Back in June, I looked at whether you have to draft a goalie in the first round to find an elite one. The short answer was: yes and no. Basically, while goalies taken in the first round fail more often than they succeed, it’s by far the best way of getting an elite goalie in the draft.
However, the Leafs don’t have a first round pick, which means that isn’t an option for them. Thankfully, you’re just as likely to find a useful NHL goalie — and an elite one — in the later rounds as you are in round two or three. So if the Leafs want to find a good backup or 1B goalie of the future, it’s a good idea to use a later round pick to get one.
I’m no goalie expert, and there are almost no goalie scouts out there who can break them down. Since a lot of the goalies I’m interested in did not play in a league where I could easily watch them, I’m just going to list ten options that interest me with mini-profiles.
One thing to note: I am following my own advice that I wrote in that goalie piece linked above and looked mostly for goalies who had some level of pro experience this year. That’s a rare mark for a goalie, to the point that even if they didn’t have great numbers in only a few pro games, the fact that they played pro at all is a good indicator that they may turn into a successful if not elite NHL goalie.
With that out of the way, let’s look at some goalie prospects.
#1) KIRILL GERASIMYUK
Kirill Gerasimyuk is a Russian goalie, and my favourite goalie prospect in this draft as far as realistic targets for the Leafs. He’s not the highest ranked guy, but as an August 22, 2003 birthday he is one of the youngest goalies. Despite his age, he also had one of the best statistical seasons. He played on one of the worst teams in the MHL, where he had a .931 sv% and four shutouts in 27 games. For reference, the team as a whole went 25-39 — Gerasimyuk was the only goalie on the team with more wins (14) than losses (13). The team was 11-26 in games he didn’t start. He was also one of Russia’s goalies in the World U18 Championship, where he got into part of one game and had a rough time with a .714 sv%. The good news is that I think that one very short sample at the U18s will lower his draft rankings, so he’s more likely to be available come the fifth or sixth rounds when the Leafs pick.
However, he also got into five games in the VHL, where he had a .913 sv%. I feel like the combination of his very strong numbers in the MHL, his pro experience in the VHL, and his rebound and athletic ratings that grade out well, all point to a goalie who is already a pretty good goalie prospect. And with a later birthday, he has more time to develop into something even better.
#2) OWEN BARTOSZKIEWICZ
Owen Bartoszkiewicz is an American goalie born in March 2003, and is listed as 6’2” and 194 lbs. This year, he was playing in the NAHL. It’s not considered a strong junior league for prospects... except for goalies. Here’s a quick list of NHL goalies who were drafted out of the NAHL, and what their stats were in their first draft eligible season:
- Connor Hellebuyck (5th round) — .930 sv%
- Craig Anderson (3rd round) — .914 sv%
- Ben Bishop (3rd round) — .920 sv%
- Ryan Miller (5th round) — .924 sv%
- Pheonix Copley (undrafted) — .880 sv%
- Scott Darling (6th round) — .924 sv%
- Keith Kinkaid (undrafted) — .935 sv%
Bartoszkiewicz played on an expansion team that was brand new to the NAHL this year. He played in 41 games and finished with a .917 sv%. That isn’t as good as some of the guys listed above, especially those who turned into elite NHL starters. However, his underlying numbers for his rebound rate, athleticism/quickness, and high danger save percentages according to InStat are all apparently very good. He’ll likely be a late round goalie, and he could be an interesting one.
#3) ZAHKAR VINOGRADOV
Zakhar Vinogradov is a Russian with a late 2002 birthday, so first time eligible for the draft but an older prospect. He’s 6’2” and 168 lbs, and played an odd combination of games. He split time between the NMHL (17 games, .955 sv%), which is like the second tier of the MHL, and the VHL (11 games, .932 sv%). His numbers between two very different levels of competition are both very good, and having some semi-pro experience in his draft year is a strong indicator for his chances of becoming a valuable NHL goalie in the future. It’s a weird path to take, coming from the NMHL, but his indicators
#4) SEMYON VYAZOVOY
Semyon Vyazovoy is a Russian goalie born in February 2003. He’s 6’2” and 168 lbs, and played entirely in the MHL. He put up a .939 sv% in 26 games, which is good numbers in a semi-limited number of games. The fact he hasn’t played at higher levels is a bit of a worry, but @JoshTessler_ is pretty high on his athleticism and reflexes. He’s one of the few goalies I’ve listing here who has no professional (or NCAA) games, but he is rated pretty highly among scouts and has good numbers in a league known for developing some good goalie prospects. So he’s someone to keep an eye on.
Can't wait for a NHL team to draft Semyon Vyazovoy in the late rounds of the 2021 NHL Draft. Highly underrated. Has a lot of athleticism and quick reflexes to pull off saves in high danger situations like this one. #2021NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/7TDcHNnOEX— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) June 13, 2021
#5) ALEXEI KOLOSOV
Alexei Kolosov is a D+1 goalie from Belarus, born January 2002. He’s listed as 6’1” and 187 lbs, and has the all important professional experience. In his original draft year (2019/20), he split time between Belarus’ U18 and U20 team, who played against the second-tier pro league in Belarus. He had a .910 sv% with the U18 team in 21 games, but had an even better .930 sv% with the U20 team. This year, he split time between the top Belarussian pro league (.910 sv% in 12 games) and the KHL (.911 sv% in 9 games). Even if Belarus’ pro leagues are not the best around, being a young goalie playing pro games with decent numbers is a good sign.
Curious about what Alexei Kolosov can do? Here's a little highlight package showcasing some of his best stops pic.twitter.com/vxMfZvLaqa— Erie (@ErieOtters) June 30, 2020
#6) TOMAS SUCHANEK
Tomas Suchanek is a Czech goalie born in April 2003. He’s listed as 6’1” and 159 bs, and has played in the second tier Czech pro league in each of the last two seasons. Last year, he played in 15 games and had an .899 sv%. This year he played in 21 games and had a .908 sv%. Those numbers do not look spectacular, but playing in any pro league in the two seasons leading up to your first draft is impressive in and of itself.
#7) RASMUS KORHONEN
Rasmus Korhonen is a Finnish goalie with an October 2002 birthday, making him a first time draft eligible goalie with a late birthday. He’s listed as 6’5” and 201 lbs. He spent most of the season in Finland’s U20 league, where had a .908 sv% in 17 games. He also got into two games in the Liiga, where he had an .800 sv% in two relief appearances. Those aren’t necessarily great numbers, and in fact looking at his EP page you won’t often see eye-popping numbers at any point in his junior career. But when he was called up to the Liiga club, Korhonen had a .934 sv% in his first nine games in the U20 level. The potential seems there, and being called up to the pro level may have messed with him down the stretch. Playing pro at all in your draft year was a good signal from my goalie drafting article, so he could be interesting in the late rounds. More likely, he’ll go undrafted this year and go higher in next year’s draft if he has a stronger season.
#8) TRISTAN LENNOX
Tristan Lennox is a Canadian goalie who played all of last year in the OHL, and got into no games this year due to the OHL being shut down from the pandemic. He’s an October 2002 birthday, and listed as 6’4” and 190 lbs. He did sign some kind of deal with the Toronto Marlies. He didn’t get into any games, but reportedly worked out with the team the whole season.
He’s an interesting goalie prospect, because he used to have a lot of hype. Two years ago, he had a .907 sv% in the OHL as a 16 year old rookie. He then led Canada White in the World U17 championship, with a .915 sv% in 3 games before getting injured in the finals. When he returned the next season, he wasn’t the same, and struggled with an .876 sv% in 33 games for Saginaw. If he can return to form, he’d be an interesting late round flyer. And the Leafs may know more than anyone other team what his current form is, after he worked out with the Marlies this year.
#9) CAMERON ROWE
Cameron Rowe is a D+2 goalie that’s 20 years old, and listed as 6’3” and 212 lbs. He’s American, and went undrafted the past two years because his numbers between the USNTDP U18 team in 2018/19 (.875 sv%) and USHL in 2019/20 (.899 sv%) were pretty poor. However, this year he joined the University of Wisconsin in the NCAA and put up a .933 sv% in 16 games. He outplayed their 1A goalie, Robbie Beydoun, who is 24 years old and had a .919 sv% in 21 games. He may be a late bloomer as far as goalies are concerned, and a .933 sv% in the NCAA is no mean feat, in fact it was 4th best in the whole NCAA.
️: Check out this save from Cam Rowe!— Wisconsin Hockey (@BadgerMHockey) January 18, 2021
#10) MATEJ MARINOV
Matej Marinov is a Slovakian goalie born in June 2003, making him a first time draft eligible prospect. He’s only 6’0” and 157 lbs, so the smallest goalie on this list. However, this year he played in Slovakia’s second tier pro league for 31 total games — 15 for the Slovakian U18 team (.878) and 16 on a loan with HK Levice (.887 sv%). He also got into two games in Slovakia’s top pro league. Again, those aren’t great numbers but he was playing against Slovakia’s professional level competition as a 17 year old.