Evaluating Four “Top Prospect” Goaltenders

Dobber Sports

2012-02-02

 

Matthew Moore

 

Thanks to the NHL Network, I was able to evaluate the four goalies playing in the CHL Top Prospects game on Wednesday night.  When scouting 17 and 18-year old goaltenders, projecting their future keeper or dynasty fantasy value may seem a little frivolous, but there is still so much to learn about their long-term potential and upside.

 

 

From my perspective, I'm less concerned with situation, and more concerned with technique, as I'mlooking for traits that reflect the body language of a future workhorse starter. Some of those elements include patience in frantic situations, controlled movements on fast-developing plays and on rebound opportunities, a relaxed demeanor, and more. So below I've done some comparing and contrasting of the four goalies to help you pick the best of the bunch!

 

Chris Driedger: Currently ranked 12th among North American goaltenders by NHL Central Scouting, Driedger displays a very calm demeanor in the net, and he moves with good balance due to a low center of gravity. He has very little excess movement, and is the most minimalistic and economical of the four. His game is very simple;he doesn't waste any excess energy, he stays in good position, and he shows elements of durability by quietly letting the puck, and the play, come to him.

 

Because of this demeanor, he should rank higher than most draft-eligible goalies on your fantasy league scale. I know Driedger has been through a total whirlwind since he was invited to perform in the two-day Research and Development back in August, but the experience he has gained will pay off in the future. He wasn't even supposed to play in this game, but earned the invitation when Malcolm Subban was ruled out due to injury.

 

Furthermore, he's getting hot at just the right time; he went a perfect 6-0 in January for the Calgary Hitmen, posting a miniscule 1.29 goals-against average and .954 save percentage along the way. He won't carry the same type of hype as an Andrei Vasilevski or a Subban, but due to his quiet and poised nature in the net, he's certainly worth watching.

 

Brandon Whitney: Whitney was the most active, energetic, and explosive goaltender of the group. He's down early on a lot of sequences, butterfly sliding to either side, then recovering quickly back to his skates. Compared to Driedger, there was a ton of "excess up and down" movements as well. I also noticed a lot of movements where he would lose an angle due to an over-anticipated slide, but had the quickness to recover without making any mistakes.

 

Whitney was tested on a more consistent basis in the first half compared to Driedger, but he moved very well, had a lot of energy, and overall, a terrific presence in the net. The short-side goal (blocker side) he allowed in the second period was one he'll want back, but it was a nice seeing-eye shot off the half-boards from d-man Griffin Reinhart.

 

Although I'm going off just one game, I think Whitney gets drafted sooner than expected. He's a tall drink of water at 6-foot-5, and has a very good goalie coach in Daniel Frechette, the same coach that turned David Honzik from a ball of clay into a Vancouver Canucks prospect in just one season. Every NHL team will see Whitney as a valuable pick because he has the juicy combination of size and speed, and he's playing against very good talent in the QMJHL.

 

Like Driedger, Brandon may not as highly touted as the potential first-round picks in Vasilevski and Subban, but when it comes to locating that hidden gem for your dynasty or keeper league, he's worth watching. It's only February, but he has already tied the Victoriaville record for wins as a rookie (20) with none other than Daniel Manzato.

 

Francois Tremblay: Earned a lot of experience and exposure last season by playing 26 games in the QMJHL (5-10-4 with a 3.91 GAA and .869 SV%) as a 16-year-old. Tremblay, a native of Baie-Comeau, has the advantage of playing more than the other three goalies this season. Although he wasn't over-worked in his 30 min