Moose Jaw goaltender Zachary Sawchenko knows the stereotype that's associated with players at his position.
He gets it and is more than willing to educate the general public.
"There's the perception that all goalies are weird but I don't necessarily think you can call it weird, but we're a little different because we have to be different," Sawchenko said. "There's something different about a person who wants to stand in front of pucks and take slap shots off the head. I don't know if you can even call it different. How about unique?"
Unique indeed. Sawchenko still remembers the day he first played in goal and enjoyed it so much that he was obsessed with reaching the highest level playing the position. A second-round pick (No. 33) in the 2012 Western Hockey League bantam draft by Moose Jaw, Sawchenko won his first WHL start for the Warriors as a 14-years-old against Swift Current on Aug. 28, 2012.
"It was a great experience [to win my first start]," Sawchenko said. "It was nerve-racking playing against 18- and 19-year-old players, and living away from home. It was an eye-opening experience but a good experience."
Sawchenko (6-foot, 179 pounds), a native of Calgary, is No. 6 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American goaltenders eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft at First Niagara Center in Buffalo on June 24-25.
Here are NHL.com's top 10 goalies eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft:
1. Filip Gustavsson, Lulea Jr. (SWE): The 6-foot-1, 190-pound native of Skelleftea, Sweden, played his first season with Lulea in Sweden's junior league this year. He was 4-2-0 with a 3.22 goals-against average and an .893 save percentage in 20 games. He gained more attention after being named best goaltender at the 2016 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, helping Sweden to a silver medal with a 2.70 GAA and .905 save percentage in five games.
2. Evan Fitzpatrick, Sherbrooke (QMJHL): At 6-2, 203 pounds, Fitzpatrick is a big presence in net. He likes to challenge players on initial shots and has shown confidence and poise in holding his ground and battling hard to locate the puck in traffic. A first-round pick (No. 4) in the 2014 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft, Fitzpatrick finished 18-26-8 with a 3.42 GAA, two shutouts and .896 save percentage in 54 regular-season games in his second season for the Phoenix. He is No. 1 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American goalies eligible for the 2016 draft.
3. Tyler Parsons, London (OHL): The native of Chesterfield, Mich., is considered a strong goalie with a powerful leg drive and quick recovery skills. He battles hard, never gives up on a play and has an excellent work ethic. Parsons (6-1, 185) went 37-9-3 with a 2.33 GAA, four shutouts and .921 save percentage in 49 games for London in the regular season. He was 16-2 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.
4. Carter Hart, Everett (WHL): He led the WHL with 35 wins and had the second-most shutouts with six. Hart (6-1, 180) also had a 2.14 GAA and a .918 save percentage in 63 games. 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.
5. Colton Point, Carleton Place (CCHL): Point (6-3, 219) jumped 13 spots from No. 17 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of North American goaltenders to No. 4 on the final ranking. He plays big in all situations, presents good strength in the crease, a good butterfly and played with confidence down the stretch. He finished 23-6-2 with a 2.16 GAA, a .915 save percentage and seven shutouts in 33 regular-season games, and went 12-4 with a 1.82 GAA, a .933 save percentage and five shutouts in 16 Central Canada Hockey League playoff games, helping the Canadians to their third straight Art Bogart Cup as CCHL champions.
6. Joseph Woll, USA-U18 (USHL): The 6-3, 202-pound native of Dardenne Prairie, Mo., has spent the past two season at USA Hockey's National Team Development Program. Committed to Boston College in 2016-17, Woll has exhibited good patience in net, complementing a high skill level and consistency each game. He was 20-9-1 with a 2.14 GAA, a .918 save percentage and two shutouts in 33 games for the U.S. Under-18 NTDP.
7. Zachary Sawchenko, Moose Jaw (WHL): Sawchenko plays with a lot of drive and determination and can seal the ice with his butterfly coverage. He finished 28-16-6 with a 3.04 GAA, a .916 save percentage and two shutouts in his third season with Moose Jaw. He's very athletic and offers strong recovery skills and scrambling ability.
8. Connor Ingram, Kamloops (WHL): Ingram (6-0, 212) was one of the more consistent and reliable goaltenders in the Canadian Hockey League this season. He finished 34-15-9 with a 2.61 GAA, a .922 save percentage and four shutouts in 61 games in his second season with Kamloops. Against Kelowna in the WHL playoffs, Ingram had a 2.12 GAA and .938 save percentage in a 4-3 series loss in the first round. He can read and react quickly, has a good glove and can control most rebounds.
9. Antoine Samuel, Baie-Comeau (QMJHL): The 6-2, 187-pound left-handed catching goalie is a butterfly-style player with good instincts. He went 5-18 with a 3.62 GAA and .897 save percentage in 24 games with Baie-Comeau after his Jan. 3 trade from Shawinigan, where he spent two seasons. NHL Central Scouting's Al Jensen is impressed by Samuel's net coverage and calmness.
10. Joseph Raaymakers, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL): He describes himself as a butterfly-style goalie who models his game after Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick. Raaymakers (6-0, 185), who was backup to New York Rangers prospect Brandon Halverson, had a 13-10-4 record with a 3.61 GAA and .891 save percentage in his second season with Sault Ste. Marie.