Best Goaltender: Mads Søgaard (76%)
Runners Up: Filip Gustavsson (19%), Leevi Merilainen (4%)
After Jake Sanderson took home the crown for Best Defender, out of a crop of strong candidates, we move on to the goaltenders, and the decision was clear-cut. With the highest margin of any prospect, Mads Søgaard took the vote with a whopping 76%, largely because he was arguably the only one who met the minimum standard for any kind of award being given out to a netminder.
Yeah, it’s safe to say that this season wasn’t a great one for the Sens’ young goalies. Thank Alfie for Anton Forsberg.
Søgaard, a 6’7 goaltender from Denmark, was the 37th overall pick of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft — Ottawa valued him enough to use a third-rounder to move up from #44 and add to a position that was lacking a high-end prospect beyond Filip Gustavsson at the time. After some time with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers and the Metal Liagen’s Esbjerg Energy, he joined the Belleville Senators full-time.
To close out the 2020-21 season, Søgaard posted a 7-0-0 record and a .917 save percentage with Belleville, which served to inspire a great deal of confidence in his game moving forward. Although his 19-14-1 record and .908 save percentage this year are a step down from the year before, it was undoubtedly a successful campaign for a first-year pro in North America.
He impressed the staff enough to earn his first two NHL starts, the first of which was a roaring success, as he stopped 27 of 29 in a 5-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on April 1st.
On top of that, his first career victory was also enough to steal the iconic bike helmet and sunglasses away from Mathieu Joseph and his hat-trick that night.
Søgaard will likely start next year as Belleville’s number-one goalie, with Gustavsson on a one-way contract and eligible for waivers, and the former will need to continue to work on preventing those low-danger shot attempts (such as the first goal against from that Detroit game) from getting through his massive frame in order to become consistent enough to be a full-time NHL goaltender 2-3 years down the road, and then get traded for Cory Conacher and a 4th-round pick (kidding, hopefully!).