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Massive Day For Goalies at the 2015 NHL Draft

Massive Day For Goalies at the 2015 NHL Draft

The first day of the 2015 NHL entry draft only saw one goaltender selected, and while it was more than expected, it was still a tad underwhelming. Most of the attention was placed on the flurry of trades that was taking place. Teams would make up for it in a big way by selecting 23 goalies on day two.

In total, 4 goaltenders were selected from the CHL, 4 from the USHL, 4 from the NAHL, 2 from US high schools, and 10 from international clubs.

Of the international selections, surprisingly, only one Finnish goaltender was taken. Markus Ruusu was picked by Dallas 163rd overall, and was the only goaltender that kept the Finns from being completely shut out in 2015. Four goaltenders would be taken from the Czech Republic, who are quickly becoming a force in the goaltending world.

Ilya Samsonov was taken 22nd overall by the Washington Capitals to become the highest selected goaltender in this year’s draft. He was touted to go somewhere in the 20-25 range, but there was word that some teams could have been scared off due to the fact that he has a three year contract in the KHL. The Capitals were not concerned, as they took the young Russian with their first pick of the draft.

Samsonov was previewed in our “Top 5 Eligible Goaltenders for the 2015 Draft” post earlier this month:

His glove hand may be the best out of the entire draft class in 2015, and he regularly breaks out flashy windmill saves during games. His ability to successfully play an aggressive style is what puts him at the top of the class this year. He could be taught to reel his game back a bit, but that explosiveness will always be there – and that is what teams are excited about.

Read the rest of the report here.

Unsurprisingly, Mackenzie Blackwood was the second goaltender taken off the board. He was the consensus top ranked North American goaltender, and the New Jersey Devils were able to claim him at the 42nd overall spot in the 2nd round. The big 6-foot-4 netminder was a rock for the Barrie Colts this past season, and he should be an easy goaltender to develop in the Devils’ system – who have had their struggles bringing along new goalies.

Blackwood was also previewed in our “Top 5 Eligible Goaltenders” post earlier this month:

Blackwood is exceptionally good at recovering to a standing position, or staying on his skates when the situation calls for it. With a frame that large, he’s an intimidating figure for shooters to come down on when he’s standing up. He’s not a typical “blocking” goaltender. He’s very smart about when he goes down into the butterfly, and it gives his positioning a sense of maturity beyond his years.

Read the rest of the report here.

The third round was loaded with goaltending talent, seeing six of them come off the board in a span of only 20 selections. The Flyers would take the enigma of the draft, Felix Sandstrom, with the 70th overall selection. He missed a lot of time with various injuries and illnesses, so a lot of scouts missed out on watching him play, but the Flyers saw enough to make him the third highest goaltender taken at the draft.

Sandstrom was also included in our preview:

He’s an average sized goalie, but he fills the net well. He knows how to stay within himself, and it keeps him from being out of position very often. It’s rare to see an erratic movement from Sandström. He’s smooth, moves well, reads the play tremendously, and doesn’t have very many noticeable areas of concern. He does everything so well for a goaltender his age that it almost makes him harder to gauge because of it.

The rest of the report is located here.

The Boston Bruins would round out the selection of goaltenders that were considered “top tier” by scouts by selecting Daniel Vladar with the 75th overall pick. Vladar hails from the Czech Republic, and boasted the largest wingspan of the draft combine. He clocked in at 6-foot-6 and ¼ when measured, tied for the tallest goaltender in the draft.

Here’s how his preview looked:

Vladar is very tall and wirey, but still manages to be a humongous figure in the net. His movements look almost Pekka Rinne-like, as a tall figure with a lot of movement in the crease. Just when it looks like he’s being too aggressive, he’ll make a save only because he plays that way. He is very strong and effective with his movements and can seal the ice quickly for a big guy, but he’s not very economical. A lot of holes appear when he moves laterally, which will hopefully subside once he fills out a little bit.

Check out the rest of the report here.

Adin Hill, the top ranked WHL goaltender, would then be selected by the Arizona Coyotes at 76th overall and was followed immediately by Samuel Montembeault, the first goalie taken from the QMJHL, at 77th overall by the Florida Panthers. Hill is a large figure in goal, but has been scouted as being a bit slow to react at times. He led the WHL in save percentage as a rookie, but looks to be taking a long path to the NHL, if he gets there. Montembeault’s stock has been steadily rising over the course of the year, and he brings a nice combination of size and athleticism that Panthers fans should get excited about.

Mike Robinson, a product of Lawrence Academy (High School in New England), was taken 86th overall by the San Jose Sharks, then the Flyers would take their second goalie of the draft Matej Tomek with the 90th overall selection to finish the third round. Tomek starred in the NAHL for Topeka and is committed to play next season at the University of North Dakota.

While the Capitals are likely receiving the best goaltender in the draft, Samsonov’s signing in North America is not a guarantee. It’s a high-risk, high-reward situation, but they have benefited from that in the past.

The Devils have the surest bet in the draft with Mackenzie Blackwood, but their inability to develop homegrown netminders for the last two decades is a concern. Having Martin Brodeur that entire time helped cover those shortcomings, but now it is more important than ever that the team begins to develop their own talent in goal. They can take it slow because he’s still at least 3-4 years away from the NHL – but it begins with Blackwood.

The Philadelphia Flyers have the potential make out like bandits in this draft, taking two hard-to-read goalies in Sandstrom and Tomek. Sandstrom performed well in the little action that he saw in 2014-2015, but he wasn’t able to greatly increase his stock, which was the perfect scenario for the Flyers. He could end up being the steal of the draft.

The NAHL is a quality league, but Tomek was absolutely dominating his competition. That made him difficult for scouts to read, but a connection with new Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol may have been the key difference in grabbing him before other teams were able to. Hakstol recruited Tomek for the University of North Dakota before leaving his position there to join the Flyers.

The entire list of goaltenders taken at the 2015 NHL entry draft can be found here.

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 with the Junior 'A' Hamilton Red Wings, before moving to Vancouver to cover the Canucks on the radio and work with the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL. A lifelong goaltender, he has been teaching the position for over a decade.

1 Comment

  1. Conrad

    #amazing goalies #hockey4life