Thoughts: Draft and Free Agency

Christian Roatis
July 04 2014 08:08AM

As many of you may know, while the Calgary Flames have been furthering their rebuild through various moves like drafting a 20 year old and signing Derek Engellend, I've been wandering through Europe.

As a result, it's been tough to write and get things out due to the lack of internet. I have however, managed, one way or another, to keep up with all the important maneuvers made by the team. I did watch the Draft live (on Satellite Internet which is just as slow and expensive as it sounds) and most of Free Agent Frenzy on cafe and hotel internet hotspots and I've bunch of opinions on it all I'd like to share after the jump.

The Draft

The Calgary Flames haven't had elite depth at center since they won the Stanley Cup pretty much, and such a luxury appears to be in their not too distant future. Mikael Backlund's fancy stats suggest he's in the same league as some really, really good ice hockey players, so he's bound to make an unbelievable third line center behind Sean Monahan and the gem of this years draft class for Calgary, Sam Bennett.

I love the Bennett pick, partially because the Flames chose the best player available rather than Nick Ritchie who Burke no doubt salivated over, but mostly because he's a really good hockey player. Not much I can say about Bennett that hasn't already said, and mostly everything that has been said is of positive tongue. All in all, the Flames got themselves another stud - and at the most important position, no less.

I was expecting the Flames to find a way to re-enter the first round and make another selection within the Top 30, but nothing came to fruition so we were forced to wait the night until the Treliving and Co. cashed in on the rest of their lottery tickets.

At 34, the Flames shocked everyone by taking goaltender Mason McDonald. The pick was surprising to me for two reasons: one being I was expecting Roland McKeown or Jack Dougherty because the Flames depth at D is rather shallow, and two because I had McDonald as my 4th ranked goalie behind Thatcher Demko, Alex Nedeljkovic and Ville Husso.

The kid was tremendous at the U18s and the Top Prospect Game (which happened to be in Calgary), but the rest of his season was tinted red from the non-stop flash of the goal light in the QMJHL. To be fair, both his teams were hot garbage and the QMJHL isn't kind to goaltenders regardless, but you'd like to see a guy with at least a .900 SV% (he had a .898 combined between the two teams) in whatever league he played in, particularly if you're drafting him at 34. Thatcher Demko was the youngest person in NCAA Hockey and managed a .919 SV%, Nedeljkovic had a .925 SV% playing on a middling Plymouth Whalers team (they were under .500 on the season) and Ville Husso, whom had very impressive numbers in the SM-Liiga, posting a 1.99 GAA and .923 SV% in the men's league. Nonetheless, I'm willing to wait and see how he develops and maybe I'll be proved wrong down the road.

With their second 2nd rounder, I had no idea what to expect, but wasn't really surprised that the guy they took was a tower. How could the Flames resist not spending one of their Top 60 picks on size? Having learned more about Hunter Smith, he sounds like a guy that has improved a ton over the last 12 months and has tremendous character, which leads me to believe he has the potential to develop into a real nice asset. Will he be Milan Lucic? Probably not (although Lucic was drafted with drastically worse stats than Smith), but I do believe he will turn into a useful middle 6 player on this team in the future, and outside the first round, that's all you can really ask for.

Moving on to the third round, without any bluechip blueliners left, I was now really pulling for one of the two undersized, high skilled forwards available in Brayden Point or Spencer Watson. I figured the Flames had gotten their fix of size and truculence with Smith. Silly Christian.

Although Brandon Hickey isn't exactly a bulldozer, he is still six-foot-two and will probably play at around 200 pounds. That isn't to say, however, that I didn't like the pick because I did. Hickey fills an organizational need and is a very toolsy, all around rearguard. He skates fantastically well and is great puck mover. Someone mentioned TJ Brodie as a comparison and from talking to scouts, that's not far off. Four years of college hockey should do him a world of good from a development angle - playing against men and getting stronger. With resident grump Ryan Lambert keeping a close eye on the NCAA, we should have steady progress reports of how he's progressing and I look forward to seeing it.

Soon after that came the trade with Chicago which was received with vitriol from Flames faithful. Derek Dorsett had been dealt earlier in the day for the same price so the market for "good" fourth liners had been set at that. With no good prospects the Flames would be willing to select (because Brayden Point and Spencer Watson aren't 6'6) left, this deal was one I didn't really mind. Kevin Westgarth showed us that some fourth liners are better than others (he slotted under "others"), so having a guy that managed to play more than 5 minutes a night for all 82 games with Chicago isn't bad. Plus he's a good character guy and good in the room and all that.

The last two picks then made by the Flames contrast each other fantastically. One is a rock solid young defenseman who's already playing with men in Sweden and shows NHL potential, and the other is a 20 year old tough guy.

The Adam Ollas Mattsson pick was great value in the 6th round in my opinion. The guy has already played in the Allsvenskan against men, was the captain of Sweden's U18 team and yes, is big. His only glaring weakness is his skating, but of all the things that could be wrong with a player, that's one of the easiest to correct. His contract in Sweden runs through the 2015/16 season so he'll have lots of time to develop in Sweden, but has shown no aversion to crossing the Atlantic, as he's scheduled to participate in the Flames' development camp at WinSport.

The second of the two however has made no sense to me, and leads me to believe the Flames felt there was really no one left, so just spun their big wheel of prospects (all over 6 foot course) and landed on Austin Carroll. It irks me that the Flames left two rather good prospects on the board in Jacob Middleton and Spencer Watson (who both went to LA last and second last), among other others, to take a 20 year old who didn't even score at a point per game in the 'Dub as a vet. Carroll could've probably been signed, seeing as he attend the Flames' development camp last year. Just don't get it. 

If the Flames enter next years' Draft with the same dumb size mandate, they will miss out on some seriously good hockey players because much like 2013, the 2015 Draft is deep with quality talent and most of it isn't 6'4, 210 pounds.

Free Agency

Fully expecting an influx of John Scotts at fat cap values to reach the floor and satisfy Burkie's undying thirst, I was pleasantly surprised with the Mason Raymond agreement. The cap value at a hair over 3 million for 3 years is perfect in every way. Raymond's speed will be extremely valuable for keeping up with the speed in the West, and he softens the blow left by Mike Cammalleri's departure - which I don't think can be understated. The Flames will suffer at times next year without Cammalleri's uncanny ability to bury at key times. I guess we're not winning anymore thrillers in LA for a while.

Raymond can slot in anywhere in the Top 9, and will probably even see time on the top unit at some point during the season. Adds a lot of special teams value on both the PP and PK, too. Nicely done, Treliving. Real nice first signing.

Treliving's second signing was just as good. Two years, 9 million bucks for exiled Ducks goaltender, Jonas Hiller, who was pushed out the door in Anaheim much like Viktor Fasth because of the insane depth that team has in the crease.

Hiller will likely platoon with Ramo and give the Flames a no-joke 1-2 punch in the crease. As Darren Haynes of the Canadian Press mentioned on Twitter, the Flames are still looking for their first regulation win from a Swiss goaltender (thanks for the memories Reto), so Hiller will probably achieve that milestone. The money is inconsequential considering Calgary's cap situation, but the term is what makes this deal brilliant: a couple of years gives the player a fair shake at establishing himself in the crease and if it doesn't work out, no harm no foul, he gone.

It also gives the Flames a nice bridge into the Ortio/Gillies era. At the end of the Hiller contract, best case scenario for me would be Gillies starting with Ortio backing up, and Mason McDonald starting in the AHL. But that's a long ways away so who knows what could happen until then.

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I jinxed it. I'm sorry. All the good momentum was too good to be true. Earlier in the day I heard the Oilers were in on Deryk Engellend and someone I know in Edmonton said they believed the numbers being thrown around were around two million. I laughed an evil laugh and hoped it happened. Then it did. But not to the Oilers. 

No, the Hockey Gods are much crueler than that. Whatever, the Flames have cap space and the term is relatively short. My only concern is with the Flames collecting all the goons in the league, who are they going to fight? Outside of a few teams, everyone has smartened up and realized having a fighter offers you very little hockey value. I'm over it. HOW COULD YOU GIVE A SPOT FOR TYLER WOTHERSPOON OR PAT SIELOFF OR MARK CUNDARI TO DERYK FREAKIN ENGELLEND?!!?!!!?!! Over it. Totally over it.

In Summation

All in all, the Flames had a very successful couple days at the draft and subsequent frenzy of the free agent variety. They addressed several needs, size obviously being the big one (pun somewhat intended), but also the blueline. They appeared to have it another home run in Sam Bennett and added some high potential pieces in Mason McDonald and Hunter Smith.

On the craziest day of the hockey calendar, the Flames stayed out of all the stupidity - with one small exception - and weren't tagged with any contracts surpassing 3 years, which is superb. Landing a forward, defensive goon and goaltender, they upgraded their forward and goaltending ranks, and increased the size of their blueline. I don't expect they'll make any more splashes, rather just stick to minor depth moves, addressing any other needs at the AHL and ECHL levels. Also, Deryk Engellend is supposed a really nice guy and I wish him all the best in Calgary. But the contract and the roster spot he takes up just gets me Fired. Right. Up.

Looking Ahead

The Flames crack open a fresh new Development Camp this weekend and we'll have lots of coverage of that, of course. All the new faces will be there, highlighted by newbie 1st rounders Sam Bennett and Morgan Klimchuck (who was unable to participate on-ice due to injury last year). The Flames also invited a bunch of really tall and heavy people to participate a well. The roster can be found here. The YoungStars Classic returns, taking place September 12-15, 2014 in its usual home of Penticton, BC. Exciting times ahead.

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Christian Roatis is a European by birth, Calgarian by heart. Other than writing at FlamesNation, he writes about and scouts NHL Draft Prospects at Future Considerations. Follow him on Twitter @CRoatis!
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#51 theCalgaryJames
July 04 2014, 02:27PM
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? wrote:

And the Flames could have signed him as head coach after Mike Keenan, but D Sutter decided to go with Brent.

to be fair Brent Sutter was one of the more respected coaching minds in the league that year. He was a candidate for the Olympic Head coaching gig until the Devils blew up spectacularly in game 7 against the Canes...

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#52 beloch
July 04 2014, 02:49PM
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Goalies develop in bizarre ways. One reason Finnish goalies have long been so successful is that their training really focuses on rebound control. Just getting in the way of a 150 kph slap-shot is tough enough. Controlling where the puck will go after it hits you is an entirely different affair! A goalie who focuses only on getting in the way may do a better job early in his career because overthinking the puck makes you slow.

Likewise, great goalies usually avoid dropping into butterfly at the first sign of a shot. Those that do immediately drop might have an edge while developing because they cover more of the net that way, but when a goalie truly learns when to drop and when not to, they stay mobile while their "drop first" bretheren are stuck trying to flop across the crease like a fish out of water when a shot turns into a pass.

I'm no goalie expert, but what I'm trying to convey is that sv% should not be the end-all, be-all stat for evaluating goalie prospects. How they achieve that sv% is more important.

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#54 suba steve
July 04 2014, 03:53PM
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? wrote:

Many of the goaltenders named went incredibly early in the draft, so I don't think it's fair to compare Mason McDonald to any of them. Were they the first goalies picked? Sure, but at very different stages of the draft. Luongo, Price, Montoya, Fleury, Lehtonen, Finley, Dipietro, were all drafted 6th overall or above. Bernier was 11th, Leclaire 8th, and Desrochers was 14th.

I don't think you can look at Mcdonald's chance of being a starter from this sample realistically. Maybe using goalies drafted in the 2nd round instead would work better?

Some of those names were called shockingly early, and some of those were complete busts. Thus, the goalies are voodoo claims.

In recent years (2008-14) only a few tenders have been taken in the first round, the new norm is to wait till the early second round, and it's to early to fairly judge those picks. So, are goalies being chosen later because of a lack of quality in recent years, or is it that teams don't want to risk a first rounder on an asset that has a higher relative risk than a skater?

I look forward to following McDonald's progress, and agree that he could end up a complete bust, or he could become the next Luongo, or most likely become something in-between.

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#55 Discosis
July 04 2014, 05:29PM
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piscera.infada wrote:
Every statement is a statement of fact.

What facts exactly? This is where I have a huge issue. Does it not seem at least a little bit premature to ascribe a pattern of judgement to a man who has GM'd a handful of signings and one draft?

I will grant the original poster the Bollig trade and the Engelland signing as "size and toughness" transactions.

As far as the draft goes, I'll grant you Austin Carroll. Outside of that, maybe you can make a case for Smith - he's big yes, but he also appears to have more to offer (as evidenced by the fact he shot up draft rankings). He (Smith) has also been noted as having good hockey IQ.

Other than that, I'm sorry nothing else really points to the fact that they were valuing size over speed, IQ, and skill. McDonald is a goalie so I'm guessing they didn't draft him because "err, truculent" (if you want to argue the goalie pick, you're free to on the merits of that, but don't lump it in with the "big, tough, stupid" argument). Hickey is tall, but not big, and he's also a great skater again with high IQ. Ollas-Matsson again doesn't seem to be a face-puncher pick, a solid sixth round selection and has played for Sweden internationally multiple times (so clearly, the guy's no good at all).

Mason Raymond is not a particularly truculent player. Hiller, I know is a face-puncher... Ditto for resigning Byron (and avoiding arbitration rights in the process), although I guess he injured a Sedin last year, so yeah a little truculent.

So alright, out of 11 signings, 3 of them (Bollig, Engelland, Carroll) are bigger and tougher irrespective of skill. What a shame. But it's hardly a statement of fact that we're "moving away" from skill, speed, and IQ, and it unequivocally fails to show a pattern in and of itself with respect to Treliving

And don't come back at me with "X player is big...". The argument you're making is centred around a lack of skill, speed, or IQ, not apparent size.

Thanks for posting this. We're all so butt hurt about the Flames and drafting size, or signing big players. If you look at the Stanley Cup winning Kings roster, they have just ONE player under 6' and that is Richards at 5'11". That's how you wear teams down and win a drawn out series. Its likely not how you win the President's Trophy every year, but I'll take that trade off as long as you can make the playoffs.

Now I do subscribe to the notion that you need skill with your size, and I think those are the shots Treliving took at the draft. Hunter Smith looks like he's just figuring out how his body works. He was 6'7" at 19 years old! If this past season is a sign of things to come then why not risk a late 2nd rounder on him? If he turns into Lucic-lite then the pick is a massive win.

Lastly, we have no idea how the Flames had the defencemen ranked. I'm guessing that they probably saw a lot of McKeown given his proximity to Sam Bennett and likely didn't think he was worth it. Hickey looks like a very decent prospect, especially if he's getting Brodie comparisons. I really don't understand all the hate this draft is getting...

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#56 playastation
July 04 2014, 05:53PM
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@Discosis

Should change of the site to flamesdowners.com

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#57 Walter White
July 04 2014, 06:18PM
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Discosis wrote:

Thanks for posting this. We're all so butt hurt about the Flames and drafting size, or signing big players. If you look at the Stanley Cup winning Kings roster, they have just ONE player under 6' and that is Richards at 5'11". That's how you wear teams down and win a drawn out series. Its likely not how you win the President's Trophy every year, but I'll take that trade off as long as you can make the playoffs.

Now I do subscribe to the notion that you need skill with your size, and I think those are the shots Treliving took at the draft. Hunter Smith looks like he's just figuring out how his body works. He was 6'7" at 19 years old! If this past season is a sign of things to come then why not risk a late 2nd rounder on him? If he turns into Lucic-lite then the pick is a massive win.

Lastly, we have no idea how the Flames had the defencemen ranked. I'm guessing that they probably saw a lot of McKeown given his proximity to Sam Bennett and likely didn't think he was worth it. Hickey looks like a very decent prospect, especially if he's getting Brodie comparisons. I really don't understand all the hate this draft is getting...

As the worlds biggest Flames fan I will tell you why I don't like the draft:

Bennett: good pick! The obvious pick. No credit for NOT doing something completely insane.......

McDonald: goalies are voodoo.... The only reason we picked a goalie this early this year is because we did not pick one last year; I heard it right from Burkes mouth.....at that; I'm not even sure we got the best one with the first goalie picked.

Hunter: good pick, albeit too early, this is the kind of flyer you take on a kid in the 5th round.

Nothing against the kids we drafted: I'm sure they are all hard working, talented, great kids who are going to work their rear ends off for us: the problem is where we drafted them.

Bollig: the kind of player you pick up off waivers...

WW

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#58 cccsberg
July 04 2014, 06:37PM
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Derzie wrote:

How is this being trashed? Every statement is a statement of fact. Blind faith for BT/BB I guess. Are the trashers all over 6ft and/or truculent by any chance? I'm confused.

Your incredulity is hard to imagine, why don't you take another look at what you said?

1. Your feelings, well, can't say much here, I suppose you'll feel however you feel... 2. Not exactly and a gross over-generalization... e.g. didn't Sutter draft TJ Brodie, Backlund? 3. Again over-simplification, and best results in 20 years? Uh-hmm what Feaster draftee led the great results last year, with the exception of Monohan? 4. If you hadn't noticed, Flames had gotten to be a very small team and needed to get bigger to compete. 5. Nothing? Right... 6. Total nonsense, you have no idea how much BB controlled, nor their feelings on analytics.

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#59 EugeneV
July 04 2014, 07:00PM
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suba steve wrote:

I don't disagree, and I do disagree. The Flames do have the $ to spend currently and have to spend it on someone. But almost $3mil/yr X 3yr for this player is just always going to seem ridiculous to me.

If money is really not of any consequence, then why did the club feel the need to move Ales Kotalik ($3mil for 1 year), at the cost of a second round draft choice a few years back? They could have left him to rot in the AHL and kept that pick or got a better return for Regehr alone.

What's different now?

Sutter gone, King"s role lessened, Burke in.

Change of mindset.

Sutter obviously didn't believe in the power of a 2nd.

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#60 EugeneV
July 04 2014, 07:13PM
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Avalain wrote:

What's the same now? The club moved Kotalik when they were near the top of the cap ceiling and struggling to make it back into the playoffs. Now they are at the bottom of the cap floor and can't realistically be considered competitive for at least 2 or 3 years. The people that they are going to be bringing into the system in the next few years are going to be kids, which means that they are going to have cheap contracts, which means that money will need to be spent somewhere else.

I admit that they potentially could have found a better choice to throw money at, but they have to walk a tricky line with it. They needed to sign someone for no more than 3 years. They needed someone who is good enough to play the 6th position but not good enough to help the team out of the basement.

Your last line exactly.

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#61 EugeneV
July 04 2014, 07:38PM
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Walter White wrote:

As the worlds biggest Flames fan I will tell you why I don't like the draft:

Bennett: good pick! The obvious pick. No credit for NOT doing something completely insane.......

McDonald: goalies are voodoo.... The only reason we picked a goalie this early this year is because we did not pick one last year; I heard it right from Burkes mouth.....at that; I'm not even sure we got the best one with the first goalie picked.

Hunter: good pick, albeit too early, this is the kind of flyer you take on a kid in the 5th round.

Nothing against the kids we drafted: I'm sure they are all hard working, talented, great kids who are going to work their rear ends off for us: the problem is where we drafted them.

Bollig: the kind of player you pick up off waivers...

WW

You do realize there are 29 other teams in the league?

Smith was the 39th ranked skater on CSS rankings, which puts him solidly in the 2nd round. Also, since he was a huge riser from the mid 140's mid season I doubt very much that he would have lasted much longer.

I actually think of him as this years Poirier in some respects.

A guy who will be a BIG part of our team that we were smart enough to pick before all those other smart teams got around to it

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#62 gussey
July 04 2014, 08:19PM
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Who has time to argue with people you don't know, over a website, about the same nonsense day in, day out,(Bb and BT are idiots, truculence, size, goalies drafted to early, blah, blah)? Blows my mind really.

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#63 Walter White
July 04 2014, 08:47PM
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EugeneV wrote:

You do realize there are 29 other teams in the league?

Smith was the 39th ranked skater on CSS rankings, which puts him solidly in the 2nd round. Also, since he was a huge riser from the mid 140's mid season I doubt very much that he would have lasted much longer.

I actually think of him as this years Poirier in some respects.

A guy who will be a BIG part of our team that we were smart enough to pick before all those other smart teams got around to it

You do realize that Smith was passed over in his draft year (probably because he had 1 point that year, and one point the year before.....) is that the type of prospect you use a 2nd round pick on?

I hope Emile is nothing like him......I have Emile penciled in on our second line once we are competitive....

WW

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#64 Colin
July 04 2014, 08:48PM
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Discosis wrote:

Thanks for posting this. We're all so butt hurt about the Flames and drafting size, or signing big players. If you look at the Stanley Cup winning Kings roster, they have just ONE player under 6' and that is Richards at 5'11". That's how you wear teams down and win a drawn out series. Its likely not how you win the President's Trophy every year, but I'll take that trade off as long as you can make the playoffs.

Now I do subscribe to the notion that you need skill with your size, and I think those are the shots Treliving took at the draft. Hunter Smith looks like he's just figuring out how his body works. He was 6'7" at 19 years old! If this past season is a sign of things to come then why not risk a late 2nd rounder on him? If he turns into Lucic-lite then the pick is a massive win.

Lastly, we have no idea how the Flames had the defencemen ranked. I'm guessing that they probably saw a lot of McKeown given his proximity to Sam Bennett and likely didn't think he was worth it. Hickey looks like a very decent prospect, especially if he's getting Brodie comparisons. I really don't understand all the hate this draft is getting...

Your second point is more important than your first point, I hope everyone is smart enough to acknowledge that.

The Bollig trade and the Engelland signing don't make the Flames better simply by the fact it makes them bigger (the Bollig trade does make the Flames a little better simply because Westgarth most likely won't be resigned). Both those players were in the bottom of their respective teams when it came to possession numbers as well as counting stats. Bollig was still a positive possesion player, though that was on a Chicago powerhouse, have to wait and see how that pans out on a Flames team that looks like it might be worse than this last year.

Heres a funny quirk for you though, there was another team that every player execept one was 6' or over (though there were two players who combined to play 7 games on call ups who were under 6') and that team was......... The Toronto Maple Leafs. Must be somehting other than being over 6' that contributes to being a really good team. I'll give you a hint, it's not being tough or truculent.

I don't hold it against the Flames if they are offered a choice between two players and everything between those players is equal except their size. Say one is 5'10" and the other 6'2" and every other attribute is similar, their skating, hockey IQ, toughness and counting stats, I would say it's a good bet to take the bigger player. But if you go to the draft, trade or free agency and the your list of importance goes 1.) Size, 2.) Toughness/Truclunce/Buzzword(heavy), 3.) Skill you are doing it wrong, very very wrong. I think that's most of everyone here who is getting the downvotes concern. Feaster made some really big whiffs in drafting/trades/free agency, but he also valued skill.

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#65 beloch
July 04 2014, 09:09PM
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@Christian Roatis

Some scouts had McDonald first and some had Demko first. I don't presume to know why. Both of these guys are still long-shots, with a 1 in 3 chance of making the big show. The odds are slightly better that a skater picked 34th will play 200 games in the NHL, but that's still only around 40% at most.

Us Flames fans were probably spoiled by Kiprusoff. Everybody seems to think Ortio, or Gillies, or the next guy that comes along is going to be Kipper 2.0, and we won't need to worry about goalies for another decade. Well, that might not happen. Most NHL teams have considerable turnover in net, and teams that develop goalies (e.g. Anaheim) do have an advantage. Gillies and Ortio are great prospects, but the Flames don't have a lot of promising goalies in the pipe behind them. It was probably a good time to blow a decent pick on one.

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#66 FlamesRule
July 04 2014, 11:31PM
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Devin Setoguchi anyone?

2nd line RW.

Not Heatley...

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#67 EugeneV
July 04 2014, 11:31PM
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Walter White wrote:

You do realize that Smith was passed over in his draft year (probably because he had 1 point that year, and one point the year before.....) is that the type of prospect you use a 2nd round pick on?

I hope Emile is nothing like him......I have Emile penciled in on our second line once we are competitive....

WW

I'm talking about the theory (late bloomer), not the player, but...

In case you don't know, Smith was only eligible for last years draft by 4 days.

He is nearly a year younger than Monahan & Poirier and I'm actually pretty excited to have someone with his size who likes to play in the tough areas.

I hope that Emile can be a #1RW and that Smith can develop into a #2/3 RW.

Potential wise he is the sort of prospect that if he clicks, then it's a definite win.

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#68 dotfras
July 05 2014, 12:42AM
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Too many posters forget this is real life and not NHL Be A GM.

The goalie you want to draft isn't there in the 5th round.

You can't get Hunter Smith in the 7th round.

There is no way Bollig goes on waivers.

Reality, folks.

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#69 exsanguinator
July 05 2014, 03:35AM
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dotfras wrote:

Too many posters forget this is real life and not NHL Be A GM.

The goalie you want to draft isn't there in the 5th round.

You can't get Hunter Smith in the 7th round.

There is no way Bollig goes on waivers.

Reality, folks.

They never accept my trades on NHL anyway.

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#70 coachedpotatoe
July 05 2014, 06:14AM
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dotfras wrote:

Too many posters forget this is real life and not NHL Be A GM.

The goalie you want to draft isn't there in the 5th round.

You can't get Hunter Smith in the 7th round.

There is no way Bollig goes on waivers.

Reality, folks.

I can't agree you more. The trades that some of us suggest or the free agent signings often are unrealistic or don't take into account the entire organizational needs.

This development camp the organization needs to tap a few of the guys who will be playing for the AHL Heat and say if you want to make an impact you need to change position and become a RW. I took a look at capgeek(I don't always agree with them on the positions they have players in, must be the position they were drafted as ie Bouma, Colborne and Rhino are all still listed as centers and they all spent the bulk of the season on the wing)and we only have 3 natural RW under contract(none of whom inspire me as #1 RW) and something like 13 LW.

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#71 Loxeus
July 05 2014, 07:41AM
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The Bennett pick should serve as an example that Burke doesn't only care about truculence (even though Bennett is no twerp himself), especially if Burke really wanted Ritchie as bad as everyone seems to think. Yeah he likes a big physical game, but I think even he has his limits. He's not stupid and he won't argue with pure skill if it's there and he believes it.

It's possible that they focused on size this draft (where the depth of skill wasn't there or was at least questionable) so that they won't have to do the same thing next year. They take utility picks this draft so that they are free to choose whoever they want regardless of size limitations next draft. Maybe I'm dreaming but it makes sense doesn't it?

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#72 Loxeus
July 05 2014, 07:53AM
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@Walter White

Don't look at it as that we "only picked a goalie early in this year's draft because we didn't pick one last year." Look at it as "now we don't have to take one next year."

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#73 SmellOfVictory
July 05 2014, 08:07AM
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Christian Roatis wrote:

Good points, and for me if I can't see a goaltender, I rely on what I'm told and stats. With Demko, scouts raved and his SV% was also good. I'm more than willing to watch McDonald develop and give him time to come into his own even though, admittedly, I jumped up in rage at first.

I think it's fair to jump to rage when the team takes a goalie in the 2nd round (and so early that it's bordering on the first round), though.

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#74 Stubblejumper
July 05 2014, 08:17AM
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Walter White wrote:

You do realize that Smith was passed over in his draft year (probably because he had 1 point that year, and one point the year before.....) is that the type of prospect you use a 2nd round pick on?

I hope Emile is nothing like him......I have Emile penciled in on our second line once we are competitive....

WW

Am interested..if you have Poirier penciled in (at 2 RW) who do you have penciled in at 1RW and 3RW?

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#75 Stubblejumper
July 05 2014, 08:40AM
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theCalgaryJames wrote:

On a related note: how bad of a GM has Dave Nonis turned out to be? I can remember thinking Vancouver was insane to fire him after the work he (and Burke) had done building that franchise into what it maxed out at in 2011. Now he's gotta be the most clueless GM in the league.

Moving either of Franson or Gardiner is a stupid move for the Leafs to make and a smart one for whomever picks them up.

Nonis has completely lost his rudder. There would appear to be no team concept or blueprint in place..a series of disconnected short-term moves are being made without any underlying plan.

Last years UFA splashes completely cratered with Clarkson's season and Bolland walking. Putting half the team up on the trading block (outside of Kessel, JVR and Lupul who hasn't been mentioned?) isn't exactly a ringing endorsement of the team's direction.

Coupled with Carlyle's narrow approaches on players and a heavy dose of negative fan opinion that the good ship Maple Leaf is starting to lurch from side to side with greater velocity every day.

As I understand it Burke was let go because he drew a line in the sand in terms of management interference by board membres. In the end he was very wise to do so and to stand on principle rather than become a political gopher.

Start the countdown clock on Nonis..his gophering days are numbered.

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#76 Chambers
July 05 2014, 10:00AM
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Walter White wrote:

You do realize that Smith was passed over in his draft year (probably because he had 1 point that year, and one point the year before.....) is that the type of prospect you use a 2nd round pick on?

I hope Emile is nothing like him......I have Emile penciled in on our second line once we are competitive....

WW

WW....You do realize you do not provide all the facts? Rather than provide comments to generate reaction why don't you introduce a little intelligence into your comic act?

Smith's production skyrocketed last year during the regular season as well as the playoffs. A nice write up on "Flames from 80 feet" website if you are capable of reading!

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#77 BurningSensation
July 05 2014, 10:42AM
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There are two separate issues with the drafting of MacDonald that are getting conflated.

The first is whether using a 2nd rnd pick on a goaltender is worthwhile. I think the answer, especially in a weak year, is 'Yes'.

Here is a list of all goaltenders drafted in the first 2 rounds from 1990-2010 (I left out the last 4 years as these goaltenders are probably too raw to be assessed fairly). I used an * to mark those I think of as busts. There will be some controversy about some of my choices (DiPietro and Carey I listed as successes, because they were both starting calibre goalies before injuries/misfortune wiped them out, Carey even has a Vezina to his name), but it should give a perspective on what drafting goaltenders 'early' looks like;

1990: Kidd 1st, Brodeur 1st, Potvin 2nd

1991: *Verner 2nd

1992: Carey 2nd, *Fountain 2nd

1993: Thibault 1st, *Moss 2nd, *Langkow 2nd, Weekes 2nd

1994: *Storr 1st, *Fichaud 1st, *Rybachikov 1st, Cloutier 1st, Theodore 2nd

1995: Giguere 1st, Biron 1st, Boucher 1st, *Denis 1st, *Schaeffer 2nd

1996: *Hillier 1st, Garon 2nd, *Larivee 2nd, *Miller 2nd

1997: Luongo 1st, *Noronen 1st, *Damphousse 1st, *Lindsay 2nd, *Dovigi 2nd

1998: *DesRochers 1st, *Chouinard 1st, *Sauve 2nd, *Cruz 2nd

1999: *Finley 1st, *Ouellette 1st, *Ahonen 1st, *Auld 2nd, *Lasak 2nd

2000: DiPietro 1st, *Krahn 1st, Bryzgalov 2nd, *Ellis 2nd

2001: *LeClaire 1st, *Blackburn 1st, *Bacashihua 1st, *Medvedev 2nd, Budaj 2nd

2002: Lehtonen 1st, Ward 1st, *Toivenen 1st, *Deslauriers 2nd, *Stephan 2nd, Harding 2nd, *Daigneault 2nd

2003: Fleury 1st, Crawford 2nd, Howard 2nd

2004: *Montoya 1st, *Dubnyk 1st, *Schwarz 1st, Schneider 1st

2005: Price 1st, Rask 1st, *Plante 2nd, *Frazee 2nd, Pavelec 2nd, *Pelletier 2nd

2006: Bernier 1st, *Helenius 1st, Varlamov 1st, *Irving 1st, Neuwirth 2nd, Enroth 2nd

2007: *Gistedt 2nd, *Lafleur 2nd, *Cann 2nd

2008: *Pickard 1st, *McCollum 1st, Markstrom 2nd, Allen 2nd, *Beskorowany 2nd, *Demas 2nd

2009: *Koskinen 2nd, Lehner 2nd

2010: Campbell 1st, *Visentin 1st, *Pickard 2nd, *Simpson 2nd

1990 = 3 of 3

1991 = 0 of 1

1992 = 1 of 2

1993 = 2 of 4

1994 = 2 of 5

1995 = 3 of 5

1996 = 1 of 4

1997 = 1 of 5

1998 = 0 of 4

1999 = 0 of 5

2000 = 2 of 4

2001 = 1 of 5

2002 = 3 of 7

2003 = 3 of 3

2004 = 1 of 4

2005 = 3 of 6

2006 = 4 of 6

2007 = 0 for 3

2008 = 2 of 5

2009 = 1 for 2

2010 = 1 of 4

Total = 36 of 85

So looking at 20 years of data gives us a roughly a 42% chance of landing an NHL goaltender when using a 1st or 2nd. If you take 1998-99 out of the equation (where the NHL went 0 for 9 collectively over the first two rounds) it looks even better. Given that track record, I'd say that taking a goalie in the 2nd is completely defensible. The second issue, 'did we take the right goalie'? Is another question entirely.

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#78 suba steve
July 05 2014, 10:50AM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

I think it's fair to jump to rage when the team takes a goalie in the 2nd round (and so early that it's bordering on the first round), though.

In the 6 drafts preceding 2014, the first goalie has been taken at position #:

2013#36 MTL

2012#19 TBL

2011#38 NSH

2010#11 DAL

2009#31 NYI

2008#18 NSH

You obviously don't like it, but the organization got their top pick from this draft in net. Four other clubs spent a 2014 2nd round pick on a goaltender (36 Van, 37 Car, 39 Wash, 59 NYR), and at least a few of those probably didn't get their #1 rated guy. You can "jump and rage" all you want, but it's a done deal, and it was not a horrible decision to make in a relatively weak draft year sandwiched in between two stronger ones.

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#79 suba steve
July 05 2014, 11:10AM
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@BurningSensation

No fair. Using facts to form and support your conclusion rather than just using your gut/emotion.

My big question/curiosity--how well have Button's #1 rated goalies done over the last 20 years?

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#80 BurningSensation
July 05 2014, 11:19AM
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suba steve wrote:

No fair. Using facts to form and support your conclusion rather than just using your gut/emotion.

My big question/curiosity--how well have Button's #1 rated goalies done over the last 20 years?

I can't help it. It's the British Empiricist in me.

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#81 Chambers
July 05 2014, 11:56AM
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beloch wrote:

Some scouts had McDonald first and some had Demko first. I don't presume to know why. Both of these guys are still long-shots, with a 1 in 3 chance of making the big show. The odds are slightly better that a skater picked 34th will play 200 games in the NHL, but that's still only around 40% at most.

Us Flames fans were probably spoiled by Kiprusoff. Everybody seems to think Ortio, or Gillies, or the next guy that comes along is going to be Kipper 2.0, and we won't need to worry about goalies for another decade. Well, that might not happen. Most NHL teams have considerable turnover in net, and teams that develop goalies (e.g. Anaheim) do have an advantage. Gillies and Ortio are great prospects, but the Flames don't have a lot of promising goalies in the pipe behind them. It was probably a good time to blow a decent pick on one.

I don't always agree with your views but this time you get a big PROP!!

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#82 Kent Wilson
July 05 2014, 02:07PM
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@BurningSensation

The problem with your analysis is threefold:

1.) You don't compare it to the success rate of drafting goaltenders as a whole. That is, does drafting a goalie in the second round give you an especially better chance of finding a quality puckstopper than drafting in the fourth?

2.) your "success" criteria is especially broad. There is a huge variance in "NHL goaltenders". Getting Al Montoya in the first round isn't worth a damn because he's a career back-up. You can find those on the open market for next to nothing. The only reason to draft a goalie is because you think he'll be an above average NHL starter. Otherwise its an asset that's not worth much.

3.) You don't consider the opportunity cost of drafting a goalie vs drafting a skater early. You'll find the vast majority of the guys who populate the top scorers lists or ice time lists for NHL teams were drafted in the first couple of rounds every year. Those ARE valuable assets.

Here's a study for your consideration. There's probably been about a half dozen of these done at least. The conclusion is almost always "goalies are a bad bet in early rounds relative to skaters":

http://www.coppernblue.com/2010/5/28/1491560/drafting-goaltenders-1997-2005

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#83 BurningSensation
July 05 2014, 02:48PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

The problem with your analysis is threefold:

1.) You don't compare it to the success rate of drafting goaltenders as a whole. That is, does drafting a goalie in the second round give you an especially better chance of finding a quality puckstopper than drafting in the fourth?

2.) your "success" criteria is especially broad. There is a huge variance in "NHL goaltenders". Getting Al Montoya in the first round isn't worth a damn because he's a career back-up. You can find those on the open market for next to nothing. The only reason to draft a goalie is because you think he'll be an above average NHL starter. Otherwise its an asset that's not worth much.

3.) You don't consider the opportunity cost of drafting a goalie vs drafting a skater early. You'll find the vast majority of the guys who populate the top scorers lists or ice time lists for NHL teams were drafted in the first couple of rounds every year. Those ARE valuable assets.

Here's a study for your consideration. There's probably been about a half dozen of these done at least. The conclusion is almost always "goalies are a bad bet in early rounds relative to skaters":

http://www.coppernblue.com/2010/5/28/1491560/drafting-goaltenders-1997-2005

Hey Kent!

I had read that C+B piece previously, but I found it wanting because the data set he was looking at (1997-2005) is so small. In particular because it includes two of the worst goaltender drafting years in the last 25, and a stretch of four years where only 2 goaltenders out of 18 in the 1-2 rnds were hits. When you confine the data range to such a small field you don't get the bigger picture.

In the order you raised your objections;

1. Drafting in the 2nd vs 4th. I admit I haven't dug into the stats on how succesfful it is taking a guy in the 4th vs the 2nd, but my gut instinct is that the chances of finding a goaltender after the 2nd rnd drops precipitously. That said, until I look at it more closely I can't say that what the proper conclusion to draw is.

2. I find your 'success criteria' to be a bit problematic. On the one hand, I agree that using a 1st round pick to take a guy who is never going to be more than a decent backup is a waste (Montoya), but I disagree that the goaltender you select has to be 'above average' - he doesn't, he just has to be a 'starter', or, to put it another way, one of the top 30 netminders in the league.I counted Trevor Kidd as a 'hit' because for a five year window or so he was a starting caliber goaltender (albeit below average). That may be a dissapointing result (to put it mildly *Brodeur- cough*), but I suggest that it still counts as finding a starting goaltender.

3. Totally agree. You'll get no argument from me that outside of taking a sure-fire top end guy in the top 5 (where the success rate is a cool 100% according to C+B), you shouldn't take a goaltender in the 1st. Where we disagree is on the utility of taking one in the 2nd. More specifically I am arguing that taking one in the 2nd rnd in what is considered a weak draft for skaters is definitely acceptable.

Lastly, there is a massive difference in the risk/reward for drafting goaltenders vs skaters as the draft goes on, that skews preferences towards drafting them later. Finding a starting goaltender in the 7th is like winning the lottery (and about as predictable), so the reward vs the cost is enormous (however exceedingly rare). That doesn't mean you should use only late picks on goaltenders though, when it is clear from the data that your chances of finding a starting goaltender are much, much, better if you use an earlier pick (just not too early).

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#84 BurningSensation
July 05 2014, 03:05PM
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@Kent Wilson

Also, for the record, I wasn't the person who trashed your analysis.

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#85 Kurt
July 05 2014, 04:29PM
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Goalie drafting aside...

My issue with the BB/BT trashing (yes thats you Mr Lethbridge) is that everyone is making some pretty hefty assumptions about the success of Feaster's prospects.

Last I checked only Monahan has really excelled, and his rookie numbers weren't all THAT great. Great compared to what we are used to. But that is because we've been a rookie/prospect wasteland for 2 decades. If he maintains or steps it up next year, then we are talking.

With the rest of our prospects it's pure conjecture and speculation. Yes Johnny G. looks exciting. But until the guy does it in the NHL against men, it means zero, especially given his size. Yes guys like Poirier are trending good... But until these guys do it in the NHL it means squat. Literally nothing. I could rattle off a massive list of guys from around the league who were trending well many with much much higher pedigree than ours who all fizzled and burned.

Point is, I'm not trying to be negative, but cautious. Claiming BB/BT is a failure or that this draft was a complete bust is ridiculous on July 5. Maybe in 5 years everyone from 2013 draft will have fizzled and bombed out. Who knows... Until we see results IN THE NHL making judgements is dumb.

BTW - I'm not a BB apologist or backer. I think he was the wrong guy to bring in, but give these guys some time. This is probably ground zero of a nuclear rebuild. In 2-3 years when we start to come out of the wasteland we can evaluate Feaster and compare how his successors have done.

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#86 BurningSensation
July 05 2014, 05:42PM
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Ok, Kent suggested that I needed to examine what the success rate for drafting goaltenders outside the 1st 2 rnds would be. Here's what I get:

Drafting a starting goaltender outside of rounds 1-2

1990: 0-18 (you could make this 1-18 if you like Roman Turek's one decent year. I don't.)

1991: 1-27, Chris Osgood in the 3rd (Andrei Trefilov being a near miss in the 12th rnd)

1992: 1-21, Khabiboulin in the 9th rnd (Manny Fernandez near miss in 3rd)

1993: 1-32, Tommy Salo in the 5th (Patrick Lalime in the 6th is a near miss)

1994: 4-25, Turco in the 5th, Vokoun, Nabokov, and Thomas in rnd 9

1995: 1-21, Kipprusoff in the 5th (Toskala near miss in 4th)

1996: 0-19 (Esche in the 6th came closest)

1997: 0-13, (Aebischer in the 6th came closest)

1998: 1-20, Niitymaki in the 6th (Raycroft in the 5th is also up for consideration)

1999: 1-22, Miller in the 5th

2000: 1-25, Lundqvist in the 7th (Chechmanek in the 6th is very close)

2001: 2-27 Emery in the 4th, and Craig Anderson in the 3rd (Mike Smith in the 5th, Gerber in the 8th, and Huet in the 7th were close)

2002: 0-25

2003: 0-24 (Brian Elliott in the 7th is the only close candidate)

2004: 1-25, Rinne in the 8th (Ramo in the 6th, and Greiss in the 3rd are still candidates to break through as legit starters)

2005: 2-17 Quick and Bishop in the 3rd. (Stalock in the 4th still has a shot)

2006: 2-20 Steve Mason in the 3rd, Reimer in the 4th (probably being generous to Reimer. And Mason for that matter)

2007: 0-15 (I still have hope for Tyson Sexsmith)

2008: 0-17 (Holtby in the 4th, Tokarski in the 5th, and Lindback in the 7th are all still candidates)

2009: 0-18 (Calgary's Joni Ortio is probably the closest to being a real goalie)

2010: 0-17 (Petr Mrazek in the 5th is probably the best candidate)

Totals: 18-448

So, over 20 seasons, you can expect at most 1 goaltender drafted outside of the top 2 rounds will actually turn out to be a starter. It's on the order of 4% success rate, and that rate is skewed by the number of decent goaltenders taken in the 3rd rnd (Quick, Bishop, Mason, Osgood).

My conclusion, goaltenders may not be predictable, but your chances of getting a starting netminder in the first two rounds of a draft is on the order of 40%, taking one outside of the first two rounds is on the order of 4%, and that success is heavily weighted to the third round, after which is truly a fluke if you find anyone.

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#87 EugeneV
July 05 2014, 10:41PM
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BurningSensation wrote:

Ok, Kent suggested that I needed to examine what the success rate for drafting goaltenders outside the 1st 2 rnds would be. Here's what I get:

Drafting a starting goaltender outside of rounds 1-2

1990: 0-18 (you could make this 1-18 if you like Roman Turek's one decent year. I don't.)

1991: 1-27, Chris Osgood in the 3rd (Andrei Trefilov being a near miss in the 12th rnd)

1992: 1-21, Khabiboulin in the 9th rnd (Manny Fernandez near miss in 3rd)

1993: 1-32, Tommy Salo in the 5th (Patrick Lalime in the 6th is a near miss)

1994: 4-25, Turco in the 5th, Vokoun, Nabokov, and Thomas in rnd 9

1995: 1-21, Kipprusoff in the 5th (Toskala near miss in 4th)

1996: 0-19 (Esche in the 6th came closest)

1997: 0-13, (Aebischer in the 6th came closest)

1998: 1-20, Niitymaki in the 6th (Raycroft in the 5th is also up for consideration)

1999: 1-22, Miller in the 5th

2000: 1-25, Lundqvist in the 7th (Chechmanek in the 6th is very close)

2001: 2-27 Emery in the 4th, and Craig Anderson in the 3rd (Mike Smith in the 5th, Gerber in the 8th, and Huet in the 7th were close)

2002: 0-25

2003: 0-24 (Brian Elliott in the 7th is the only close candidate)

2004: 1-25, Rinne in the 8th (Ramo in the 6th, and Greiss in the 3rd are still candidates to break through as legit starters)

2005: 2-17 Quick and Bishop in the 3rd. (Stalock in the 4th still has a shot)

2006: 2-20 Steve Mason in the 3rd, Reimer in the 4th (probably being generous to Reimer. And Mason for that matter)

2007: 0-15 (I still have hope for Tyson Sexsmith)

2008: 0-17 (Holtby in the 4th, Tokarski in the 5th, and Lindback in the 7th are all still candidates)

2009: 0-18 (Calgary's Joni Ortio is probably the closest to being a real goalie)

2010: 0-17 (Petr Mrazek in the 5th is probably the best candidate)

Totals: 18-448

So, over 20 seasons, you can expect at most 1 goaltender drafted outside of the top 2 rounds will actually turn out to be a starter. It's on the order of 4% success rate, and that rate is skewed by the number of decent goaltenders taken in the 3rd rnd (Quick, Bishop, Mason, Osgood).

My conclusion, goaltenders may not be predictable, but your chances of getting a starting netminder in the first two rounds of a draft is on the order of 40%, taking one outside of the first two rounds is on the order of 4%, and that success is heavily weighted to the third round, after which is truly a fluke if you find anyone.

Well, that settles that.

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#88 Tonk
July 05 2014, 11:47PM
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Thanks for that leg work Burning! I have been struggling with the "Goalies are VooDoo, and should only be drafted in late rounds" mentality.

I accept that 1) compared to skaters goalies are a low percentage play. 2) starting/franchise goalies can be found through out the draft. 3) predicting future goalie success/ceiling is less accurate than skaters. Alright goalies are VooDoo. But short of raising the draft age of goalies I don't see that changing.

I see a few straight up flaws in the logic in only drafting goalies late. 1) every team needs goalies and therefor they must be drafted. We simply can't just wait for other organizations to develop them or pick them up in FA. We are either giving up assets or cap space to get what someone else doesn't want. Not much different than draft picks.

2) even though you may believe goalies are VooDoo you still need to take someone your staff thinks can reach the NHL level and that you want to work with. Pretty sure taking #22 on the list because 21 have already been picked by your pick in round 6 will get you one starter somewhere in the next 20 drafts, just not sure when, because goalies are VooDoo... You can argue the semantics but clearly getting the goalie you want is significant.

3) if we extend the logic of goalies are a lower percentage play so pick them late and acquire if needed, then we should only pick defenders late aswell because they are lower percentage than forwards. That of course is rediculous, but it is the same logic.

4) clearly a large number of quality goalies are selected in the first 3 rounds, Significantly more than the last 3. Is finding a franchise goalie so much easier than a #1C or #1D? That we can afford to rule out more than half the field?

So even though I agree goalies are VooDoo and are a lower percentage play, you have to play it once in a while. Perhaps every second or third draft. The only way always drafting goalies late would work is if every team followed that logic... 5) they don't.

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#89 Parallex
July 07 2014, 12:20PM
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@Tonk

"3) if we extend the logic of goalies are a lower percentage play so pick them late and acquire if needed, then we should only pick defenders late aswell because they are lower percentage than forwards. That of course is rediculous, but it is the same logic."

But isn't that the case? Maybe not to the extent that goalies are picked later but with the exception of 2012 most drafts tend to be F heavy in the first round and then more balanced thereafter. I'd argue that it's not rediculous but actually an accurate description of general draft day behaviour.

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