It’s been often said that goaltenders are voodoo. Compared to the other positions in hockey, goaltending is a mystery. The development is nowhere close to linear and often the best goaltenders are found outside the NHL Draft – or buried in the late rounds.
As we’ve documented, the goaltender drafting history of the Calgary Flames is riddled with netminders that didn’t really pan out – especially when they were taken in the early rounds of the draft. It probably shouldn’t surprise you that two trends have emerged over the past few years of the draft.
- Teams aren’t drafting very many goaltenders early in the draft.
- The teams that are drafting goalies early in the draft aren’t getting a heck of a lot of NHL games out of them.
The general outcome of these two trends is that teams are avoiding taking goalies early on – especially in the first round – and are more and more taking them later on, where the relative risk of them not panning out is theoretically closer to that of skaters not panning out.
Goalies taken in first three rounds (2012-16)
Players are listed with draft position and NHL regular season games played.
|2012||Andrey Vasilevskiy (19th to TB, 208)
Malcolm Subban (24th to BOS, 45)
|Oscar Dansk (31th to CBJ, 4)
Anthony Stolarz (45th to PHI, 25)
|Joonas Korpisalo (62th to CBJ, 90)
Daniel Altschuller (69th to CAR, 0)
Jon Gillies (75th to CGY, 12)
Chris Driedger (76th to OTT, 3)
Matt Murray (83th to PIT, 161)
Frederik Andersen (87th to ANA, 317)
|2013||nobody||Zachary Fucale (36th to MTL, 0)
Tristan Jarry (44th to PIT, 29)
Philippe Desrosiers (54th to DAL, 0)
Eric Comrie (59th to WPG, 5)
|Spencer Martin (63th to COL, 3)
Eamon McAdam (70th to NYI, 0)
Marcus Hogberg (78th to OTT, 4)
|2014||nobody||Mason McDonald (34th to CGY, 0)
Thatcher Demko (36th to VAN, 10)
Alex Nedeljkovic (37th to CAR, 2)
Vitek Vanecek (39th to WSH, 0)
Brandon Halverson (59th to NYR, 0)
|Jonas Johansson (61th to BUF, 0)
Elvis Merzlikins (76th to CBJ, 0)
Ilya Sorokin (78th to NYI, 0)
|2015||Ilya Samsonov (22th to WSH, 0)||MacKenzie Blackwood (42th to NJD, 23)||Felix Sandstrom (70th to PHI, 0)
Daniel Vladar (75th to BOS, 0)
Adin Hill (76th to ARZ, 17)
Sam Montembault (77th to FLA, 11)
Mike Robinson (86th to SJS, 0)
Matej Tomek (90th to PHI, 0)
|2016||nobody||Carter Hart (48th to PHI, 31)
Tyler Parsons (54th to CGY, 0)
Filip Gustavsson (55th to PIT, 0)
Evan Fitzpatrick (59th to STL, 0)
|Joseph Woll (62th to TOR, 0)
Jack LaFontaine (75th to CAR, 0)
Wouter Peeters (83th to CHI, 0)
Connor Ingram (88th to TBL, 0)
While it’s too early to judge the 2017 and 2018 drafts, only one goaltender was taken in the first round in either of those events – Jake Oettinger in 2017 by Dallas.
For the curious, the most NHL regular season games played by the goaltenders in the 2012-17 Drafts:
- 2012: Frederik Andersen, drafted 88th overall (317)
- 2013: Juuse Saros, 99th overall (79)
- 2014: Thatcher Demko, 36th overall (10)
- 2015: MacKenzie Blackwood, 43rd overall (23)
- 2016: Carter Hart, 48th overall (31)