The Current State of Predators Goaltending

Justin Goldman

2010-08-30

Dek

 

Another season has come and gone, and so too has another quality goaltender from the city of Nashville. With Dan Ellis ready to start the next chapter of his career in Tampa Bay, the current state of Predators goaltending sees a wide open door for Mark Dekanich or Chet Pickard to walk through in an attempt to jump-start their NHL career. The team's well-nourished goalie life cycle simply continues to thrive in perfect balance and harmony.

 

Backed by spectacular coaching and consulting from Mitch Korn, dissecting Nashville's depth chart comes with much clarity. Let it be known that Korn is considered one of the most effective teachers of all time. His ability to give each goalie – regardless of age or stage in their development – an arsenal of mental and technical tools before a season begins constantly produces positive results. Tomas Vokoun, Chris Mason, Ellis, Pekka Rinne…all very different goalies, all very successful in their own way.

 

As of today, the onus is currently on former Colgate goaltender Dekanich to come to training camp prepared to secure the backup role and begin his NHL career. Follow his Twitter feed at @dexshow and look at just how hard he's working in the weight room this summer. The guy is an iron-pumping machine and he's fully committed to winning the job. He knows there are no guarantees and his tweets are great insight to the sheer work ethic a goalie must have if they want to break into the NHL.

 

That being said, if simplicity continues to be the staple of Predators goaltending, having Dekanich fill the open void behind Rinne makes perfect sense. Not only is Dekanich a good fit for that 20-game backup role, it also allows Pickard to establish himself as a true AHL workhorse and gives Anders Lindback a place to play in North America, a job which he is certainly ready for.

 

The trickle-down effect that comes from this training camp is also crucial for the futures of Jeremy Smith and Atte Engren. Smith and Lindback will most likely duel for the backup role in Milwaukee, while the loser heads to the ECHL. Engren is slated to stay in Finland with TPS Turku for another season to defend his championship. Dissecting which goalie ends up where is not as clear as the Dekanich-Pickard duel, but our gut says "look out" for Lindback. Smith might be more deserving of the AHL gig, but it's impossible to pass up what Lindback could bring to the organization in regards to long-term success. He's barely scratched the surface of his potential and this is why he will probably be playing in North America this year. He can hang and thrive in the AHL.

 

As you all know, I love to see teams instill confidence in their prospects by showing faith in their ability to take that next step, regardless of age or experience. A team never knows what they have until they unleash a goalie's power across the league. And in that regard, Nashville is in a special place, for they could create this positive tone with more than one of their prospects.

 

1. Being a bigger goalie, Pekka Rinne takes away a majority of the net. What do you see as his greatest strengths and weaknesses?

Rinne's strengths are his quickness, mobility,