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NHL Draft

Blues goaltending prospect glad-handed by Brodeur

Second-round pick Fitzpatrick gets nod from NHL's winningest goalie

by Mike G. Morreale @MikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

BUFFALO -- It isn't every day a teenage hockey player is given the chance to meet and discuss his craft with former NHL goaltender Martin Brodeur.

That was precisely the opportunity goaltender Evan Fitzpatrick of Sherbrooke of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League had Saturday after he was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the second round (No. 59) of the 2016 NHL Draft at First Niagara Center. 

Brodeur, whose 691 wins and 125 shutouts are most in NHL history, announced his retirement in January 2015, and is Blues assistant general manager.

"After St. Louis made the pick, I was brought to the Blues table and I thanked [Brodeur] and told him I watched him a lot when I was younger growing up and that he was one of the best goalies of all time," Fitzpatrick said. "He looked at me and said, 'You know, I got to watch you a lot this season too.' That was pretty special."

Fitzpatrick, No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American goaltenders, was the last of four goalies selected in the second round.

Goalie Carter Hart of Everett (Western Hockey League) was the first at his position off the board to the Philadelphia Flyers (No. 48). Tyler Parsons of London (Ontario Hockey League) was selected by the Calgary Flames at No. 54, and Filip Gustavsson of Luleo Jr. (Sweden) was picked by the Pittsburgh Penguins at No. 55.

"I knew the run on goalies would happen at some point; I was getting more and more nervous," Fitzpatrick said. "As soon as my name was called, I walked down to get the jersey. This is the coolest thing ever."

Video: Fitzpatrick to make the most of being drafted by STL

Hart, No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American goaltenders, couldn't get over the fact he was the first goalie selected.

"When I think of the Flyers, I think of the Broad Street Bullies with Bobby Clarke," said Hart, who wore a Philadelphia jersey with Clarke's retired No. 16 (for the 2016 draft class). "It would be incredible to one day have a chance to play in the NHL."

Hart led the WHL with 35 wins and finished tied for second with six shutouts. He had a 2.14 goals-against average and .918 save percentage in 63 games for the Silvertips. He's considered to be very poised, patient and has excellent butterfly coverage with a good glove hand.

Hart and Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby share the same sports psychologist: John Stevenson. Hart has counted on Stevenson for advice many times throughout his career.

"I always call [Stevenson] the night before a game and he'll settle me down," Hart said. "Sometimes we'll just talk because we're good friends, and other nights when something is on my mind or bothering me, I can talk to him. He'll provide opinions on things and teach me what I need to do to fix it."

Hart was asked for an example of a time when he might feel the need to speak with Stevenson.

"Sometimes when the coaches aren't happy with your play or if they say something that might stick in your head, [Stevenson] will set me straight," Hart said. "It usually has nothing to do with your game or with you. In the end, you just have to go out there and do your job, and that really helps me focus."

Parsons won the Memorial Cup with the Knights this season. He went 37-9-3 with a 2.33 GAA, four shutouts and .921 save percentage in 49 games for the Knights in the regular season. He was 16-1-1 with a 2.15 GAA and .925 save percentage in 18 OHL playoff games, and 4-0 with a 1.78 GAA and .942 save percentage in the Memorial Cup.

Gustavsson played his first season with Lulea in Sweden's junior league this season. He was 4-2-0 with a 3.22 goals-against average and .893 save percentage in 20 games, and finished 4-2-0. He gained more attention after being named best goaltender at the 2016 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, helping Sweden win a silver medal with a 2.70 GAA and .905 save percentage in five games.

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