The Vantaa Vulture is Lurking

Justin Goldman




I’m the first to admit that there’s no real argument to make against the lack of prized goalies available in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. But since it is my sworn duty to help you uncover some of the lesser-known goalies that are draft-eligible and thus capable of transforming into fantasy gold in three or four years, I’ll at least die trying.


So forget the fact that most scouting services lack a goalie in the “Top 30” rankings because there are still a number of quality goalies out there that have what it takes to be chosen in the first two rounds. And we have the goalie factories known as Finland and Sweden to thank for this. The European influence, albeit not as strong as past seasons, is once again primed to make a mark on pro hockey in North America for 2009-2010.

We also have to consider the significant notion that most quality NHL goalies are actually drafted in later rounds and in some cases, not even drafted at all. During my research, I uncovered what has to be the best breakdown of goalies taken in the Entry Draft and their subsequent careers. This is a must-read for just about every single fantasy fan out there because it preaches the important lesson of patience for GM’s at the Draft. Read the two-part series right here .

So once the North American goalies like Matt Hackett and Olivier Roy are chosen, where does it go from there? Well, when you consider how much attention Jonas Gustavsson has received over the last month, it’s no wonder this week’s School of Block session is dedicated to his arch nemesis and combatant from Finland, Mikko Koskinen.

You’ll understand my nickname “The Vantaa Vulture” as soon as you see an action shot or video of him. It seriously looks as if he possesses the wing span of a behemoth vulture with a hyperactive pituitary gland. Koskinen lurks over his opponents at 6-foot-7 and covers the net with quick, telescoping legs and arms that reach from here to Istanbul.

Packaged nicely with his size is a set of solid fundamentals and great positioning that any goalie of his stature would love to have. But the downside is his weight, which I’ve found to be listed anywhere between 181 – 187 pounds (too many sources to list). So filling out that frame is the next major step to take when it comes time to cross the ocean. Otherwise he will have to deal with a lot more of this:


But before you go labeling him for the second or third round, however, let’s all remember the story of Ben Bishop. An absolute monstrous goalie with an excellent three-year collegiate career at Maine, Bishop was dr