Evan Fitzpatrick was drafted in the 2nd round
Another draft in NHL history has come and gone. For goalies this draft was rather light as only 18 goalies were chosen in the 2016 NHL draft. While scouts and the media have been repeatedly saying this draft was weak for goalies it’s still a surprise as a few teams that needed goalies left without them. This is the fewest amount of goalies taken in a NHL draft since Ron Tugnutt was drafted in 1986.
Regarding the draft I’ll do my best to review all the aspects of what went down this weekend. This won’t be filled with big scouting profiles just a round-up on all things goalie related at the draft.
Getting Their Starter Now
The first goalie to join a new organization was not someone who was drafted. It was instead Brian Elliott who was moved to the Calgary Flames for the 35th overall selection. It wasn’t a huge surprise as the Flames have been looking for a starting goalie since both Hiller and Ramo failed to provide the goaltending needed for the Flames to make the playoffs. Brian Elliott has been successful in St. Louis and should be a well needed boost to the Flames crease.
Why Draft When You Can Trade
It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Kings have a lack of goalie depth. After moving out Jones and Bernier their goalie prospect pool is back at the starting line. While they did add Jack Flinn on an AHL contract more was needed from the organization. The Kings have decided to forgo drafting a goalie and instead trade for Jack Campbell. Campbell has been disappointing since turning pro but the Kings are willing to see if he can turn it around.
They are going to need to work some magic as right now their goaltending pipeline is dependent on a goalie who was demoted to the ECHL last season and the other is an overager on an AHL contract.
Goalies of the Future
Two teams went into the draft looking for their goalie of the future. Those two teams were the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Dallas Stars. With the draft over you can bet both organizations are happy with who they left with. For the Maple Leafs they ended up taking home Joseph Woll. While an attractive quality of his is that he’s a large goalie the most important aspect of him is his movements. Woll will be headed to Boston College where he’ll receive top notch coaching that helped develop top goalie prospect Thatcher Demko of the Canucks.
The Dallas Stars waited until the 5th round to take their goalie of the future in Colton Point. Point was drafted from the relatively unknown CCHL. This was his last season there as Point will be playing for Colgate University next season. Watch for Point to burst onto the scene next season with Colgate University. There’s even the possibility of Point working his way onto the Canadian World Junior team.
The Rich Get Richer
Thiers a few teams in the NHL who are already sitting pretty on top of a pile of talented goalie prospects. This draft Calgary, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Carolina, Tampa, St. Louis and Winnipeg have added strong goalies to their prospect pool.
Calgary Flames: Jon Gillies and Mason McDonald. Have added Tyler Parsons.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Matt Murray and Tristian Jarry. Have added Filip Gustavsson.
Philadelphia Flyers: Anthony Stolarz and Felix Sandstrom. Have added Carter Hart.
Carolina Hurricanes: Alex Nedeljkovic and Callum Booth. Have added Jack LaFontaine.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Andrei Vasilevskiy and Kristers Gudlevskis. Have added Connor Ingram.
St. Louis: Jordan Binnington and Ville Husso. Have added Evan Fitzpatrick.
Winnipeg: Connor Hellebuyck and Eric Comrie. Have added Mikhail Berdin.
As is tradition some NHL teams took players that have barely been heard of or just flat out never heard of at all. There were four goalies that fit that bill for this year. First one is Wouter Peeters who became the first Belgian to be drafted in the NHL. Peeters was taken by the Blackhawks and will be joining the Jokerit organization for the 2016/17 season. Not to be outdone by their Central Division rival the Colorado Avalanche drafted 6’ 5” Swedish goalie Adam Werner. Werner played the past year in the SuperElit Swedish Junior league and this coming season will be in the Allsvenskan league.
Peter Thome is another goalie that few have heard of. Thome was taken out of the NAHL by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 6th round. Thome will be moving to play for the University of North Dakota this coming season. UND is an excellent program and provide Thome with opportunity to develop properly. Last but not least is Tyler Wall. Apart from a name fit for a goalie Wall is generally unheard of. A big reason for that is because he was drafted out of the GOJHL, a Canadian Junior ‘B’ League by the New York Rangers. Wall is going to play for UMass-Lovell of the NCAA next season.
Swinging for the Fences
The Edmonton Oilers were thought to be one team who would use an early pick on a goalie since they lack a prospect of high talent in their system. They kept fans waiting until the early 5th round and there they chose Dylan Wells of the Peterborough Petes. Wells is the definition of a swinging for the fences type pick. There’s no doubt Wells has talent. He showed that talent at the Ivan Hlinka tournament along with the Top Prospects Game. Apart from those two small samples Dylan Wells has shown very little.
Someone was going to take Wells because of the high level of play he can show. The issue is he is a high risk long-term project. His bounce back save percentage was subpar along with his save percentage in close games. Out of the 27 games Dylan Wells took place in he had 17 games that were under the OHL SV%.
One of the biggest surprises of the day was seeing Moose Jaw Warriors goalie Zach Sawchenko going undrafted. For me he is the 3rd best goalie in the draft and for many others he was at the very least a top 5 goalie. So naturally when he went 7 rounds without hearing his name being called there was a general wonder of “why?”
Thankfully inGoal magazine contributor/goalie expert Greg Balloch and Western Canadian scout Chris Laclair got down to the bottom of the issue.
Seeing this calls into question the state of goalie scouting within the NHL. Are NHL GM's or their scouts using myth's and calling goalies voodoo an excuse for not properly devoting resources into goalie scouting?
Didn't Pull the Trigger
Going into the draft some teams absolutely needed to draft a goalie. Toronto and Colorado were chief among those teams. Both those teams pulled the trigger and drafted the goalie they wanted. Even Edmonton brought in the goalie they wanted. There were some teams though that didn’t pull that trigger for whatever reason.
Both the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks should have drafted a goalie. We can give them a small pass though because both teams have goalies that are just turning pro this coming season. For the Bruins Daniel Vlader is the goalie who can allow the Bruins to skip the 2016 draft. For the Canucks it’s Thatcher Demko that allows Vancouver to skip the goalies of the 2016 draft. For Vancouver and Boston though it is advised to bring in some undrafted goalies for rookie camp.
Now there is one team that absolutely needed to and has no excuses for skipping on the goalies in this draft. That is the Los Angeles Kings. For an organization that once had Bernier and Jones you’d think they’d understand the need for a stocked goalie pipeline. So far that is not apparent as their goalie depth is negligible. Every year the Kings decline to add a key goalie prospect is another year lost to developing Quick’s heir or Jones 2.0.
Just as it's important to draft forwards and defense, it's equally as important to ensure that your goalie prospect pool remains properly filled.