Evaluating the 2011 Goalie Class

Justin Goldman

2011-06-27

Mahalak

 

The 2011 NHL Entry Draft came to a close on Saturday with 19 goaltenders being selected by 17 total teams. After three goalies were selected in both the second and third round, seven were chosen in the sixth round and four more were snagged in the seventh round.

 

When I finally get to the point where I have absorbed how the draft went down for the individual goalies, I love to reflect on trends. And probably the first trend that will come to many people's minds is size. Would teams keep drafting big, or might we see a few smaller goalies selected?

 

As it turned out, things clearly stayed status quo. Only three goalies under 6-foot-2 were drafted – Christopher Gibson at 6-foot-1, Adam Wilcox at 6-foot-0 and the most puzzling pick of them all, the 5-foot-11 Steffen Soberg.

 

In regards to no goalies being drafted in the first round, the trend of "drafting late" was clearly reinforced as well. It just goes to show that it doesn't matter when you're taken, but what you do afterwards that counts. I am excited to see, however, that all three goalies I discussed last Monday were still selected.

 

Three goalies were listed at 6-foot-5, including Magnus Hellberg, Samu Perhonen and Nathan Lieuwen. No goalies came in at 6-foot-4, but six are listed at 6-foot-3. That includes John Gibson, David Honzik, Jason Kasdorf, Laurent Brossoit, Lars Volden and the Petteri Simila of 2011 – Johan Mattsson.

 

That leaves seven goalies to file in at 6-foot-2. That included St. Louis' two new goalies, Jordan Binnington and Niklas Lundstrom, The similar-sounding Matt Mahalak and Stephen Michalek, then Frans Tuohimaa, Anton Forsberg and the Guelph Storm's Garret Sparks.

 

In regards to nationality, we had five goalies selected from the USA, four from both Canada and Sweden, three from Finland, two from Norway and one from the Czech Republic.  This is great news for Norway, as both Volden and Soberg were selected from a country that is unfortunately regarded as a barren wasteland in the goalie world.

 

After size and nationality, it's time to get into the fun stuff – potential fantasy value.  And for any draftee, the main area to dissect is opportunity in relation to their team's depth and volume. Right away, three teams with weak depth – St. Louis, Buffalo and Carolina – opened the door for four goalies to establish a bright presence in their system.

 

Binnington has probably benefitted the most from joining the Blues, as they are relatively dry behind Jake Allen.

 

Still just 17 years old, by the time Jordan turns pro, Ben Bishop should be a full-time NHL'er and so too could Allen. Jaroslav Halak's contract would be coming to an end as well. So for a goalie that showed me so much poise and composure in the Memorial Cup Tournament, he should be quite the prized prospect in two more seasons.

 

I don't know much about Niklas Lundstrom, but I do know he is a well-regarded prospect for Sweden's AIK program. He has a good frame at 6-foot-2 and AIK is known around the goalie world for developing (and signing) very good goaltenders. He also posted the best GAA (2.14) in the U-18 World Juniors and won a Silver Medal for Sweden.

 

Next you have the Carolina Hurricanes getti