Goalies are the great unknown for hockey fans. Trying to watch a goalie and know if he’s good or bad, or what they do to be good or bad, is difficult for most people. Fans will argue all the time about if a goal that happened was a goalie’s fault or not. Finding a good goalie is not easy, especially for Toronto it seems. They’ve been pretty good at trying to find goalies not just through the draft, but through undrafted free agents as well.
But you can still find some good ones in the draft. It’s scary to do so, because it feels like they’re more likely to fail than drafting a regular skater and it can be a waste of a pick in the higher rounds. But in the later rounds, who cares if you spend a 5th, 6th, or 7th round pick on a goalie? You’re not very likely to find an impact NHLer drafting a forward or defenseman either, might as well swing on a goalie.
That’s the logic anyway.
So I tried to find some interesting goalies that I think could be good swings at the Leafs’ 7th round pick this year. I didn’t just want to pick goalies that had a good save percentage, but I did take that into consideration. I also tried to take as much contextual information into account on top of their actual performances.
To that end, there isn’t a lot of goalie analytics for prospects, but there are some small bits. Josh Tessler measures things like speed (time side to side and up/down), as well as rebound rates by danger level, glove save rate, and save rate by danger level. He doesn’t have it for every goalie, since he relies on data he can get from an outlet like InStat or those he can track manually himself. So he picks a select number of goalies who are ranked higher, or who he likes as prospects.
Will Scouch also posts some InStat goalie stats, such as expected save percentage to calculate how good a goalie performs relative to the quality of shots he faces. It’s not available for all leagues, so the dataset for that isn’t complete. But I’ll take whatever extra insights I can get.
All that said, let’s talk some goalies — this will include a mix of first time draft eligibles, as well as some overagers.
LUCA DI PASQUO
One of my personal favourites for a 7th round swing on a goalie is Luca Di Pasquo. He’s a 6’1” goalie, with a September 24th, 2003 birthday. So he is first time eligible for the draft this year, but a slightly older one. For a goalie, that’s not at all bad. More development time for his age means there’s more known about him, which is an important thing for a goalie.
Di Pasquo played in the NAHL, a minor junior league in the USA that is not really a hotbed for prospects... except for goalies. It is common for American, and even European imports, to play in the NAHL before joining an NCAA team. Di Pasquo played in a 1A/1B situation with his team, and had a .924 save percentage in 33 games where the other (21 year old) goalie had an .895 sv% in 28 games. In fact, Di Pasquo’s .924 was tied for third best in the league, but he is also 1-2 years younger than the other goalies ahead of him.
By some of the advanced stats, Di Pasquo rates as one of the quickest goalies in this draft. He rates out well in terms of glove saves, and in terms of not giving up rebounds on medium and high danger shots.
The top plays in the NAHL from February 21-27, 2022 presented by @USAFRecruiting— NAHL (@NAHLHockey) March 1, 2022
5. Luca Di Pasquo - @BlackBearsNAHL
4. Matthew O'Donnell - @JohnstownHawks
3. Sean Vlasich - @NorthIowaBulls
2. Dylan Smith - @LoneStarBrahmas
1. Ben Troumbly - @BismarckBobcats pic.twitter.com/j3QSTXijMd
Mayorov is my co-favourite goalie prospect in this draft, for a few reasons. First, he had a .931 sv% in the MHL — tied for 6th best in the whole MHL regardless of age. For U18 goalies, it was the best. Second, he has a bit of a later birthday of June 13th, 2004 — nine months younger than Di Pasquo. Leafs’ prospect Vyacheslav Peksa, by comparison, is almost two years older and had a .936 sv%. Third, Mayorov is 6’5” if you like your goalies taller. Like Di Pasquo, Mayorov was in a 1A/1B scenario on his team with an older goalie, and he clearly outperformed the other guy (.931 vs .906) on a team that missed the playoffs.
There isn’t a lot of analytics on Mayorov, I asked Josh Tessler and he pulled his save percentage by danger level.
- High danger: 77.6% — above average
- Medium danger: 90.4% — borderline elite
- Low danger: 98.1% — elite
My read is that Mayorov is a goalie who makes good use of his size. It’s a shame finding any videos or highlights of him is impossible, I’d like to see some examples of him dealing with chaos and scrambles to see how he moves. Despite that, he ticks all the boxes you’d like in a goalie. He has size, he has results, and he specifically has very good results relative to his age and level.
Murashov is the Russian goalie right behind Mayorov. He’s smaller at 6’0”, but I think time is showing that to not be the most important thing as long as they have skills to make up for it. His .927 sv% in 41 games is second behind Mayorov for their age group in the MHL. It’s a bit behind him, but in more games played which I do think can matter. He’s also just a bit older, with an April 1st, 2004 birthday so still one of the younger goalies I will include on this list.
In terms of his analytics, Murashov rates out as average for his vertical and horizontal movement speed compared to his peers. In terms of his save percentage by danger level, he rates out similar to Mayorov in terms of being among the leaders in all three, and very close to the top leader in specifically low danger shots. For rebound rates, Murashov is very good at not giving up rebounds on high danger shots but weaker for low danger shots relative to others. Overall, according to InStat Murashov is one of the top goalies in this draft for save percentage relative to expected save percentage. They don’t have data for all leagues/levels though, so I would not put too much stock into it.
Hävelid is a smaller goalie at 5’10”, which does make him more of a long shot as a potential NHL goalie than others. However, we’re talking about 7th rounders here and this year’s goalie pool is pretty weak. And if Hävelid was even 6’0”, he’d likely be ranked much higher. He was one of the top goalies in Sweden’s U20 level, and was their main goalie in U18 international tournaments. His .920 sv% was just behind the leader (.921), but he led the league in the playoffs by a pretty wide margin with a .925 sv%. At the World U18 Championship, Hävelid led Sweden to gold with a .929 in 5 games, including standing on his head against the powerhouse USA in the final.
Hävelid’s vertical and horizontal movement speed rates out very similar to Murashov, which is average for the goalie pool this year. He has one of the higher rebound rates for high danger shots, but is one of the very best not giving up rebounds for low and medium danger shots. His save percentage by danger level rates out as the same, unsurprisingly. He’d definitely be a swing given his size, but smaller goalies have succeeded in the NHL before and just by his performance he seems like one of the best this year.
What makes Ty Young interesting a goalie prospect is, ironically, the fact that he is one of the youngest goalies available. With a September 11th birthday, he’s only 5 days away from not being eligible until next year’s draft. He’s also 6’3”, which is a good height to have for a goalie. At first glance, his .899 sv% doesn’t look great but there are some contextual things to keep in mind.
First, his team — Prince George — was tied for the fourth worst record in the WHL. He also didn’t get into any WHL games until they started trading away their better players, including Taylor Gauthier who was signed by Pittsburgh recently to an ELC as an undrafted free agent, who was arguably the best goalie in the league this season. Prince George’s other goalie is Tyler Brennan, who Bob ranked as the best goalie in this year’s draft at 62nd overall. Despite being almost a full year older than Young (Sept 27, 2003) and being ranked so much higher, Brennan posted an identical .899 sv%.
In terms of analytics, Young rates as the fastest when it comes to moving horizontally and vertically. He also has better rebound control than Brennan basically across the board. He also has a better save percentage against low and medium danger shots, but is slightly worse against high danger shots. To me, as someone who can’t watch two goalies and break them down in terms of mechanics or projection, all of the contextual bits of information point to there being not much difference between Brennan and Young — if not having Young with the edge. I think I’d much rather swing on Young in the 7th round than gamble on Brennan in the 3rd.
I mean, come on. Ty Young is a highlight factory pic.twitter.com/PwiRWOZQYO— PG Cougars (@PGCougars) April 17, 2022
Nick Malik is the first overage goalie on this list. He was a fairly hyped prospect going into the 2020 draft, when he was draft eligible for the first time. He had good numbers in the Czech second tier pro league in the first half of the season (.927 in 19 games) but poor results in the OHL in the second half (.886), and went undrafted. Last year he returned to the second tier Czech pro league and had a .922 in 4 games, shortened from the pandemic.
This year, he played in the Liiga for KooKoo and was brilliant. His .922 sv% was good for fourth in the league, with two of the goalies ahead of him 3+ years older than him. His .926 sv% in the playoffs dragged his team through two upsets in the play-in round and first full round. He was especially good down the stretch. In the first half of the season, he had a .916 sv% in 24 games. In the second half (counting the playoffs) he had a .930 sv% and took the starting job to drag his team into and through the playoffs.
Malik is a 6’2” goalie, his scouting reports mark him as controlled in his crease with sharp, precise and quick movements in his crease. He’s been praised for his puck handling as a younger goalie, which may make all of our eyes twitch in PTSD flashbacks as Leafs fans. He seems like a goalie who was very much affected by the pandemic cutting his playing time. But let’s say the Leafs had drafted Malik in 2020. If he were in his D+2 season as a goalie, and he had this season in a pro league in Europe, we’d probably be pretty happy with it. So I’d be pretty happy swinging on him as a 7th round pick.
Vinogradov is a curious case. He’s a 6’2” Russian goalie, with a November 19, 2002 birthday. That means he’s born the same year as Malik, but only had his D+1 season this year. Last season he started in the NMHL, which is a level below the MHL. He dominated, having a .955 sv% in 17 games (and a 7-7-3 record?!?). He then skipped the MHL altogether right to the VHL, Russia’s second tier pro league. There he had 11 games and had a .932 sv% in 11 games, and a 3-6 record. This season he played the whole year in the VHL, totaling 26 games across two teams, where he had a .921 sv%.
I’m interested in Vinogradov because of something I wrote last year, when looking at how you can find an elite or just good NHL goalie. I found that the best source for drafting a goalie to make the NHL, become an above average NHL goalie, and becoming an elite NHL goalie were those who played any games at all in a European pro league in their draft year. Even if it was only a couple of games and their stats were crap, the fact that they played any pro games at all as an U18 goalie is a good sign they have potential.
And Vinogradov didn’t just play a couple of pro games, he played 11 and did very well. He followed that up this season playing the most games in the VHL for goalies his age or younger, with the best save percentage as well. This on the fourth worst team in the VHL who had an 15-31-6 record. He was chosen to be part of Russia’s World Junior team, but never got into a game due to its early cancellation. He is another of my top choices to swing on.
I was actually able to watch some of his VHL games this year, because their full games are replayable from their website. He looks like he has good positioning, is pretty calm, can move pretty quick, and didn’t give up many bad rebounds that I saw. The biggest issue I saw was... well, let’s just say I would want his skates chained to the net so he doesn’t try and play the puck. Ever. Aside from that, I like him a fair bit as a late round swing.
Jani Lampinen is a 6’2” Finnish goalie norn in March 2003, making him another D+1 overager this year. He is another goalie who may have missed out on some draft hype because of the pandemic. Last season, his draft year, he only played 9 total games in the U20 Finnish junior league. He was also the third goalie for Finland at the U18 World Championship tournament, but didn’t get into any games. This year, he started in the U20 level again before being promoted to the Mestis — Finland’s second tier pro league. There he had a .924 sv% in 14 games, and was his team’s starting goalie for the playoffs where he had a .912 in 9 games.
He doesn’t quite meet the “played pro games in his draft year”, but given how little he played in his draft year because of the pandemic, I do give him a slight nod to his performance this year in his D+1 year. I don’t like him as much as I do the goalies above, but if the Leafs did take him instead I’d trust their expertise, and I do think he may be worth a swing in the 7th round.
Which of these goalies would you most prefer to draft in the 7th round?
This poll is closed
Luca Di Pasquo