With the NHL Entry Draft coming up next week, we took a look at the top prospects available for selection this year. In the first of a four-part series, here are the top 5 European draft-eligible goalies, as ranked by the Central Scouting Bureau (CSB).
Final rank (midterm rank): 1 (1)
Weight: 196 lbs.
Born: March 9, 1999
Birthplace: Espoo, Finland
Luukkonen plays for HPK JR in the Finnish Junior league. He helped his country win gold in 2016 and silver in 2017 at the Under-18 World Hockey Championship. Last season, he recorded the best goals-against average in the JR A SM-Liiga in both the regular season (1.78) and playoffs (2.01), helping his team to a league championship.
Olle Eriksson Ek
Final rank (midterm rank): 2 (2)
Weight: 183 lbs.
Born: June 22, 1999
Birthplace: Karlstad, Sweden
Eriksson plays for Farjestad Jr. in the Swiss Junior league. He finished the 2016-17 season with the best goals-against avergae in the SuperElite League, with 1.92. In 2016, Eriksson won silver with Sweden at the Under-18 World Hockey Championship. Olle is the brother of Joel Eriksson, who played 15 games with the Minnesota Wild last season.
Final rank (midterm rank): 3 (no rank)
Weight: 163 lbs.
Born: July 31, 1999
Birthplace: Vastervik, Sweden
Minding the net for HV 17 Jr. in the Swedish Junior league, Ahman enjoyed quite the season this year, taking home the Goalie of the Year award and registering the best goals-against average (2.05) in the SuperElit J20 League. Ahman has represented Sweden on three occasions, finishing in fourth at the 2017 Under-18 World Hockey Championship, and playing in two games in each of the 2017 U18 Five-Nations Tournament and the 2016 Five-Nations Tournament.
Final rank (midterm rank): 4 (6)
Weight: 209 lbs.
Born: February 24, 1999
Birthplace: Czech Republic
Jiri Patera is playing for C. Budejovice Jr. in the Czech Junior league. In 2016-17, he registered a .933 save percentage, the best in the U20 League in his country. He represented the Czech Republic in U16, U17 and U18 tournaments.
Final rank (midterm rank): 5 (no rank)
Weight: 187 lbs.
Born: January 29, 1999
Birthplace: Gomel, Belarus
Belorussian Kirill Ustimenko spent the last season with the Dynamo St. Petersburg 2 in the Russian Junior league. In 27 games, the 6-foot-3, 187-pound netminder recorded a sterling 1.74 goals-against average, a .938 save percentage and three shutouts. He won bronze in 2017 with Belarus at the Under-18 World Hockey Championship, appearing in two games.
For the full rankings and more info on each player, head to the Central Scouting Bureau's 2017 Draft Prospect Rankings page.