Should the Calgary Flames select a goaltender at the 2024 NHL Draft?

Photo credit:Natalie Shaver/OHL Images
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
There’s a saying around the hockey world that goes a little something like this: if you don’t have goaltending, you don’t have much. Of all of the components of a hockey club, having a strong goaltender is probably the most important piece of the puzzle.
However, within the scouting community there’s a bit of hesitation regarding taking goaltenders early in the annual NHL Draft. After all, goaltenders can have a turbulent development path and the position is possibly the toughest one to understand the nuances of.
When it comes to drafting goaltenders, the Calgary Flames have had a challenging history. This past season, Dustin Wolf played 17 games, becoming the first goalie drafted and developed by the Flames to play that many games for the club since Joni Ortio suited up for 22 games in 2014-15. (Before Ortio, the previous homegrown goaltender to play 17 or more in a game was Trevor Kidd, in 1996-97.) They’ve selected four goalies in the first round, with only Kidd becoming an NHL regular (with any NHL team).
You could argue that the Flames are due to find a gem in the draft eventually. Some would argue that they’ve already found a gem in Wolf, their seventh-rounder in 2019, but that doesn’t mean they’ll stop looking.
And while it seems unlikely that the Flames will take a goaltender in the first or second round this year – you’re all quite disappointed, we’re sure – we wouldn’t be shocked if the Flames used one of their eight picks in the first four rounds to nab a netminder.
Here are five goalies that could strike their fancy.

Carter George – Owen Sound Attack (OHL)

Ranked 71st on Steven Ellis’ May rankings over at Daily Faceoff, George had a really strong 2023-24 campaign for Owen Sound. He was Canada’s top goaltender at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and back-stopped them to a gold medal in the summer. He finished his season by leading Canada to gold at the Under-18 World Championships, too. In-between, he played well enough to be named to the OHL’s All-Rookie Team, their third All-Star Team, and be named their Scholastic Player of the Year.
He’s not a massive player – listed at 6’1″ and 185 pounds – but as a May 2006 birthday he’s pretty young, and he’s really only played a single OHL season so there’s still likely a lot of growth to be found in his game.

Marcus Gidlöf – Leksands IF (J20 Nationell)

Ranked 80th on Ellis’ May rankings, Gidlöf is listed at 6’6″ and 212 pounds, and he’s one of the older players in his class as a September 2005 birthday. He had a monster year, playing 26 games in Sweden’s top junior league and led his circuit in both save percentage and goals against average.
This season was arguably a breakout year for Gidlöf, and in part because of his decent but unspectacular numbers at lower levels and Sweden’s well-earned reputation as a nation with tons of strong goaltenders, he hasn’t gotten many high-end international reps yet.

Ryerson Leenders – Mississauga Steelheads (OHL)

Leenders was ranked 78th in Ellis’ May rankings. He had a really good year in the OHL, posting a league-leading .909 save percentage over 46 games in the OHL. Like George, he played for Canada at both the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and the Under-18 World Championships. But he was a depth goalie in both of those tournaments, playing behind George, and so he didn’t have quite as many opportunities to show his quality against his peer group.

Eemil Vinni – JoKP (Mestis)

A Finnish product, Vinni played this past season in the second-tier Mestis, on a loan from HIFK, in Finland’s top-tier league. He played pretty well, posting an .892 save percentage across 37 games, good for 14th in that league. He was Finland’s third-string goalie at the World Juniors, too.
He’s a December 2005 birthday, so he’s on the older side of the 2024 draft class, and he played at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and the Under-18 World Championships last year. (His numbers weren’t spectacular.) He’s the top-ranked international goaltender on Central Scouting’s rankings this season.

Mikhail Yegorov – Omaha Lancers (USHL)

Yegorov’s a unique case. He’s 6’4″ and 187 pounds, and this was his first season in North America after playing to this point in Russia. He posted an .892 save percentage over 43 games in the United States Hockey League, which ranked his 17th in that league. (He was 29th in goals against average.) Since he’s a Russian player, he hasn’t gotten any reps in international competition against his peer group over the past few seasons. He’s committed to Boston University for 2025-26, so presumably he’s (a) going back to the USHL for next season and (b) a bit of a longer-term project.
Should the Flames select a netminder at this year’s draft? Which one? Let us know in the comments!

Check out these posts...