Dallas Stars Pick Colton Point Talks Draft, Development
Waiting to hear your name called on the second day of the NHL draft is a nerve-wracking experience for most NHL prospects. Colton Point, who ended up being selected in the fifth round, was just as calm as he is on the ice.
Originally ranked by NHL Central Scouting as the fourth-best North American goaltender, Point slipped a bit further than expected. The Dallas Stars were the team that eventually selected him, 128th overall. To say that he didn’t have any nervous moments at all would be a lie, but looking at how far he has come in the last year – getting drafted in any round would be the perfect ending to a dream season.
“I fell a bit on the second day,” Point recalled. “It was a bit stressful, but I’m happy where I ended up. The only person from Dallas that I talked to before the draft was Mike Valley. I met him at the World Junior tryouts, so it was kind of a surprise when they picked me.”
At 6-foot-4, Point had a combination of size and skill that could only be rivalled by Evan Fitzpatrick in the entire draft class. He led the junior ‘A’ Carleton Place Canadians of the CCHL to a third-straight Fred Page Cup championship, picking up playoff MVP honours along the way.
With all of the success, Point was suddenly in unfamiliar territory; He was a highly touted prospect for the fist time in his career. As a bit of a late-bloomer, he fell to the 14th round pick in the 2014 OHL draft, eventually being selected by the Erie Otters. He hadn’t even played junior-level hockey full time until joining the Canadians in 2015.
“When Central Scouting ranked me fourth, I was sitting in chemistry class,” Point remembers. “I was writing a test, and I could feel my phone going off in my pocket. I took a bathroom break, and that’s when I saw the list. I thought there was no way I was actually that high. I kept refreshing it, and I was still there. It was unbelievable.”
After receiving a scholarship offer from Colgate University earlier in the year, it was hard for him to fathom that it could possibly get even better. That Central Scouting ranking was just the beginning of a hectic few months that concluded with him putting on a Dallas Stars sweater at the draft.
The Canadians unfortunately did not end up winning the RBC Cup, as planned, but he didn’t let that taint an otherwise brilliant season. Tired and battling through injuries after 90+ games to get into the tournament – it just wasn’t meant to be.
Point prefers to focus on the other high points of the season, like his experience with Team Canada at the World Junior A Challenge, or when he was named to the CJHL East top prospects team. At the latter event, he was able to shut down the trio of BCHL first-rounders Tyson Jost, Dante Fabbro, and Dennis Cholowski. CJHL East were outshot 44-19, and won a tightly contested 3-1 game. Point picked up co-MVP honours alongside fellow goaltender Michael Botiz of the Oakville Blades.
It was a well-earned MVP award, because holding Penticton Vees’ forward Tyson Jost off the scoresheet is not an easy task.
“He scored two goals on me in the Canada East vs Canada West game,” Point said about Jost, who was drafted 10th overall by the Colorado Avalanche. “He’s probably one of the best talents I’ve seen in the CJHL. He’s got an NHL shot. A lot of guys don’t realize that it’s not about how hard you shoot, it’s about how you shoot the puck. He’s got that release, and it puts you behind the eight-ball because it’s hard to read. You don’t know where he’s going.”
Point credits a lot of his success to his personal goalie coach, Michael Lawrence of PRO Goaltending, and Carleton Place Canadians goalie coach Eli Rassi. Technical changes occur constantly throughout the season, but he feels that the mental side of his game is where he has improved the most in the last year – thanks to Rassi.
“I feel like we took major strides in the in-game mental part of my game,” Point said, speaking highly of his coach. “Eli showed me that there are some things you can’t control, and that’s really where my game turned around. I don’t think I ever used to get shaken up after giving up a goal, but Eli helped bring it to another level. It’s nice to have somebody that you can talk to and bounce ideas off.”
One of those ideas, in terms of his technical game, was to bring the position of his blocker hand lower. It’s something that Point had been toying with before, but with Rassi’s guidance, he was able to integrate it into his game.
Point says it helped him cut pucks off sooner, and allowed him to see the puck better.
“I wanted to do it one way, and he showed me another way that would help me reach the low shots better. I usually like to keep my hands more relaxed beside me, but Eli told me to just bring them forward a little bit. I ended up being more mobile with my hands, and didn’t fight blocker side shots as much.”
Part of the blocker-side fix was the realization that he was pulling away from shots to that side, rather than keeping his hands out in front.
“I fought a lot of blocker-side shots throughout the season, and that’s because I was pulling myself sideways instead of coming down into the puck. I would get some funky rebounds bouncing out weird. Now that I hold them out front a bit more, it gives me more control over where I put the rebound. Now I’m on top of it so much, I can push a rebound all the way into the bench!”
With that issue ironed out, he’ll spend the rest of his summer at Dallas Stars’ development camp, then in Toronto at Michael Lawrence’s elite goaltending camp. Aside from the feedback he will receive from Stars’ coaching staff members Jeff Reese and Mike Valley, his main focus will be footwork. As a bigger goaltender, he wants to make it as clean and efficient as possible before heading to Colgate next season.
Don’t be surprised to see him in some new gear soon, as well. After the RBC Cup, he stopped using his trademark Carleton Place-coloured Reebok XLTs and switched to a demo set of the new Bauer OD1Ns.
“I’m most likely going to Bauer next season. I’m wearing a demo set of OD1N, and I really like them so far. It’s a huge difference. I switched to a pad with no breaks in my major bantam year, and I never looked back. I like really stiff gear. You get that nice triangle at the front in the butterfly, and pucks just die in there.”
After that, it will be just enough time to rest for a month until school starts. He won’t need a major in his first year, but he plans on studying Environmental Biology at Colgate – who bumped up his scholarship by a year.
Juliano Pagliero Colgate’s goaltending coach, will be the man in charge of his development while he’s in school. Pagliero’s coaching style is similar to Rassi’s, which should help ease the transition. The NCAA schedule allows for more practice time, and fewer games – which is perfect for Point’s development.
It may take a handful of years, but don’t be surprised if Colton Point emerges from Colgate as the most exciting Dallas Stars goaltender since the last one they drafted in the fifth round.
A man by the name of Marty Turco.