17. Mads Søgaard (Reader Rank: 16, Last Year: NR)
The Great Dane™ enters the T25U25 list for the first time since being drafted by the Senators in 2019. At 20 years old, Søgaard has a wide array of experience under his belt. Playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers in junior, he posted a 0.908 SV%, leading the Tigers to a 21-13-2 record. With the WHL in question this past season, he joined Esbjerg Energy in Denmark’s top league, putting up a 0.922 SV% through 16 games played before jumping to Belleville, following the end of his season in Denmark.
It was when he jumped to the AHL that he caught the eyes of many. I genuinely don’t believe he’d be as high in our rankings as he was if not for his seven game stint with the BSens. While the 6’7” goaltender between the pipes, the BSens were undefeated, recording a 7-0-0 record. His 0.917 SV % and 2.40 GAA ranked him fifth and third, respectively, for rookie goaltenders who started at least 5 games.
What’s most impressive about Søgaard is his athleticism for a player his size. Last week, Scott Wheeler did his annual prospect rankings, including a piece on the top 10 NHL goalie prospects. Ranking Søgaard ninth, Wheeler specifically points out his movement and powerful pushes, which enable him to get his large body in front of many shots, while being able to get in and out of his butterfly with ease. With some consistency in question - nothing that can’t be worked out in Belleville this year - Wheeler believes Søgaard’s ceiling is high.
This season will be interesting for Søgaard, to say the least, as he’s a member of a well documented crowded goaltending pipeline in Ottawa. Søgaard will be battling in camp with Matt Murray, Anton Forsberg, Filip Gustavsson and Kevin Mandolese. Of course, the first two names will almost certainly start the year in Ottawa, while Søgaard, Gustavsson and Mandolese are set to compete for a spot in the crease in Belleville. If it weren’t for his strong play in a small stint last season, I would have assumed Søgaard would be the odd man out here but I think, at the end of the day, Mandolese will be the one spending more time in Atlanta, Ottawa’s new ECHL affiliate.
Playing in Belleville with Gustavsson is a very intriguing opportunity for Søgaard. With Gustavsson being so close to the NHL in the minds of many, a call up to Ottawa - because of play, injury or otherwise - feels quite certain, meaning Søgaard has a decent shot at starting the most games of any goaltender for the BSens this season. With his large frame and athleticism, Søgaard has every opportunity to skyrocket up the depth chart for his position.
All eyes will be on Belleville, with fingers crossed that Søgaard’s seven game audition at the end of last season was no fluke.