Fitzpatrick are his VO2 Max test where he tied for 2nd among all prospects and 2nd among goalies. Last but not least, Fitzpatrick ended up 3rd among goalies for wingspan.
Link to video: https://www.nhl.com/mapleleafs/video/evan-fitzpatrick-642016/t-277437436/c-44147603?tcid=tw_video_content_id
• Carter Hart showed off some serious leg power at the NHL Combine. While only being 180lbs, Hart finished in the top-20 for the standing long jump and 2nd overall among goalies. Two other tests that Hart excelled at were the VO2 Max where he finished first overall and first for goalies in the Peak Power Output test.
• The combine might be the confirmation NHL scouts need to have in order to justify taking Dylan Wells higher then where he is projected to go. While Wells did have a disappointing season, his combine was anything but that. Wells finished behind only Julien Gauthier and Jakob Chychrun in the standing long jump. Wells also finished first for goalies in the vertical jump.
• Future NCAA starting goalie Joseph Woll definitely deserves some attention. Woll finished second among goalies and in the top-20 for the Pro Agility Right test. Woll also had the second largest wingspan for goalies. Going to the NCAA will only make him stronger and quicker.
• While I do shake my head at the lack of coverage for goalies at the draft (there isn’t even a full list for goalies height/weight from the combine), Sportsnet and NHL.com did bring us two interesting takes from the Combine:
“Said one goaltending coach: “I’m at the combine and I’m in the meetings but I can’t tell my GM that there’s a goalie that we can look at in the first two rounds. Maybe we can’t talk about one until the third or fourth. It’s a very bad year [for goalies].””
“London goaltender Tyler Parsons, No. 3 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American goalies, credited goalie coach Dave Rook for his strong play this season.
Parsons capped his season with four wins at the Memorial Cup with a 1.78 goals-against average and .942 save percentage. That came after he went 37-9-2 with a 2.33 GAA and .921 save percentage in 49 regular-season OHL games, and 16-1-1 with a 2.15 GAA and .925 save percentage in 18 OHL playoff games.
"My new goalie coach [in London] preached to me to just relax and let the puck come to me," Parsons said. "He wanted me to be calm and use my biggest assets, my competitiveness and athletic ability. He wanted me to use my best assets when I had to and not all the time. That's one thing I did in my first year (2014-15) and I ended up with a lot of injuries. I had the right mindset."”