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Ottawa Senators Draft Profiles: Goalies

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Which netminders could the Sens potentially target on the 2018 draft floor?

Canada v Czech Republic: Semifinals - 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship
Jakub Skarek is widely viewed as the draft’s top goalie prospect.
Photo by Kevin Hoffman/Getty Images

The need for goaltending prospects has been a bit of a barren situation for the Ottawa Senators ever since they lost both Ben Bishop and Robin Lehner. With no one having yet found consistent success at the AHL level, the Sens recently traded for Filip Gustavsson, who was named the top goalie at the World Junior Championships.

Now would seem like a good season for Ottawa to jump on a top goalie prospect, although unfortunately for them, the 2018 goalie class appears to be a weak one. In fact, it would be completely reasonable to expect the first goalie of the draft to get taken in the third round, something that hasn’t happened since 1986.

Here at Silver Seven, we like to do things a bit differently. Of the five goalies profiled below, we’ll covering who we think are some of the most interesting goalies, no matter where they stand in the consensus rankings. Some barely scrape by on the CSS rankings, although with drafting goalies having so much variance, we believe that these five players could all provide good value in a team’s prospect pool.

Also, since we haven’t talked about goalie evaluation yet, here’s a little bit from our prospect gurus Colin Cudmore and Ary Maharaj.

Colin:

To be blatantly honest, my goalie judgement is suffering. I believe that unlike forwards or defencemen, goalie is a position where you can only access so much knowledge by having experience putting on the gear. There’s so much variance with goaltending talent, that usually I mix reports from more knowledgable writers with raw save percentage to pick out potentially interesting players.

While there definitely is an advantage to being a tall goalie, I don’t follow the notion that a goalie needs to be above 6’2” or they’re undraftable (a philosophy that a surprising amount of teams still abide by). The NHL is chock full of medium-sized goalies, who gain their advantage from strong positioning and athleticism. While I’m not very good at picking out those talents, those are things I look for in the research process.

Ary:

It’s extremely hard to evaluate goaltenders. I’ve been reading a lot of InGoal Media, following their staff on Twitter, and learning from the insights of folks like Cat Silverman and Nick Mercadante in order to try to improve on this front. We’ve gotten a bit better at evaluating the play of NHL goaltenders beyond just save percentage, but we really feel the inadequacy of statistical information at the junior levels here.

Currently, I try to look at raw save percentage and shots against, and ignore statistics like wins and goals against average in order to try and sort out who’s worth drafting — usually just a handful of goaltenders every year. Size helps, but I think its advantage is overstated here. Goaltenders playing against men, which is the case for some of the folks we’ll be profiling below, definitely helps, even if their statistics take a tumble.

Jared Moe

Player Pronman Morreale Kournianos Placzek NHL Central Scouting
Player Pronman Morreale Kournianos Placzek NHL Central Scouting
Jared Moe NR (10) NR (10) NR (10) 15 10 (NA)

And so we begin with the obscure goalies. Jared Moe, a 6’3” goalie hailing from Minnesota, was the 10th highest rated North American goalie by NHL Central Scouting. Players ranked in that position historically have around a 55% chance of getting drafted, so there’s a decent chance he gets picked up in a later round.

Moe, who spent the past season playing for the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL, put up a .919 save percentage, the 2nd highest amongst U19 goalies. Playing for a team with plenty of talented forwards including our previously profiled Jack Drury, Moe helped the Black Hawks to a 1st place league finish, plus a trip to the semifinals where he put up a .933 save percentage with two shutouts in six games.

Moe is an overager, although his birthday is close to the cutoff, approximately two months behind. He didn’t get as much traction last season as he was still playing high school hockey, even though he put up impressive numbers while winning 22 of his 28 starts. Now that he’s made the jump to the USHL, and is committed to the University of Minnesota for next season, the rankings have finally begun to rise.

Highlights

Justus Annunen

Player Pronman Morreale Kournianos Placzek NHL Central Scouting
Player Pronman Morreale Kournianos Placzek NHL Central Scouting
Justus Annunen 7 2 6 5 4 (Euro)

At 6-foot-4, 217 pounds, Annunen is one of the larger goaltenders on this list. He’s seen a big year-to-year progression, going from Finland’s Junior B league in 2016-17 (30 GP, 0.926 save percentage ranking fifth among all starters) to Junior A (26 GP, 0.907 save percentage). Annunen even managed to suit up for one Liiga game with Kärpät, where he’s expected to get more minutes next season. Although his league-wide numbers don’t look great in Junior A, Annunen was one of only three U18 starting goaltenders this season, and his save percentage tops his peer group. He stepped up significantly in the playoffs, where he had 0.935 sv% in 12 games, and for his efforts, he was named both the league’s best goaltender and to the first all-star team.

Annunen’s international experience, especially for a nation well-known for developing goaltenders, stands out to me. He started for Finland’s gold medal winning squad at the Ivan Hlinka this past summer, and played six of the team’s seven games at the U18s. Comparatively speaking, goaltenders take a while to develop, and Finnish goaltenders in particular seem to stay over in Europe than apply to the CHL Import Draft. Any team that drafts Annunen should expect another two seasons in Finland at minimum before he moves over to the AHL.

Jesper Myrenberg

Player Pronman Morreale Kournianos Placzek NHL Central Scouting
Player Pronman Morreale Kournianos Placzek NHL Central Scouting
Jesper Myrenberg NR (10) NR (10) NR (10) NR (19) 15 (Euro)

Ranked as the 15th European goalie by CSS, the probability of Myrenberg getting drafted is pretty slim. Yet, for someone with his size and stats, he’s the perfect type of goalie who could slip in right around the end of the draft. Belonging to the Linköping HC organization and playing for their U20 team in SuperElit, he posted a .922 save percentage, the top in his division and second best league-wide amongst U19 players (bested by 2017 pick Olle Eriksson Ek).

At 6’2”, Myrenberg is right around the average height for a goalie, with still room to grow, especially filling out his frame. He reads plays well and still has work to do on his rebound control, although overall I believe Myrenberg has the potential to be the one-that-got-away in the late stages of the draft.

Highlights

Roman Durny

Player Pronman Morreale Kournianos Placzek NHL Central Scouting
Player Pronman Morreale Kournianos Placzek NHL Central Scouting
Roman Durny NR (10) NR (10) NR (10) NR (19) 9 (NA)

Durny is by far the biggest wild card on this list. It’s easy to see him not getting drafted at all, but I think there are aspects of his game that’s worth taking a chance on over some of the other goaltenders profiled by scouting services.

Born in May 1998, Durny has been passed over twice already, but recently capped off his best professional season. You may remember him as the goaltender of record for Slovakia’s upset win over the United States at the World Juniors, where Durny won the one award that Sens goaltender Filip Gustavsson didn’t win: best save percentage (0.929%). In his first year of draft eligibility, Durny was Slovakia’s starter at the U18s, and led all U18 goaltenders in starts in the country’s top U20 league — finishing in a tie for third in save percentage among the seven starters. Much like the USDP has a group that plays in the USHL, Slovakia has a group that plays in the U20 league. Thus, in 2016-17, Durny played there and was named to the team’s World Juniors squad, but didn’t make a start.

This past season, Durny split his time between Slovakia’s U20 team and the Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL, where his 0.920 save percentage ranked sixth among starters and was a strong performance for a goaltender playing on three different ice surfaces this season. At 6-foot-1, 209 pounds, Durny has decent size, and more importantly, has strong positioning. He faces over 30 shots a game regularly, and showed poise at the USHL level in navigating his crease. It’s not often that one small sample can change a career, but Durny’s hoping that it happens for him.

Highlights

Jakub Skarek

Player Pronman Morreale Kournianos Placzek NHL Central Scouting
Player Pronman Morreale Kournianos Placzek NHL Central Scouting
Jakub Skarek 3 7 1 6 2 (Euro)

Widely viewed as the draft’s top goalie, Skarek was ranked second behind Lukas Dostal for the top European goalies by CSS. Other mock drafts have had him as the top goalie taken, usually in the 40-70 range. The Czech netminder, who spent the season in the Czech leagues and representing his country at the World Juniors, has been near the top of this goalie class for a while.

Skarek is categorized as a butterfly goalie, and has been dominating the Czech leagues as a teenager for seasons. Amongst goalies with 20+ games, this is how Skarek’s fared in each of his last four seasons:

Jakub Skarek Sv%

Season League GP Sv% Rank (20+ GP)
Season League GP Sv% Rank (20+ GP)
2014-15 Czech U16 36 0.937 5th
2015-16 Czech2 20 0.931 2nd
2016-17 Czech2 28 0.925 7th
2017-18 Czech 21 0.913 12th

For a player his age, it’s pretty impressive considering he’s been playing against professional players for three seasons. He even skipped the U18 and U20 leagues, going right from U16 to the second tier pros. He brought his team, HC Dukla Jihlava, into the tier 1 league through promotion in 2016-17. The franchise’s success was short-lived, however, as they were relegated back to tier 2 this season. Next year, Skarek plans to transfer to a more competitive pro league, signing a two-year contract in the Liiga with the Pelicans, with a third year option.

At 6’3” and 196 lbs, size has never been an issue for Skarek. What’s dropped him down the rankings a bit has been his international play, where he put up an .848 save percentage at the World Juniors. Considering the difference in competition between best-on-best international play and the Czech league, it’s raised some skepticism amongst scouts.

If the Sens are keen on getting a top goalie prospect, this is one player who they should be targeting.

Highlights


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