When it comes to drafting goalies, there is no exact science to predict the development of an 18 year old netminder. In fact, it seems more good luck than good management when looking behind the mask.
Of the top 60 goalies in terms of wins in the NHL this past season, there were more drafted 150th or later (or undrafted) than were first round picks. Thirteen goalies were first round picks while 21 were late picks.
|Goalie||Draft #||Year||G taken before|
Obviously there are goalies who have come and gone in the years between Khabibulin and Lehner, but it stands to reason that longevity is a factor and the fact is, a goalie in drafted in the first round stands a better chance of not making it than making it. Not that the same doesn’t hold true for other position players, but it seems like taking a goalie in the first round is an incredible gamble.
Less than half of the goalies taken in the first round between 1992 and 2009 (20 of 43) played any significant NHL time and even fewer were impact goalies. I would provide a number but it would be purely subjective as to what constitutes an “impact goalie”.
|YR||Goalies in 1st Rd||Signif Playing Time|
However, it could be getting better. Between 2002 and 2006, 9 of 14 first round goalies have had significant playing time. Still, it is a guessing game rather than an exact science, no matter what the scouting community would have you believe.
This year, there is only one goalie, Zachary Fucale from the Halifax Mooseheads, who is a consensus first round pick. Does the past history of goaltending question marks mean that his stock might drop and he would be taken later than he should? Or does it mean that since he is a consensus first round pick that he is clearly the best goalie available and thus his stock might rise.
We will find out this afternoon.