2016 NHL draft position preview: Goaltenders


We conclude our position previews with a look at the top goaltenders eligible for the 2016 NHL draft, which will be held June 23-24 in Buffalo, New York.

Goaltending in Philadelphia — for once — is not an area of need for the Flyers. At the NHL level, they're blessed with Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth for at least another season. Beyond that, at least one of those two will be here for a few years.

The Flyers have Anthony Stolarz developing at Lehigh Valley, and general manager Ron Hextall drafted three goalies last year — Felix Sandstrom, Matej Tomek and Ivan Fedotov.

So unless Hextall views a goalie as the best player available at some point in this draft, it's unlikely the Flyers will be looking for a netminder with one of their 10 picks.

It should be noted, no goalie is expected to be taken in the first round this year, which isn't surprising since that's been the way of the league in recent years.

Ilya Samsonov became the first first-round goalie in three drafts in 2015, when Washington selected him with the 22nd overall pick.

With that said, let's take a look at the top goalies in the 2016 draft.

1. Evan Fitzpatrick, 6-3/206, Sherbrooke (QMJHL)
Fitzpatrick finished as NHL Central Scouting's top North American goaltender after checking in as the No. 2 N.A. goalie on the midterm rankings.

A big, left-handed catching goalie, Fitzpatrick covers a lot of the net with his 6-foot-3 frame and is crazy athletic. He's a good technical goalie who tracks the puck well.

His numbers weren't great in 2015-16 — 3.42 goals-against average and .896 save percentage — but goalies are tough to judge, especially in junior, where scoring is so high.

The 18-year-old could improve his puck-handling, but has a solid glove hand and stays calm under pressure. Given the right environment, he has the tools to be a No. 1 goalie.

Draft projection: Early second round. Buffalo at 38 could be an option.

2. Filip Gustavsson, 6-2/184, Lulea Jr. (Sweden-Jr.)
Gustavsson is the international standout of the group, and could turn out as the top goalie in the class. The thing with him is, it'll be a few years before he comes overseas.

The 6-foot-2, 184-pound Swede fits the mold of the current NHL goalie. He's big with good vision. He squares himself to the shooter and has good positioning.

Playing mostly in SuperElit — Sweden's junior league — Gustavsson made the jump up to the SHL with Luleå HF and impressed. In six games in the SHL, he posted a .910 save percentage and a 2.17 goals-against average.

Gustavsson, who just turned 18 Tuesday, also recorded a 2.70 GAA in five games playing for Sweden in the U-18s. He's big, but he'll need to add more to his frame. He's not super athletic and consistency is an issue, but he does have potential to be an NHL starter.

Draft projection: Mid-to-late second round.

3. Carter Hart, 6-0/180, Everett (WHL)
A bit undersized — a common theme with goalies this year — Hart had an excellent season playing for the Silvertips in the WHL, posting a 2.14 GAA and .918 save percentage.

In Central Scouting's midterm rankings, Hart was rated the top North American goalie, but finished as the second N.A. goalie in its final rankings.

At 6-foot, 180 pounds, Hart could still fill out his frame a bit, as he is still 17 years old. What he lacks in size, however, he makes up with his quickness, which he'll need.

Hart is a butterfly goalie who uses his quick reflexes to challenge shooters and cut down angles. He's able to get cut down an angle and make himself appear bigger than he is.

Teams have trended toward drafting bigger goalies, so he has that against him. He'll be a project for his drafting team, but he has raw athleticism that could turn into something.

Draft projection: Late second round, early third round.

4. Zachary Sawchenko, 6-0/185, Moose Jaw (WHL)
Sawchenko had solid numbers in 2015-16, 3.04 GAA and .916 save percentage, for Moose Jaw.

A smaller goalie, Sawchenko finished sixth on Central Scouting's North American goalie rankings, a bit of a fall from its midterm rankings, when he was ranked third.

What Sawchenko has going for him is that he's used the most of the opportunity he has had over the last two years to improve. He's played a lot — 100 games in the last two seasons with Moose Jaw as well as playing in three international tournaments.

After posting an .885 save percentage as a 16-year-old with the Warriors, Sawchenko has seen his save percentage get better with age. He recovers well from the first save and has decent lateral movement, but sometimes does get himself out of position.

Draft projection: Early-to-mid third round.

5. Tyler Parsons, 6-1/184, London (OHL)
Parsons isn't huge, but is an inch taller than both Hart and Sawchenko. He's super athletic, which is a plus for a goalie, has a good glovehand and is a strong puck-handler.

He made the jump from six to three in Central Scouting's final North American goalies, and put together a fine season for the Memorial Cup-winning London Knights.

In 49 regular-season games, Parsons recorded a 2.33 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. He posted a 2.15 GAA and .925 save percentage in 18 playoff games for London.

Parsons' performance in the Memorial Cup was even stronger. In four games, he stopped 113 of 120 shots he faced and had a .942 save percentage to lead the Knights to the Cup win.

He was by far the best goalie in the Memorial Cup, and his postseason performance is a positive with him. There is a lot to like about Parsons, but he still has areas he has to get better at to be higher on the list. He tends to give up soft goals and needs to control his rebounds better. Coaching can help with the latter.

Draft projection: Late third round, early fourth.

Rounding out the Top 10
6. Colton Point, 6-4/219, Carleton Place (CCHL)
7. Joseph Woll, 6-2/198, USA U-18 (USHL)
8. Antoine Samuel, 6-2/187, Baie-Comeau (QMJHL)
9. Daniel Marmenlind, 6-1/191, Orebro Jr. (Sweden-Jr.)
10. Connor Ingram, 6-0/212, Kamloops (WHL)

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