The Journey examines Dobber’s top prospect goaltenders list and assesses the fast risers in the November rankings.
Juuse Saros – Nashville Predators – 8th Overall up from 26th Overall
Fantasy owners have been anxiously awaiting Saros getting an NHL opportunity in Nashville after teasing with tremendous numbers both in Liiga and the American Hockey League.
In 48 AHL starts over the past two seasons, Saros has a 38-9 record, allowing just over two goals per game. He has taken his play to another level for the Milwaukee Admirals this season with a 9-1 record, a razor-thin 1.59 goals against average and a .945 save percentage.
’s play to start the year was shaky, but he seems to have righted the ship over the last few weeks, as the team has played better as a whole. Saros was called up for the third time this season on Thursday, and looks to be in line to make a start during the next week, as the team is in a stretch of three games over the next five days.
Thatcher Demko – Vancouver Canucks – 17th Overall up from 24th Overall
After a stellar three-year career at Boston College, Demko turned professional prior to this season. Up to this point, the rookie goaltender has been splitting starts for Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Utica with veteran .
It appears that Demko has been starting to gain some traction as he has played to a 3-0 record over the last two weeks in four games, allowing just nine goals and stopping pucks at a 93% clip. Overall, the former second round pick has featured in eight games on the young season, with a 3.08 goals against average and a .893 save percentage.
Demko is one of the most important pieces to Vancouver’s uncertain future in net, even if he is a couple years away from being an NHL goaltender. is an unrestricted free agent and a retirement candidate following this season, and Jakob Markstrom, who signed a three-year contract prior to this season has yet to play a full season as an NHL starter.
Eric Comrie – Winnipeg Jets – 18th Overall up from 33rd Overall
Winnipeg’s goaltending prospects for the future are solid with and Eric Comrie in the pipeline. Hellebuyck is the team’s starter moving forward, and , signed through the 2017-18 season, is likely to serve as the team’s backup. This should give Comrie time to develop into an NHL level goaltender in the American Hockey League and push for a roster spot in the future.
Comrie has improved from his first professional season in 2015-16 where he played in 46 games, winning just 10 for a poor Utica team. This season, Comrie has lowered his goals against average from 3.12 a season ago to 2.31 through 10 games in 2016-17. Likewise, his save percentage has also improved from .907% to .925%. The young goaltender is going to see a lot of rubber this year, as he is averaging 31 shots against per game when he has been in the net this season.
Nick Ellis – Edmonton Oilers – 20th Overall up from 36th Overall
Unlike the players above him on this list, Ellis was an undrafted college free agent, who signed with the Edmonton Oilers following a solid junior season at Providence College.
Ellis’s strong play has continued in his first professional season with the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors appearing in six games, giving up more than three goals just once. In his five starts, the Maryland native has averaged 33.4 saves per contest, allowing just 13 goals.
With holding down the top spot in net with the Oilers and as a short-term backup option, Ellis will battle head to head with fellow prospect Laurent Brossoit to gain control of the backup spot in Edmonton over the next couple seasons.
Charlie Lindgren – Montreal Canadiens – 39th Overall up from 60th Overall
Another undrafted college free agent, who started two seasons at St. Cloud State, has shined in the AHL this season after signing a professional contract prior to 2016-17.
Lindgren has started 11 games for the St. John’s IceCaps this season, winning eight, and putting up solid goals against (2.18) and save percentage (.934%) numbers. He has not allowed more than more than three goals in any game he has started this season, and has allowed two or fewer in 6 of his 11 starts.
is likely to remain in Montreal for the future assuming the club can sign him prior to the summer of 2018. However, Lindgren does possess the talent to be an NHL level goaltender with continued growth, one who can eventually spell Price at times and lower his workload. The Canadiens have had a bit of a revolving door of backups for Price, so finding one who can stick on a low salary will continue to be a priority.
Give Kevin a follow @kleblanchockey for NHL prospect talk and happenings.
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