With all due respect to Laurent Brossoit, Frans Tuohimaa, Tyler Bunz, Zach Nagelvoort and Keven Bouchard, the Edmonton Oilers don’t have a blue chip goalie prospect.
I’m not sure that it matters.
- January 15: Edmonton Oilers acquire Ben Scrivens from the Kings in exchange for a 2014 third round pick (63rd overall, Dominic Turgeon)
- March 4: Edmonton Oilers acquire Viktor Fasth from the Ducks in exchange for a 2014 fifth round pick (123rd overall, Matthew Berkovitz) and a 2015 third round pick
- March 4: Edmonton Oilers acquire 2014 fourth round pick (91st overall, William Lagesson) in exchange for Ilya Bryzgalov
The point here should be obvious: the kinds of picks that NHL teams routinely spend at the draft on second-tier goalie prospects can be traded straight across for legitimate 1A or 1B goalies who already have an extensive professional track record.
When the contrast is made, it’s tough to make the case that those picks ought to be used on the guy who if all goes well is going to take five years to arrive and may not ever show up.
Consider the pick traded for Scrivens. A few years ago, the Oilers used a very similar selection – 62nd overall – on a goalie, drafting Samu Perhonen, a big raw Finn with incredible potential. Perhonen was never signed, and last season was destroyed in nine games (0.864 save percentage) at the USHL level. In January, Edmonton expended the exact same resource on an NHL-ready goalie who is the front-runner for the No. 1 job in 2014-15.
Or, alternatively look at a deal that went the other way. The Wild dealt a high fourth round pick to the Oilers for Ilya Bryzgalov, who ended up being their playoff starter. Zach Nagelvoort is a pretty interesting prospect but if he turns out to be Bryzgalov it would represent a massive win for Edmonton’s amateur procurement side.
So, Never Draft Goalies?
Not exactly, no. A good young goalie can have some real value to an organization, and sometimes those guys are available late in the draft. Henrik Lundqvist was a seventh round draft pick; Pekka Rinne was picked in the (since-eliminated) eighth round as an overage player.
These guys can have value along the way, too. Petr Mrazek’s ultimate NHL future is still an unknown, but the 2010 fifth round pick has provided Detroit with an important third option over the last couple of seasons, stepping in at the NHL level when necessary and performing very well, all without any risk of loss to the waiver wire. That’s a useful guy to have in the system.
So yes, it’s still legitimate to draft goalies. It’s just important to remember that even during the season it’s generally reasonably easy to add a proven option, even a proven option with potential starter upside, for the same price that a team would pay for a mid-tier prospect.
That makes it kind of pointless to get bent out of shape about a lack of prospect depth at the position.
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