Thoughts: Draft and Free Agency

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.

 tweet

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.

  • redhot1

    Really disappointed in Trelivings first draft. I hope Burke had a lot to do with these picks, otherwise I’m not confident in BT’s ability to draft. We didn’t address any organizational needs.

    I’m rooting for some of these prospects to prove me wrong, but besides Bennett, I don’t really have high hopes.

    Wish we could have kept Feaster as director or scouting or something

    • McRib

      At least BT didn’t trade down ala the Jankowski scenario. This is Brian Burke’s team and it seems to be heading in the same direction as the last team he was pulling the strings for. 4 skilled players and a bunch of meat heads. Although I was stoked about Byron getting a new contract

    • piscera.infada

      Unbelievable comment re; not addressing any of the teams needs, but then again some people want to be negative…

      In reality I think the team addressed ALL of the team’s needs, those being Defense, RW, back-up goaltender and getting bigger and tougher to play against. Throw in a terrific talent at centre and its hard to see what WASN’T addressed? Also, we got great term on all contracts and DIDN’T jump into stupid whale-hunting contracts.

      I get it that the particular players picked may not have been your own picks(choices), but really, give them some credit and lets wait and see how they all turn out…

      NOW that size and toughness has been addressed, and we’ll see which of those turn out for the long-term, I fully expect the next year will see something different, again addressing current and future needs.

      One thing for me is to continue to remember that we can only play 23 guys at a time on the roster, and we’ll have to be paring good potential prospects/players from that (future) team because we’ve already got more than that. In all likelihood the majority of this year’s team will be gone by then….

  • McRib

    The thing that pisses me off the most about the Deryk Engellend signing is the other names being thrown around at the time as candidates to sign with the Flames would have actually been decent signings (Tom Gilbert, etc).

  • McRib

    I can honestly say I’m not upset about the Engelland deal. I think people are making a mountain out of a mole hill. I also don’t necessarily think that it is any more of a statement that they value goons over skill considering they resigned Byron, they kept Sven around, they drafted Bennett, etc.

    At the end of they day I think they signed a depth player they liked. that’s it.

    • redhot1

      It’s not really a problem with the player, it’s just that he’s getting paid way too much to be a 7th dman / 13th forward / face puncher. As Kent said earlier, I don’t mind, because the Flames may be a dumpster fire next season

      • Avalain

        But the money doesn’t matter because we’re not going to be anywhere near the cap by the time his contract is over. He’s really just a placeholder to keep us at the cap floor.

        • supra steve

          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?

          • Avalain

            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.

  • flamesburn89

    I have to admit, never did see Derek play for the pens, but if he can broaden his game if the Flames don’t label him quite as bad as the Pens did, maybe he’ll surprise. I’m hoping that’s the case.

    I’m also quite excited about the Ollas Mattson pick, he’s been pretty highly touted in Swedish media, pretty recently he was thought of as having a shot at being a first round pick. And he played for the top 2nd tier team in Sweden. And will be playing top tier hockey in Sweden next year since his Djurgården was promoted.

    I also do see picking your top of the list GK early, after all, once the Flames picked their guy, the rest of the good goalie prospects were gone in a flash.

    Can’t wait until main camp to come around. And if Hartley can get out of this group the same effort as they showed last year. But with severely better goalkeeping, well, who knows 🙂

  • Christian Roatis

    on a side note al you BT/BB haters saying they only want big guys and are pissed for letting Byron go, thus proving your point; they signed Byron back. I say wait and see how it all pans out before you get your panties in a knot.

  • Thoughts on the draft. Although like most everyone else ‘this draft’ did not quite go the way I expected and I feel like some stronger prospects were left on the table to pick goalies and size. Which as lead to no end of BT intelligence bashing, and BT failed on his first draft doom and gloom.

    I am not an optimist, I consider optimism to be a form of mental disease that just isn’t a healthy state of mind in any problem solving situation. But something Christian mentioned did get me thinking outside my box. “The 2015 draft is deep with quality talent and most of it isn’t 6’4, 210 lbs” I know it is common knowledge but then a question popped into my head.

    What if BT is a really smart guy? Next year is NOT the draft to take goalies and size for sure, but you still need to draft them in to any organization. By taking goalies and size this year BT may have just allowed himself the ability to go all skill in the next ‘deepest draft ever’. This draft in the context of a week draft between to strong drafts is exactly where I think a smart GM should take the kind of players that where drafted. Sadly we won’t know if BT is being clever or if he is a drone marching to the BB mantra till next year.

    • EugeneV

      To piggy back that last thought of yours, lots of moaning & whining & BT/BB trashing of drafting big boys. For the last 3 years under Feaster we have drafted skill(smallish). We also acquired smallish players with the exception of Jones & SOB. I was initially OK with that trade because Tanguay ticked me off so bad I really didn’t care about the return. I was hoping that SOB could have been that big RR type of dman that punished forwards & cleared the net. We definitely needed an injection of skilled but large players in our lineup or you get the Oiler syndrome. These guys are about as available as 1st line centres & top pairing dmen. You want better skilled heavy players, you gotta draft them as well. So yeah, after Bennett, I have no problem what they did. Yeah Engellend is way overpaid & chances are he will be scratched in favour of Tspoon & /or Seiloff. Not sure why people are getting so worked up, we needed to spend money & keep that spending spree to 3 years or less terms. Next year, lets see what happens. Depending on how things go, Hiller or Ramo could be good TDL fodder next year. Like Dotfras, I find it hard to read so much pointless venom toward a new Management regime over conflicting opinions. If they signed Vanek, Niskanen & Cammi, everyone would have been screaming. They did the opposite that fits the rebuild plan perfectly going into a critical draft next year, & all I see is whining. Wonder how stoked kids like Bennett, Monahan, Gaudreau, Backlund will get when Bollig shows them his Stanley Cup ring in the dressing room. I love that acquisition.

  • smith

    This draft feels like a step back.

    With Darryl we drafted toughness, size and character and our results were bad.

    With Feaster we drafted IQ, skill and speed and our results were the best in 20 years.

    With Treliving ….. see Darryl.

    Thank goodness we had a top 5 pick or we could once again come out of a draft with nothing.

    Too bad this was all predictable once Burke was hired. Fill up the bottom lines with goons and say goodbye to analytic’s.

    • DoubleDIon

      I agree with some of what you’ve said. I’ll take a wait and see approach with the Hunter Smith pick. Keep in mind, Adam Lowry was basically Hunter Smith at the time of his draft. I loved our sixth round pick and our 1st round pick. The third rounder I have never seen play even online post-draft. There is no full game online that I can find. Wasted pick on Carroll IMO. NEVER waste picks. Like everyone else I wanted a defenseman with our high 2nd rounder.

    • Derzie

      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.

      • piscera.infada

        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.

        • Discosis

          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…

          • playastation

            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

          • EugeneV

            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

          • EugeneV

            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

          • EugeneV

            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.

          • 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!

          • 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.”

          • Discosis

            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.

      • EugeneV

        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.

  • McRib

    “The pick was surprising to me for two reasons… two because I had McDonald as my 4th ranked goalie behind Thatcher Demko, Alex Nedeljkovic and (Ville Husso).”

    After watching Leland Irving struggle immensely in the NHL thanks to a very below average 6’0″ frame, after a very solid WHL career. Or watcing us easily beat San Jose’s backup Alex Stalock last year live. I am surprised NHL teams are even drafting goalies like Alex Nedeljkovic/Ville Husso anymore (outside of 6-7 rounders). Give me a high upside 6’4″ goalie any day over someone that small. Not to be cruel, but the days of NHL starting goalies under 6’2″ are long gone. Alex Nedeljkovic was also a very mediocre performer at the Top Prospects game for me, whereas Mason McDonald stood on his head.

    I think this is a pick where the scouting community is recognizing that a lot of these high end busts were goalies playing in great situations on good teams and now they are starting to scout off fundamentals to build on rather than (Wins-Losses, GAA, SV%). Lets put it this way Carey Price lost 31 Games his draft year. Tuukka Rask had a GAA of 4.46 and SV% of 0.875 his draft year.

    It’s funny Thatcher Demko reminds me a lot of Al Montoya a few years ago, at the time everyone lost their minds because he was the “youngest player in the NCAA” putting up great numbers. While ignoring the fact that he was playing on a loaded team (see Boston College Roster). All credit to Al Montoya he seems to have resurrected his career as a decent backup, but his draft year is still to this day the best year of Hockey he ever played.

  • smith

    re: the draft. I think if you have the chance to get your number 1 guy at a position you do it in a heartbeat. All this talk about goalies being voodoo and that not many playing for teams that drafted them says more about gm’s being impatient during development as opposed to drafting them in the wrong spot.

    • DoubleDIon

      Except that goalie’s are voodoo. Look at where each teams starters were drafted. Then look at where their 1st line center or top winger was drafted. You’ll see what I’m talking about.

      • supra steve

        You can draft a player that develops into a starter late in the draft, that’s true, but you need to get very lucky. I was surprised to see the Flames take a tender that early, but at least they got their “pick of the litter”.

        Over the 10 year span of drafts 1997-2006, the top goalies chosen were (in order):

        Luongo

        Desrochers

        Finey

        DiPietro

        Leclaire

        Lehtonen

        Fleury

        Montoya

        Price

        Bernier

        There is still risk when taking the first goaltender, but following this 10 year sample, if McDonald has a 50% chance of being a quality starter, that is not necessarily a horrible pick.

        A lot of 2nd round D-men don’t end up as NHL regulars either, so was the risk as big as a lot of you are claiming?

        • seve927

          A lot of 2nd round D-men don’t end up as NHL regulars either, so was the risk as big as a lot of you are claiming?

          But that’s exactly why. It is so hard to build depth of NHL defensemen. They don’t all turn out. So DRAFT MORE OF THEM! Don’t waste picks on a goalie that you only need one of.

          • supra steve

            The Flames do need to build a stronger D for the future, very true. But at the draft they are looking for quality assets. If they end up with an extra NHL goaltender (or any position of surplus), then you trade for needs. You’ve heard “draft the best player available”, right? They reportedly had 2 or 3 skaters in mind for that #34 pick, but the guys they wanted were taken in picks 31-33, and the back-up plan was to take McDonald.

            By the way, none of those picks (#31-33) were D-men, so you weren’t getting one either way at that pick.

          • seve927

            Not an unreasonable argument. But I definitely see it differently. I just wouldn’t have a goalie anywhere that high on my list.

            But now it’s go McDonald go!

        • flamesburn89

          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?

          • supra steve

            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.

  • mattyc

    It will be interesting to see if the Flames go after another d man. Their top 4 is OK, assuming Wideman comes back and plays the way he did before he got injured. But I think it will be an adventure having Smid and Engelland as a third pairing.

    • supra steve

      Will be interesting to see how Hartley pairs up the defenders.

      Using the LA model where for each pair they match up a skill D (Doughty, Voynov, Martinez) with a heavy D (Muzzin, Regehr, Mitchell, Greene), Calgary’s pairings might look something like this.

      Giordano / Brodie – 1st pair no-brainer.

      Russell / Engelland – 2nd pairing

      Smid / Wideman – 3rd pairing

      Wotherspoon

      If so this means Engelland will definitely have that opportunity to “grow” as he’s never been given that level of responsibility or coaches’ support in the past.

      However perhaps that’s also part of the master plan for this coming year…Eichel, McDavid …?

      • Engelland won’t be a 2nd pairing defender unless the Flames are horribly injured or trying to tank purposely. I mean, Wideman had a bad season last year, but he’s not “worse than Deryk Engelland” bad yet.

        • mattyc

          @Stubblejumper

          Fearless Prediction: A Rookie D-man (probably Wotherspoon) overtakes Engelland’s spot in the top 6 before the end of the upcoming 2014-2015 season.

        • flamesburn89

          Appreciate your thoughts Kent…having a little fun with the pairings but some seriousness too.

          Both Wideman and Engelland are the only right shooters.

          Matching our lightest and least physical defenders in the 3-4 slots, and leaving our heaviest and slowest defenders to play together in the 5-6 slots….does not make a lot of sense. It’s also a recipe for burning your top 4 out (or incurring injury) over the course of the season as the 5-6 pairing would get minimal minutes.

          Matching a heavy with a skill would make more sense…but the pairings are not that palatable I agree. And playing Engelland and Wideman together as “righties” would not be a good option.

          So these simple logistics will see Smid and Wideman OR Russell and Engelland pairings for your 3-4 and 5-6 in whatever order Hartley wants to choose.

          The combinations would change a little with Wotherspoon inserted into the line-up, likely seeing either Smid or Engelland sitting depending on the team matching up against.

      • DoubleDIon

        I would be absolutely shocked in Engelland plays ahead of Smid. Even Wideman. Engelland is as bad defensively as Wideman and doesn’t bring any offense. Room to grow for Engelland means he becomes a 3rd pairing defender instead of a 7th defender.

        That was such a weird comment by BT. Since when do 32 year old players grow into something different than they are? Maybe he becomes a bit better version of a 7th defenseman, but it’s not like he’s suddenly going to morph into the #3 guy we needed.

        • piscera.infada

          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.

      • DoubleDIon

        Gardiner please, Franson is Dennis Wideman. Gardiner would be a nice #3 I think. It would make me forget all about Gilbert and Fayne. I hate it when the Oilers get something right, Fayne would have been good here at that price.

      • DoubleDIon

        More likely Franson, but I’d love Gardiner here at the right price. “The right price” is the rub, though. I might be willing to give up more for him than some people, but I’m not about to overpay for him either.

  • I’m on board with what appears to be a sustained rebuild strategy for next year….get bigger/heavier, continue to develop the young talent either with the Flames or AHL, draft McDavid/Eichel!

    Finishing in the standings a few slots higher does not do anything for the Flames franchise at this early point of rebuild. Developing your talent and continue to instill a culture of hard work is more critical. The wins will come as the talent level develops and improves and selective players trades are executed in due course.

    Clearly with the transactions of the last few days and development stage of the young kids it is inevitable the Flames will be in a position to draft high in next years coveted draft. Gaining an elite player of ‘Sidney Crosby’ status is an opportunity they cannot miss while staying on track for a serious run at the playoffs in a few short years is within reach.

    Patience is still required!

  • Jeff Lebowski

    Dave Tippett quote:

    “We had a player that was supposed to be a great, shut-down defenseman. He was supposedly the be-all, end-all of defensemen. But when you did a 10-game analysis of him, you found out he was defending all the time because he can’t move the puck.

    “Then we had another guy, who supposedly couldn’t defend a lick. Well, he was defending only 20 percent of the time because he’s making good plays out of our end. He may not be the strongest defender, but he’s only doing it 20 percent of the time. So the equation works out better the other way. I ended up trading the other defenseman.”
    http://www.defendingbigd.com/2012/4/13/2941077/dave-tippett-defense-mark-fistric-matt-niskanen

    BT how could you let this happen? You know better! I still believe in you BT. I get it, you gotta prove yourself a little before you tell Brian “1950’s” Burke to STFU.

      • piscera.infada

        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…

  • beloch

    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.

    • Christian Roatis

      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.

      • beloch

        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.

        • supra steve

          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.

  • EugeneV

    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.

  • 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.

    • SmellOfVictory

      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.

  • 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?

  • BurningSensation

    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.

    • supra steve

      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?

    • 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

      • BurningSensation

        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).

  • McRib

    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.

  • BurningSensation

    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.

  • EugeneV

    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.

    • Parallex

      “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.