The Detroit Red Wings are in no immediate need of a starting goalie going into this year’s NHL Entry Draft. On the bench, they’ve got a shiny new contract coming for breakout goalie Petr Mrazek and the weathered, but still solid Jimmy Howard – two goalies worthy of a starter’s position, splitting the time based on who’s on the hot streak. Coming up in Grand Rapids, Jared Coreau is supposedly the real deal.
So with the immediate future of their goaltending department locked up, Detroit must look for depth in the draft. And with goalies rarely going in the first round, teams have a high probability of picking a high-ranked goalie. Here are five of those highly ranked goalies that will likely be taken before their goaltending peers.
18-year old Evan Fitzpatrick is currently ranked number one among North American goalies in the NHL’s 2016 Draft Prospect Rankings. Coming from the scoring-heavy QMJHL, Fitzpatrick held a 3.42 GAA and .896 SV% on a Sherbrooke Phoenix team that allowed the most shots on goal in the league. Fitzpatrick took over the number one spot in the rankings in February, after posting a 17-save performance at the 2016 BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. In an article by Hockey’s Future back in February, ISS Hockey Director of Scouting Dennis MacInnis had this to say about Fitzpatrick:
“Sherbrooke Phoenix goalkeeper Evan Fitzpatrick has tremendous upside … A butterfly goalie with good size and athleticism. He is calm, relaxed and controlled between the pipes, which has helped him gain the #1 rank of the top eligible goaltenders in the 2016 NHL Draft.”
Is he a good fit for the Red Wings? Well, we know that Fitzpatrick can handle a high volume of shots and the Wings are middle of the pack when it comes to shots against, ranking 12th overall with an average of 27.6 shots against per game played. Where I see an advantage for the Wings is in his calm, relaxed and controlled play between the pipes. This team has a lot of third period breakdowns and having that kind of zen in the net is always valuable.
Carter Hart held the number one spot in the NHL’s 2016 Draft Prospect Rankings until Evan Fitzpatrick stepped into it. At 17 years old, Hart just completed his second season as goaltender for the Everett Silvertips of the WHL. Standing at 6’1”, he’s on the shorter end of the goaltending spectrum, which is something that scouts take serious note of. But where he lacks in size, he makes up for in athleticism. In an article on NHL.com in January, Central Scouting’s Al Jensen is quoted as saying this about Hart:
“He’s very poised, patient and calm in the net … He doesn’t get rattled, has an excellent butterfly and seals the ice well with his pads. He can keep his body upright to protect the upper corners, has a good glove hand and good rebound control.”
Hart’s stats have done nothing but improve year over year. His .918 SV% in 2015-16 was good for 6th in the league and his 2.14 GAA was good for 3rd. He also led the league in wins with 35 and was tied for 3rd in shutouts with 6.
This kid seems to be very calm and collected and has a good philosophy on the game and his position. At 17 years old, he’s young – very young – which might not be a bad option for the Red Wings who, as I said earlier, are set for goaltending for the next few years. Carter Hart may be a good option to take the reigns from Petr Mrazek when the time comes.
Filip Gustavsson is an interesting one.
His league play in Sweden for Luleå HF shows an average-at-best goaltender, but his international play is great, averaging a .905 SV%. In addition to this, his short 6 game stint in the SHL proves that he has the capability to be a great pro goaltender. Standing at 6’2”, Gustavsson has the size, as well as the structure and technique in net, to be a starting goaltender some day.
While his league play is likely just growing pains of a young, learning hockey player, being recognized for stellar play will surely help his confidence levels, as he was at the U-18 World Junior Championship where he was named best goaltender after being awarded a silver medal with Team Sweden. He’s currently ranked #1 among European goaltenders in the 2016 NHL Draft Prospect Ratings.
We all know how much Detroit loves their Swedes, and Gustavsson might be a good option for them at the draft considering his need for more development and the fact that the Red Wings are a very patient organization with their prospects.
18-year old Daniel Marmenlind is the prospect on this list who made the greatest jump in the rankings from mid-season to now, going from 6th to 2nd, right behind Filip Gustavsson. At 6’1”, Marmenlind isn’t a huge goalie, but his performance for Örebro HK J20 in the Superelit league has been good.
In 2015-16, he posted a .920 SV%, which was good for 4th in the league among goalies who played more than 10 games. For comparative purposes, Gustavsson’s .893 SV% had him ranked at 29th. That being said, Marmenlind’s single performance for Örebro HK of the SHL was a terrible outing.
While it was tough to find any information online about Daniel Marmenlind, his stats suggest he is worth taking a risk on and seeing how he performs at the pro level for Örebro HK next season. Goalies are arguably the toughest position to predict, but if he can carry over his Superelit play to the SHL, Marmenlind could find himself playing for an NHL club in the future.
The London Knights have been the talk of the North American junior hockey world this last season and Tyler Parsons is their starting goaltender. The team finished number one in the OHL by a longshot and Parsons’ .921 SV% was good for 2nd in the league. So far through the OHL playoffs, Parsons is 16-1-1, with a .215 GAA and .925 SV%.
Parsons is a hard worker, staying active during his offseasons to prepare for the next season, improving his physical and mental state in order to better help his team. In an interview with Sportsnet a couple of months ago, Parsons describes his offseason work ethic as just wanting to be the team’s backbone and wanting the team to have confidence in him. In an interview with TSN, London Knights head coach Dale Hunter had this to say about his starting goalie:
“He’s a great kid, his work ethic is outstanding and he’s competitive … When you get that combination you get a real good goalie.”
This endorsement coming from somebody like Dale Hunter is huge for a prospective starting goalie. Tyler Parsons would be a great addition to any team, though may not have the patience that the Red Wings organization would ask of him in their system.
Overall, NHL scouts seem to agree that this is a weak year for goaltending prospects. I don’t expect any of these guys to really go in the first round, which means the Red Wings could pick any one of them if they really wanted to. But with the current goaltending situation in Detroit, it is not a position that is in dire need of work. They are better off being patient through this draft of mediocre prospects and focus on what is already in their system.
What do you think? Should the Red Wings be drafting a goalie in the early rounds of this year’s draft? If so, who should they pick?