The Calgary Flames have had success drafting goalies in the later rounds

Photo credit:Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds
Ryan Pike
10 months ago
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The Calgary Flames have had challenges drafting goalies early in the NHL Draft. But the opposite is also true: they’ve had a good amount of success drafting goalies later on in the annual proceedings.
As such, it’s probably reasonable to think that they’ll look at taking a goalie late in the 2023 edition of the draft.

A recent history of later goaltender picks

  • 2000 – Levente Szuper, 116th overall
  • 2002 – Curtis McElhinney, 176th overall
  • 2004 – Jimmy Spratt, 214th overall
  • 2005 – Kevin Lalande, 128th overall
  • 2005 – Matt Keetley, 158th overall
  • 2009 – Joni Ortio, 171st overall
  • 2011 – Laurent Brossoit, 164th overall
  • 2019 – Dustin Wolf, 214th overall
  • 2021 – Arsenii Sergeev, 205th overall
Of this group, McElhinney played 249 NHL games (and won two Stanley Cups), Brossoit has played 117 games (and won a Stanley Cup), and Keetley, Ortio and Wolf also got NHL games in – and Wolf seems a good bet to get even more games in.
The Flames’ late-round goaltending picks averaged 7.7 games with the Flames (or 45 NHL games overall), compared with the early-round goalie selections, who averaged 3.5 games with the Flames (or 7 NHL games overall).
Even without discounting for how much later they were drafted, the later-round goalie picks were of much higher value.

Goalies the Flames could draft outside the top 100

The Flames have three picks later in this year’s draft, in the fourth, sixth and seventh rounds.
Here are some potential later-round goalie picks, defined as netminders ranked by FC Hockey later than 100.
Riley Mercer, Drummondville (QMJHL)
The younger brother of New Jersey’s Dawson Mercer, Riley Mercer is ranked 122nd overall by FC Hockey. He was passed over in the 2022 NHL Draft after a fairly meh draft eligible campaign, but he performed well in 2022-23 for the Voltigeurs and really boosted his draft stock.
Ian Blomquist, Vasteras IK (HockeyAllsvenskan)
Eligible for selection this season for the third time, Blomquist spent most of this past season in Sweden’s second division and performed well, earning FC Hockey’s 138th overall rank. He was also named to Sweden’s World Junior team this season, but he was their third goaltender and didn’t get into any games.
Charlie Robertson, North Bay (OHL)
A first-time eligible netminder, Robertson is ranked 147th by FC Hockey. He was North Bay’s backup in 2022-23 and performed well, and he’s got a reliable veteran starter in Winnipeg prospect Domenic DiVincentiis that can help bring him along. Moreso than some of the others listed here, selecting Robertson would be betting more on his potential than on what he’s shown so far.
Tomas Suchanek, Tri-City (WHL)
A Czechia import, Suchanek is a third-time eligible player for this year’s draft. But he had a monster year, performing well for Tri-City in his second North American season and back-stopping Czechia to a silver medal at the World Juniors. He’s already 20 and whoever drafts him will need to figure out a pro plan for him fairly quickly, but his body of work in 2022-23 was quite strong. He’s ranked 162nd by FC Hockey.
Thomas Milic, Seattle (WHL)
Another third-time eligible player, Milic now has a pair of full WHL seasons under his belt – and he back-stopped the Thunderbirds to a pair of championship series appearances, winning once. Ranked 173rd by FC Hockey, Milic helped Canada capture gold at the World Juniors and was the WHL’s leader in most goaltending categories. He’s only listed at 6’0″, though, which may scare teams off a bit.

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