Success followed Al Jensen around during his hockey career. The Hamilton native won the Memorial Cup with his hometown Hamilton Fincups, then won the International Hockey League's Turner Cup and the American Hockey League's Calder Cup before he broke into the NHL with Detroit in 1980-81. The following season, Jensen joined the Washington Capitals
and led them to their first Stanley Cup Playoffs berth in 1982-83.
Jensen set a slew of goaltending records with the Capitals -- many of them have since been broken, but his .644 career winning percentage is still the best in team history. He was named the Wales Conference starting goaltender for the 1984 NHL All-Star Game (though he couldn't play due to a back injury) and shared the 1983-84 William M. Jennings Trophy with teammate Pat Riggin.
That back injury wound up shortening his career. After six seasons with the Capitals, Jensen was traded to the Los Angeles Kings
and retired the next year with a career record of 95-53-18.
Jensen has been NHL Central Scouting's goaltender scout for the past 10 years, and his evaluations have proven solid. He shared his evaluations for this year's top goaltending prospects with NHL.com. These are his top nine North American goalies, in order, for the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Calvin Pickard, Seattle Thunderbirds, WHL, 6-1, 195 lbs.
"I've had the chance to watch him for two years, and I really like his consistency. As a goalie, that's what you want. He's a very confident kid. He plays that way. He's just over six feet tall, but he plays really big. He's very smart. He reads the play very well. He's strong. I like his angle play. There's not a lot about his game that I don't like. He's got a really big upside to him. When I see him, I see a potential top-end NHL goalie someday."
Jack Campbell, USA U-18, 6-2 1/2, 175 lbs.
"Campbell has a different style than Pickard. He's got more of an athletic style. He's got a little bit more holes but he's extremely quick. He stepped into the U.S. team in the World Juniors and did extremely well. Like Calvin, in a couple of years and with a little more experience, he's going to have a good chance to be a very good pro. I like his energy. I like his athleticism. I like the way he competes hard. When I go see his games, in his warm-ups, he's very determined. He wants to get better, and his talent is going to get him there with his attitude, as well."
Kent Simpson, Everett Silvertips, WHL, 6-2 1/2, 182 lbs.
"He's a big, strong goalie who covers the net. He's not a really flashy guy but he's always in position. He improved over the course of the year. I think he's going to be an excellent NHL goaltender because of the net coverage. You get up to the NHL level, you need to cover as many holes as you can. He already does it. His technical part of the game is exceptional. He's very controlled. He's got good rebound control. He's a blocking-style goalie. He reads the play -- and he's not all over the place. He's always in position to stop the shot. He gives himself a chance to stop the shot in most cases."
Mark Visentin, Niagara IceDogs, OHL, 6-1 1/2, 187 lbs.
"To me, he came out of nowhere. I saw him last year and thought he needed a lot of work. He was athletic and quick but needed a lot of work. His game improved so much this year. He has a great work ethic and strong legs. He's very athletic and very determined. His play has climbed immensely and he's only going to get better. I like his determination. He has a great glove hand now, and he handles the puck well. He's a very confident kid. He didn't play with a great team last year and he carried that team into the playoffs and did very well. He has a great upside. I see a great future for him."
Louis Domingue, Quebec Remparts, QMJHL, 6-2 1/2, 180 lbs.
"I saw him play in both Moncton and Quebec. He's along the same lines as Simpson, but I think he's a little quicker than Simpson. He's not as controlled. He's a big kid who covers a lot of net but where he gets in trouble is when he tries to do too much. He gave up too many rebounds but he's a young kid, and when he learns to control that, he'll have a bright future. I like his athleticism, his quickness and determination. He just needs to shore up a few areas in his game. He handles the puck very well. Give him three or four years, this kid could be a good NHL goaltender."
Zane Gothberg, Thief River Falls H.S., Minn., 6-1, 177 lbs.
"This kid is very good. He impressed me the first time I saw him. He's very controlled. He is a lot like Michael Lee
(selected by the Phoenix Coyotes
in Round 3, No. 91, in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft) from the previous year, only quicker. I like his quickness and net coverage. I like his strength. He's smart and reads the play well. There's not a lot that I don't like about his game. As the years go by, he's going to be a very good NHL goaltender."
Mathieu Corbeil-Theriault, Halifax Mooseheads, QMJHL, 6-5 3/4, 186 lbs.
"Big kid, athletic, covers a lot of net. He's strong. He didn't play on a very good team last year and had an up-and-down season, but I caught him on both ends. I saw him when he didn't play well and when he played very, very well. He has a great upside. To be his size and be able to move as well as he does is rare. The first time I saw him, I noticed how quick he is for his size. I like how strong he is going from point-to-point. There were some issues with the team over the course of the year. In the first half, he was their goalie and then they brought in a veteran goaltender. He sat on the bench a little bit and he put pressure on himself and his game changed. I caught him during that time. I think that had a lot to do with it. He faced a lot of rubber, playing for the worst team in the Quebec League. It's tough for a young goaltender to see all that rubber. He battles. When he goes to the pros, he could wind up on a good team and you'll see he's a big kid who is really quick."
Sam Brittain, Canmore Eagles, AJHL, 6-2 3/4, 215 lbs.
"He's a lot like J-S Giguere. He moves just like him, he plays just like him. He has a blocking style. He's not a flashy guy. His athleticism is average but his net coverage is exceptional. He's a big kid who likes to slide, using that butterfly technique. He's always square to the puck, great angles, calm, relaxed and in control. Doesn't that sound like Giguere? He's got a good future because that's what it's all about: If you've got the size and can cover the holes, that's a big advantage right there -- and he's got great rebound control."
Cameron Lanigan, Edmonton Oil Kings, WHL, 6-1 3/4, 180 lbs.
"He's one of those guys who came from nowhere at the beginning of the year. He moves well and has a good knowledge of the net. He has good size and ability and that's why he shot up in the rankings. His play indicated that he improved over the course of the year. I really like him as a top-end prospect. Whether a kid plays on a good team or a bad one, I'm looking to see if he can play in the NHL. He didn't play a lot at the beginning of the year, but they used him more in the second half and he started getting confidence. He's a big kid who moves well. You have to throw out his win-loss percentage, and his goals-against average and save percentage are misleading."
Contact John McGourty at firstname.lastname@example.org