THE GOALIE OF THE FUTURE: WHERE IN HELL IS HE?

Lowetide
August 16 2014 07:48PM

brossoit ferguson 2

This is Laurent Brossoit. The Edmonton Oilers traded an NHL defenseman to get him -- does that mean he's the future in goal in Northern Alberta? The team spending 33% of their 2014 draft picks on goalies suggests the answer is "maybe not" or "too soon to tell" for the famous former Oil King. Who IS the future in goal?

Goalies? Who understands them? Who can possibly identify the good ones from the crappy ones? Hell if I know. I've always felt teams should spend their picks after No. 100—picking in the first round is no guarantee—but what happens if you do that for five years and no one emerges? We are here.

OILERS' PROSPECTS IN THE AHL

Name   GP   GAA   SP
Frans Tuohimaa
1
1.85
.950
Tyler Bunz
5
3.63
.901
Laurent Brossoit
8
3.60
.888

Tuohimaa played one game, stopped 38 of 40 shots and won the game. Bunz should be stepping up here (second year of his entry-level deal) but the Barons gave him less than four hours in the net. Brossoit didn't do enough to hang around long, and to be honest, Ty Rimmer (3GP, 2.65 .930) looked better than any of them.

OILERS' PROSPECTS IN THE ECHL

Name
GP
GAA SP
Laurent Brossoit
35
2.14
.923
Tyler Bunz
13
2.55
.903
Chet Pickard
21
3.25
.875

Brossoit performed very well in the ECHL, and logic dictates he should be the No. 2 goalie in 2014-15 for the Oklahoma City Barons.

speeds guy tweet

The Columbus Blue Jackets have quality goaltending and didn't sign Martin Ouellette. He has been the starter in Maine for two seasons and delivered save percentages in the .920.

GUY FLAMING

  • Not long ago the Columbus Blue Jackets were desperate for crease depth in their organization but now, apparently, they're confident enough in what they have to let a quality goalie walk for nothing. Martin Ouellette was a Hobey Baker nominee (and a leading vote getter from fans) thanks to his stellar play for the Maine Black Bears. The 6'2, 190 lbs netminder posted two strong seasons as the starter for the Black Bears on what were average teams.  

Source

It's probably nothing. But if you wake up tomorrow and find out the Oilers have signed Martin Ouellette, it's probably a good thing.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#101 Zarny
August 18 2014, 09:41AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

One other thing about this: calling Fleury "elite" is indicative of the problem.

Fleury is an average starting goalie but his draft position is so high that he is treated like a star.

He has single-handedly lost the Pens playoff series' in the past and he is paid $5M while there are goalies around the league posting similar results for much less.

Same goes for Ward. He has been in the NHL 9 years and posted a Sv% over .916 once.

Here is the thing...my list of "top goalies" drafted late or undrafted included maybes as well. Namely Ben Scrivens, Brian Elliot, Jonas Hiller and Jaroslav Halak.

Scrivens and Elliot have literally accomplished nothing. Many if not most seasons Hiller and Halak have been average for a starting G at best. They certainly don't have a Stanley Cup ring and 6 seasons with 35+ wins like Fleury.

Since any list of "top players" is subjective I wanted to be as generous as possible for both lists.

The point remains the same. Whatever your definition of a top goalie is the overwhelming majority are drafted in the first 3 rounds. You can whittle the list of top goalies drafted late or undrafted down to only Miller, Lundqvist and Rinne real quick.

And the fact remains that if you never draft a top G prospect in the first 3 rounds (or once in last decade) your odds of getting 70-80% of the top G is exactly 0.

And while it's possible to obtain one of the top G not drafted in the first 3 rounds you have to compete against everyone with equal odds and it costs a fortune. You almost never get them on a value contract which in a cap era is important for every position.

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#102 Zarny
August 18 2014, 11:22AM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

But the point is 22 times, smartest minds in the NHL (allegedly) made goaltenders first round picks between 2000 and 2010 and 73% of the time they came up snake eyes. And Zarny I do realize there are busts among D and F, there is no getting around it, they are for the most part 18 year old kids. It happens. I am just saying the chances of picking a dud are far less if you stick with skaters.

As you have pointed out, there are many examples of goaltenders taken outside of the first round who are among the best at their craft. In my mind the 2nd or 3rd round is a more reasonable spot to gamble than in the 1st.

As a GM, why would you make a suckers bet like that, when you can grab what is much more likely to be an impact player in that draft position? Certainly, if you hit, the Carey Prices of the world are pieces to build around. However, it is 3 times more likely you are going to get a DiPietro or a Pogge. That decimates teams and ends GM's careers.

Sorry, barring a mortal lock - if one actually exists - the numbers strongly suggest choosing goaltenders in round one is a Fool's Paradise.

I had stated that the majority of top G were drafted in the first 3 rounds so I don't have a problem with shying away from using a 1st round pick on a G. Especially a top 10 pick.

My point remains that since Dubnyk, the Oilers have only drafted a G in the first 3 rounds once when the facts show the overwhelming majority of top G are drafted in the first 3 rounds. It's an organizational failure and akin to intentionally choosing to not fish where 70-80% of the big fish are caught when you are after big fish.

I don't necessarily agree that drafting a G in the 1st round is the suckers bet you characterize. You might want to double check your numbers.

Between 2000 and 2010 I counted only 24 G drafted in the 1st round. Justin Pogge was not among them. He was drafted in the 3rd round not the 1st.

From that list of 1st rounders Lehtonen, Ward, Fleury, Schneider, Price, Rask, Bernier and Varlamov were clearly not duds and we'll see about Jack Campbell.

I think it's a bit dubious to throw DiPietro, Dubnyk and Leclaire in the same category as say Brent Krahn or Dan Blackburn. For arguments sake though I'll give you those 3 and without counting Campbell (which at this point is fair) that's 16 misses and a failure rate of 66.7% for G drafted in the 1st round.

Here is the thing...the failure rate for F and D drafted in the 1st round is over 40% by almost every analysis done and that includes characterizing players like David Steckel, Boyd Gordon and Mark Fistric as successes.

If you toss out players like Steckel, Gordon and Fistric who have had a modicum of success like DiPietro and Dubnyk the failure rate for F and D in the first round is ~ 50% or slightly higher. That't not much better than 66.7%.

If you break it down even further most of the G drafted in the 1st round were not top 10 picks. Over half were 15-30th where the failure rates for F and D is closer to 55-60%.

I think the numbers certainly show a lower success rate for G in the 1st round compared to F and D but characterizing it as a sucker's bet is a stretch. Especially when you get to picks 15-30 where the success rate for F and D is only marginally higher than G.

And it does nothing to excuse completely ignoring G in rounds 2 and 3 other than Samu Perhonen.

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#103 The Soup Fascist
August 18 2014, 01:11PM
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Zarny wrote:

I had stated that the majority of top G were drafted in the first 3 rounds so I don't have a problem with shying away from using a 1st round pick on a G. Especially a top 10 pick.

My point remains that since Dubnyk, the Oilers have only drafted a G in the first 3 rounds once when the facts show the overwhelming majority of top G are drafted in the first 3 rounds. It's an organizational failure and akin to intentionally choosing to not fish where 70-80% of the big fish are caught when you are after big fish.

I don't necessarily agree that drafting a G in the 1st round is the suckers bet you characterize. You might want to double check your numbers.

Between 2000 and 2010 I counted only 24 G drafted in the 1st round. Justin Pogge was not among them. He was drafted in the 3rd round not the 1st.

From that list of 1st rounders Lehtonen, Ward, Fleury, Schneider, Price, Rask, Bernier and Varlamov were clearly not duds and we'll see about Jack Campbell.

I think it's a bit dubious to throw DiPietro, Dubnyk and Leclaire in the same category as say Brent Krahn or Dan Blackburn. For arguments sake though I'll give you those 3 and without counting Campbell (which at this point is fair) that's 16 misses and a failure rate of 66.7% for G drafted in the 1st round.

Here is the thing...the failure rate for F and D drafted in the 1st round is over 40% by almost every analysis done and that includes characterizing players like David Steckel, Boyd Gordon and Mark Fistric as successes.

If you toss out players like Steckel, Gordon and Fistric who have had a modicum of success like DiPietro and Dubnyk the failure rate for F and D in the first round is ~ 50% or slightly higher. That't not much better than 66.7%.

If you break it down even further most of the G drafted in the 1st round were not top 10 picks. Over half were 15-30th where the failure rates for F and D is closer to 55-60%.

I think the numbers certainly show a lower success rate for G in the 1st round compared to F and D but characterizing it as a sucker's bet is a stretch. Especially when you get to picks 15-30 where the success rate for F and D is only marginally higher than G.

And it does nothing to excuse completely ignoring G in rounds 2 and 3 other than Samu Perhonen.

Sorry, I had in my head that Justin Pogge was a first rounder. He should not have been included in my list of first round busts. My bad.

In terms of guys like Gordon / Fistric, etc just because they do not put up points does not mean they are not effective NHLers. Games played means someone thinks they have value as an NHLer. So many of those tenders in the 1st round played 0 - 50 NHL games.

Where I think we have common ground is rounds 2 or 3. I have much less concern drafting a goaltender there, compared to round 1. I just think given the time to develop goalies there is so much more opportunity for things to go off the rails.

I would have been fine with the Oilers taking a Comrie / Fucale / Jarry (maybe?) in 2013 or a Demko last year as second round picks.

I just think taking a goalie in the first round is a needless risk. The fact that only two goalies have been taken in the first round over the last 4 years - that is 2/120 players - it could reasonably be interpreted as an indication that NHL GM's agree with me.

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#104 TigerUnderGlass
August 18 2014, 01:21PM
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Zarny wrote:

Here is the thing...my list of "top goalies" drafted late or undrafted included maybes as well. Namely Ben Scrivens, Brian Elliot, Jonas Hiller and Jaroslav Halak.

Scrivens and Elliot have literally accomplished nothing. Many if not most seasons Hiller and Halak have been average for a starting G at best. They certainly don't have a Stanley Cup ring and 6 seasons with 35+ wins like Fleury.

Since any list of "top players" is subjective I wanted to be as generous as possible for both lists.

The point remains the same. Whatever your definition of a top goalie is the overwhelming majority are drafted in the first 3 rounds. You can whittle the list of top goalies drafted late or undrafted down to only Miller, Lundqvist and Rinne real quick.

And the fact remains that if you never draft a top G prospect in the first 3 rounds (or once in last decade) your odds of getting 70-80% of the top G is exactly 0.

And while it's possible to obtain one of the top G not drafted in the first 3 rounds you have to compete against everyone with equal odds and it costs a fortune. You almost never get them on a value contract which in a cap era is important for every position.

Hiller, Scrivens, and Halak are much more proven than guys who have played 15 NHL games total.

The truth of the matter is that there are are most 5 or 6 "elite" goalies in the NHL. Maybe as few as 3.

The difference between the #7 goalie in the NHL and the number 25 goalie in the NHL is something like 8 goals over a season.

If I can have the #15 goalie for 3M because he went in the 6th round while you have the #9 goalie for 6.5M because he went #8 overall then I win.

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#105 TigerUnderGlass
August 18 2014, 01:57PM
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@Zarny

Interestingly the Oilers have drafted in the early rounds just as much as a team like Detroit has over that period.

Regarding Gordon etc., you can't throw those guys out as easily as goalies because a guy like Boyd Gordon has value to a team, a guy like DiPietro does not, if only because there are only 60 NHL jobs at a time for goalies.

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#106 Basshole39
August 18 2014, 03:19PM
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season not played wrote:

Maybe they could trade David Musil for John Gibson.

I trashed this because you probably wouldn't get him for Hall!! I promise you Anaheim values him way more than we can give them.

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#107 Basshole39
August 18 2014, 03:24PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Dan Blackburn was another 18 year old goaltender, I believe. A Rangers early pick who should serve as a cautionary tale about picking goaltenders too early and rushing them too soon. I think it was the Rangers who swung and missed on Al Montoya as well.

With deference to the site's self appointed expert on all things hockey, Serious Gord, I will respectfully disagree that early drafting of goaltenders is the way to go. The examples above in addition to DiPietro, Justin Pogge, Leland Irving and a host of others should be considered.

Goaltenders are by far the most difficult position to project into the future. It is a fools game for the most part. There are as many or more goaltenders in the league today that were at one point with other teams earlier in their careers.

Picking goaltenders early in the draft is an excellent way to shorten one's career as an NHL GM. Let other teams spend time and money separating the wheat from the chaff and act accordingly.

Or Blackburn had a career ending injury to his hand (I can't remember which) and as for Montoya, what chance did he have against the King?

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#108 Zarny
August 18 2014, 04:19PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Sorry, I had in my head that Justin Pogge was a first rounder. He should not have been included in my list of first round busts. My bad.

In terms of guys like Gordon / Fistric, etc just because they do not put up points does not mean they are not effective NHLers. Games played means someone thinks they have value as an NHLer. So many of those tenders in the 1st round played 0 - 50 NHL games.

Where I think we have common ground is rounds 2 or 3. I have much less concern drafting a goaltender there, compared to round 1. I just think given the time to develop goalies there is so much more opportunity for things to go off the rails.

I would have been fine with the Oilers taking a Comrie / Fucale / Jarry (maybe?) in 2013 or a Demko last year as second round picks.

I just think taking a goalie in the first round is a needless risk. The fact that only two goalies have been taken in the first round over the last 4 years - that is 2/120 players - it could reasonably be interpreted as an indication that NHL GM's agree with me.

Yes we certainly agree rounds 2 and 3 are better bets to select a G. Like I said, I just thought characterizing drafting a G in the 1st round as a sucker's bet was a bit much. Their failure rate is only marginally higher than F and D.

By virtue of fewer jobs available though there is less middle ground for G to occupy compared to guys like Gordon/Fistric.

I think the Oilers not selecting a Comrie/Fucale/Jarry/Demko etc over the last few years was a mistake.

The Oilers tendency to basically never select a G during the rounds in which most top G are selected is an organizational failure. It takes you out of the running for 70-80% of the top G in the game and ensures goaltending will never be an organizational strength. Given how important goaltending is and how difficult it is for Edmonton to attract players I think that is flat out dumb.

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#109 Zarny
August 18 2014, 04:57PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Hiller, Scrivens, and Halak are much more proven than guys who have played 15 NHL games total.

The truth of the matter is that there are are most 5 or 6 "elite" goalies in the NHL. Maybe as few as 3.

The difference between the #7 goalie in the NHL and the number 25 goalie in the NHL is something like 8 goals over a season.

If I can have the #15 goalie for 3M because he went in the 6th round while you have the #9 goalie for 6.5M because he went #8 overall then I win.

Sure Hiller and Halak are more proven than a guys like Gibson and Andersen but "more proven" wasn't your original point.

You simply questioned calling Mark-Andre Fleury a top goalie which I have no problem with given his playoff struggles the last few years.

The fact remains though that he has a Stanley Cup ring and six 35+ win seasons. He's been better for a longer period of time than Hiller, Halak or Scrivens (who has started all of 72 NHL games).

If you want scrub Fleury from the list of "top goalies" drafted in the first 3 rounds then you have to scrub Hiller, Halak, Scrivens and Elliot from the list of late or undrafted goalies.

The number of "elite" goalies will certainly always be up for debate. Everyone has slightly different criteria. You are certainly down to less than 10 who have put it down repeatedly for 5-10 seasons in a row.

The gap between the top and mid-tier starters is certainly getting smaller thanks to the advances in G coaching, but your logic about winning is faulty.

It's not about you having the #15 G for less money because he was drafted in the 6th round versus a slightly better G who was drafted higher.

It's about the fact that you are ~ 2-3 X more likely to get both the #8 and the #15 G if you draft them in the first 3 rounds compared to later rounds and undrafted.

That's the crux of the argument. The overwhelming majority of top NHL goalies and prospects who appear on the verge are drafted in the first 3 rounds. If you never select a G in the first 3 rounds you automatically remove yourself from obtaining 70% of the top G in the league regardless of ranking.

You also guarantee that you never have one of the top G, whether he's ranked #8 or #15, at a value of $1.8M like the Kings had with Quick.

Whether you are better off with the #15 ranked G at $3M or a better G but at a much higher cost is a completely separate debate and has absolutely nothing to do with where the G was drafted.

The Rangers are paying the guy they drafted in the 7th round $8.5M next year. LA is paying the guy they drafted in the 2nd round $5.8M next year. Totally separate issue compared to your odds of acquiring either through the draft or free agency.

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#110 TigerUnderGlass
August 18 2014, 05:23PM
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Zarny wrote:

Sure Hiller and Halak are more proven than a guys like Gibson and Andersen but "more proven" wasn't your original point.

You simply questioned calling Mark-Andre Fleury a top goalie which I have no problem with given his playoff struggles the last few years.

The fact remains though that he has a Stanley Cup ring and six 35+ win seasons. He's been better for a longer period of time than Hiller, Halak or Scrivens (who has started all of 72 NHL games).

If you want scrub Fleury from the list of "top goalies" drafted in the first 3 rounds then you have to scrub Hiller, Halak, Scrivens and Elliot from the list of late or undrafted goalies.

The number of "elite" goalies will certainly always be up for debate. Everyone has slightly different criteria. You are certainly down to less than 10 who have put it down repeatedly for 5-10 seasons in a row.

The gap between the top and mid-tier starters is certainly getting smaller thanks to the advances in G coaching, but your logic about winning is faulty.

It's not about you having the #15 G for less money because he was drafted in the 6th round versus a slightly better G who was drafted higher.

It's about the fact that you are ~ 2-3 X more likely to get both the #8 and the #15 G if you draft them in the first 3 rounds compared to later rounds and undrafted.

That's the crux of the argument. The overwhelming majority of top NHL goalies and prospects who appear on the verge are drafted in the first 3 rounds. If you never select a G in the first 3 rounds you automatically remove yourself from obtaining 70% of the top G in the league regardless of ranking.

You also guarantee that you never have one of the top G, whether he's ranked #8 or #15, at a value of $1.8M like the Kings had with Quick.

Whether you are better off with the #15 ranked G at $3M or a better G but at a much higher cost is a completely separate debate and has absolutely nothing to do with where the G was drafted.

The Rangers are paying the guy they drafted in the 7th round $8.5M next year. LA is paying the guy they drafted in the 2nd round $5.8M next year. Totally separate issue compared to your odds of acquiring either through the draft or free agency.

You're right, proven wasn't my original point. I'm questioning how you can list guys with no real NHL track record as "top goalies".

My point regarding the phrase "top goalies" is that a number of guys considered top goalies are deemed such due purely to draft position and reputation rather than results.

Fleury is not elite. Ward is not elite. They are paid as such because they were highly regarded as kids and their teams happened to win cups while they were in net.

My overall point is that there re very very few truly elite goalies and when you draft them does not seem to correlate with who will become elite.

Respectable non-elite goalies can be obtained much more easily because there are only 60 openings in the NHL.

These 2nd and 3rd rounders can be had cheap. People are in love with Bishop right now, remember what he cost TB? Cory Conacher and a 4th. Before Bishop had such a great year this year there was no reason to think any more highly of him than Scrivens.

You listed Anderson as a top goalie - he went on waivers 3 times and was traded for a 6th. Ottawa got him for Elliott - no star himself.

Now look at Bernier. 1st round pick and well regarded as a result, and he cost Scrivens Frattin AND a 2nd despite the fact that Scrivens had been every bit as good as Bernier playing on a worse team.

People and teams let their impressions of goalies become waaay to colored by their draft position. Just like with Bishop, Scrivens has every chance to be as good as Bernier given their virtually identical track records, but everyone loves Bernier and thinks Scrivens is a massive risk. I don't get it.

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