Prospects Pulse, Part III

Justin Goldman

2011-07-25

Anderson

 

Over the past week, the goaltending scene centered around two teams – Detroit and Buffalo. It started last Tuesday when Chris Osgood, who finished off his career with 401 wins and three Stanley Cups, announced his retirement. Then on Wednesday, Detroit signed Ty Conklin, who promptly replaced Osgood as Jimmy Howard's new backup.

 

A day after Osgood retired, Patrick Lalime followed suit. And so did the Sabres in terms of replacing him, as they finally signed Jhonas Enroth to a new two-year deal.

 

 

I evaluated Enroth's upcoming season and then found out that the Red Wings had re-signed Jordan Pearce to a new contract as well. In three consecutive days, three different goalies in Detroit made headlines.

 

I closed out the week with the release of my new premium feature, the NHL Team Rankings. This feature evaluates and ranks goaltending depth for each NHL organization, from top to bottom. It includes a painstaking process of creating four individual rankings, and then weighing those separate rankings together to create one master ranking.

 

Be sure to pull up my explanation of the rankings as you go through it, and please keep in mind I rank organizational depth, not just the NHL goalies. I've also posted a considerable amount of insight on how the rankings are compiled in the School of Block forums.

 

For all you long-term prospects lovers, I have compiled a list of the draft-eligible goaltenders from NHL Central Scouting's preliminary Futures List, which was given to all 30 NHL teams back on May 30. Although this is just a basic listing for now, I plan on developing this into some kind of new feature by the start of the new season.

 

Enjoy the third installment of our Prospects Pulse series and check back next Monday for Part IV!

 

NASHVILLE: With the loss of Mark Dekanich, the starting role in Milwaukee will most likely be claimed by Jeremy Smith, which leaves Atte Engren and the much-maligned Chet Pickard to fight for the backup role.

 

Smith certainly proved he could handle the role by filling in admirably (no pun intended) for an injured Dekanich. In 28 regular-season games, Jeremy went 16-8-2 with a .921 save percentage and 2.26 goals-against average. Those are clearly impressive numbers for an AHL rookie that only stands 6-foot-0 and 170 pounds.

 

Smith was even better in the playoffs, posting a .931 SP% and 2.28 GAA through two rounds. He was amazing in a Game 6 double-OT win at home against the Texas Stars in the opening round, then took Milwaukee all the way to a Game 7 against Houston, but lost 4-2. It was a grueling series that saw Games 4, 5 and 6 all end in overtime.

 

That being said, one of either Engren or Pickard will ultimately end up in the ECHL. It would be much better for the Predators if Pickard can re-establish himself as an AHL goalie, but that remains to be seen. Engren is fine making the more gradual adjustment from playing in the SM-liiga to starting his first full season in North America in the ECHL.

 

But Engren is a very skilled prospect and has been ranked accordingly for almost two years. In f