As a lead-in to the 2008 NHL Entry Draft June 26-27 in Montreal, NashvillePredators.com will be taking a look at the top prospects available in this year's draft class. Today we will continue with the top goaltenders.
With all the talented defensemen and forwards in this year's draft class, the goaltenders have been overlooked and it is highly likely that no goaltenders will be selected in the first round on Friday night. 1) Robin Lehner (Frolunda-Jr, SWE-Jr) - 22 games, 3.05 GAA, .903 SV%CSS-I-#1, HN-#52, ISS-G-#6, TSN-#47
A big goaltender at 6-3, 220 pounds, Lehner comes from a family with a strong hockey background. His father, Michael, has coached NY Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and has had a big influence on his career. He has good athleticism, but scouts question some of his rebound control and concentration.
"Robin looks pretty similar to Henrik Lundqvist. He makes himself look very big in the net and there is not much room to shoot at. He challenges shooters pretty well and his lower net butterfly coverage is good." - NHL European Scouting Service 2) Matthew Hackett (Plymouth, OHL) - 55 games, 3.04 GAA, .913 SV%CSS-NA-#1, HN-#N/R, ISS-G-#3, TSN-#43
The nephew of former NHL goaltender Jeff Hackett, Matthew Hackett is the odds on favorite to be the first North American goaltender selected in this year's draft -- and may well end up being the first goaltender selected overall. Most scouting services project him as a second round pick, but he already has NHL size (6-2, 170 pounds) and lineage working in his favor.
“He has great potential, very good size, very poised. His angles, his net positioning are very good. He's a very smart goaltender with excellent net coverage.” - Al Jensen, NHL Central Scouting3) Olivier Roy (Cape Bretton, QMJHL) - 54 games, 2.80 GAA, .906 SV%CSS-NA-#2, HN-#38, ISS-G-#2, TSN-#N/R
The top goaltending prospect out of the QMJHL -- a traditional NHL goaltending factory -- in this year's draft class, Roy is undersized at 5-11, 167 pounds, but has been extremely consistent the past two years. Despite the questions about his size, scouts marvel at his abilities to get the job done, including Team Quebec’s Player of the Game in the 2008 Canada/Russia Challenge on Nov. 17.
“He catches your attention. He's steady and he plays well all the time.” - Chris Bordeleau, NHL Central Scouting4) Edward Pasquale (Saginaw, OHL) - 61 games, 3.02 GAA, .911 SV%CSS-NA-#3, HN-#40, ISS-G-#1, TSN-#N/R
Pasquale is a big goaltender at 6-2, 216 pounds, but reviews are very polarized among scouts. Some scouting services, like ISS see Pasquale as the top goaltender available in this year's draft, while others question his long-term upside.
"He's got the look of an NHL goalie down the road. I like his foot speed, he's got an excellent butterfly, and when he goes down he covers the net well. He moves well with excellent net coverage."5) Mikko Koskinen (Espoo, FIN) - 33 games, 1.19 GAA, .931 SV% CSS-E-#2, HN-#48, ISS-G-#N/A, TSN-#48
- Al Jensen, NHL Central Scouting
Koskinen follows the recent trend of elite goaltenders from Finland, and at 6-7 he's one of the tallest prospects in this year's draft class. A late bloomer (at 21 years old, he's already cleared the draft three times), he seemingly came out of no where this year, drawing comparisons to current Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne
. Still, even the most optimistic scouts feel he's at least three to five years away from being NHL ready. Because of his surprise rise, Koskinen hasn't been seen as frequently as the other top goaltenders, which has some scouts a little nervous to select him in the early rounds, while others swear he's a late first round-to-second round talent. CSS-I - NHL Central Scouting (International Rankings); HN - Hockey News; ISS - International Scouting Service; TSN - TSN.ca