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High Riser: David Tendeck’s Superb Season Causes Draft Stock Surge

High Riser: David Tendeck’s Superb Season Causes Draft Stock Surge

There weren’t many draft lists at the start of the 2017-18 hockey season that included David Tendeck’s name (including our very own). He was coming off a difficult rookie season in which he posted an .856 save percentage in 22 games on a non-playoff Vancouver Giants team. The Giants decision to deal incumbent starter Ryan Kubic and name Tendeck the starting goaltender at the beginning of the season came as a shock to all across the league.

Clearly the team saw something in him that many others did not, and the decision has paid off. After leading the Giants back to the playoffs, Tendeck is now in position to become the first goaltender drafted out of their system since Tyson Sexsmith in 2007. His .912 save percentage in 48 games was good enough for 9th-best in the entire WHL. To put that in perspective, a Giants starting goaltender has had a .912 save percentage or higher only three other times in the franchise’s history – Sexsmith in 2006-07, Dustin Slade in 2005-06, and Aaron Sorochan in 2003-04.

Tempering Expectations

Tendeck currently ranks 8th on the latest NHL Central Scouting list for North American goaltenders. He has an excellent 6-foot-2 frame, and catches wrong-handed (or as others would put it, full right) which does nothing for his draft stock – it’s just kinda cool.

What hurts his stock is a lack of consistency over time. His numbers certainly weren’t helped by the run-and-gun style of his team, but most scouts and goalie analysts would be more confident in his ability if he was able to do it over a longer period of time. Even his 48-game campaign this year was riddled with inconsistency. He had a very strong stretch from late-January until the end of February, but aside from that, he struggled to put up strong numbers from one game to the next. Tendeck finished with a sub-.900 save percentage in 19 games in 2017-18 – or roughly 40% of his appearances. Couple that with an early first-round playoff exit (although he was battling an injury) and that’s enough to make a few decision-makers nervous.

Style Analysis

Tendeck can be best described as a read-and-react type of goaltender. The aforementioned run-and-gun style of the Giants led to a number of defensive breakdowns. His ability to read tough plays before they developed was the only thing that saved him on a lot of occasions.

He is very adept at closing off the lower portion of the net, and his edgework, especially when down in the butterfly, is quite excellent. That creates a trickle-down issue with his game, though. Because of this ability, he is sometimes too reliant on pushing from the butterfly. This hurts him in situations when he would have been better off staying on his feet and holding his edges.

He is very adept at closing off the lower portion of the net, and his edgework, especially when down in the butterfly, is quite excellent.

Heavy reverse-VH usage, like most young goaltenders, is also a bit of a concern in his technical game. Tendeck’s issue is not only using RVH in inappropriate situations, but he is also a staunch skate-on-post user. He has great control and strength when moving from the post, but issues sealing the post completely have come back to bite him on more than a few occasions.

Tendeck is also a staunch skate-on-post [reverse-VH] user. He has great control and strength when moving from the post, but issues sealing the post completely have come back to bite him on more than a few occasions.

As mentioned above, the ability to read plays is a very important area of his game. He is normally smart about making aggressive moves out at shooters – but needs to work on his recovery when he does make a poor read. Plays tend to spiral out of control at an alarming rate the moment his poor read is exposed. If he misses his spot moving back to his post, look out. It’s scramble city. His hands are very good and can compensate for some of these mistakes at the junior level, but won’t fly in the professional game.

It will be interesting to watch how Tendeck develops. If he can adapt and continue to refine his game, he has the technical ability and athleticism to become an impact player. The question marks surrounding his game are only there because he is not a high-ticket name and has not been under the scouting spotlight for very long.

The tantalizing aspects of Tendeck’s game far outweigh the concerns about consistency, and he most definitely should be hearing his name called at some point during the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.

About The Author

Greg Balloch

Greg Balloch is a Vancouver-based writer for InGoal Magazine, broadcaster for Sportsnet 650, and goaltending coach. His career began in Hamilton, Ontario as the voice of the Junior 'A' Hamilton Red Wings, before moving to Vancouver to cover the Canucks on the radio. A lifelong goaltender, he has been teaching the position for over a decade.

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