2011 NHL Entry Draft: Top 10 Goalies and Where They'll Go
Goalies are not usually a prime commodity in the NHL Entry Draft, and while the 2011 class of goalies certainly doesn't stand out, there may be a few surprises in the bunch, and certainly a potential starter or two.
In this class there is a healthy mix of North American and European goalies, and there are certainly some diamonds in the rough.
From the goalies eligible to be drafted, the following is a list of the top 10 goalies available, and where they may end up.
The top 10 is organized not by potential draft order, but in overall potential. Goalies lower in the rankings could potentially go higher then guys near the top of the list.
10. John Keeney
Current Team: Omaha Lancers
Stats: 30 GP, 2.23 GAA, .918 Sv%
You don't see too many quality netminders come out of the golden state, but John Keeney has started to turn some heads.
The Twin Peaks native has great athleticism, size and determination. His stats landed him among the USHL league leaders in goals against, and save percentage, and he was a big part in the Omaha Lancers' success this season.
Last season with the Lancers, Keeney recorded a 1.98 GAA and a .916 Sv% in 13 games played as a 16 year old.
He will not be a high pick in this draft, or he may not go at all, but with some time developing in the USHL and NCAA, he could turn into a very solid goalie.
Draft Position: undrafted
9. Mike Morrison
Current Team: Kitchener Rangers
Stats: 27 GP, 2.65 GAA, .912 Sv%
Splitting time with Brandon Maxwell in Kitchener, Morrison is starting to look more and more like a legitimate starting goalie. Look for Morrison to start in Kitchener next year or get dealt to a place where he will start on a frequent basis.
The Hamilton Ontario native has really stepped up his game this season, and was very impressive in three playoff starts with the Rangers, recording a .939 Sv%, and a 2.33 GAA.
While he needs to see some extra time, and to show that he can play consistently, Morrison could be one of those diamond in the rough goalies.
Draft Position: undrafted
8. Jordan Binnington
Current Team: Owen Sound Attack
Stats: 47 GP, 3.05 GAA, .899Sv%
Rated as the third best goalie in North America eligible for the draft, Binnington has likely seen his stock drop over the latter portion of the OHL season and playoffs.
Playing on one of the best teams in the Canadian Hockey League, Binnington's stats have been a little underwhelming. He has also lost the starting role in the playoffs to teammate and Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Michael Zador.
However the Owen Sound Attack have punched a ticket to the Memorial Cup Championships, and given a start or two he may regain some confidence and pick up some valuable experience.
Despite all this, he has made some progress from his underage season, and will continue to make progress as the starter next year with the Attack.
Binnington could go higher on the list, as he has a lot of potential still to be tapped.
Draft Position: 5th round to Atlanta Thrashers
7. Magnus Hellberg
Current Team: Almtuna
Stats: 31 GP, 2.04 GAA, .936 Sv%
Passed over in his draft year, the 20 year old will not be passed over again. Hellberg has really made a name for himself with Almtuna in hockey Allsvenkan (Sweden's second largest pro league).
Hellberg has played exceptionally well as of late, and his stats have improved significantly over his draft year.
The Swedish netminder is old enough to make his way into the AHL next season, or he could stay in Sweden and play amongst the best Swedish players, as he has a commitment with Frolunda in the Swedish Elites.
Hellberg will likely be a mid round pick this year, and if he continues to show improvement, could very well start some day in the NHL.
Draft Position: 6th round to Carolina
6. Michael Houser
Current Team: London Knights
Stats: 54 GP, 3.32 GAA, .904 Sv%
Michael Houser doesn't get a lot of credit in-net for the London Knights. Ranked 19th amongst North American goalies according to Central Scouting's final rankings, puts him potentially out of the draft entirely.
However, this Knight may be one of the best goalies in this draft class.
While his stats may not be the same as a Gibson or a Perhonen, Houser was still very solid in-net. He took the starting spot away from World Junior gold medallist, and Anaheim Ducks prospect Igor Bobkov. On a somewhat lacklustre London Knights squad, Houser gave the team a chance to win every night.
He may be a work in progress, but he is a very solid goalie, and will go higher then projected.
Draft Position: 6th round to Chicago
5. Jaroslav Pavelka
Current Team: HC Hradec Kralove
Stats: 45 GP, 2.69 GAA, .925 Sv%
Jaroslav Pavelka is a solid all around goalie. After having a great year in the Czech junior leagues, Pavelka may have finally made a name for himself.
According to Central Scouting Pavelka is quick, flexible, and strong in the butterfly position.
One thing that may lower his draft stock though, is his ability to play at a higher level. On several occasions, be it in international tournaments, or call-ups, Pavelka has not played to his potential. This may have scouts worried that he may never find his game.
With no commitments for next season the best course of action may be to join the Major Junior ranks in the Canadian Hockey League. With the CHL Import Draft taking place in late June, look for one of the teams to take a chance on Czech netminder.
Starting in the CHL would certainly help his development, and give him a very real chance of being a strong NHL goalie.
Draft Position: 4th round to Colorado
4. John Gibson
Current Team: USNDP
Stats: 17 GP, 2.38 GAA, .926 Sv%
Rated as the top North American goalie according to NHL Central Scouting, Gibson certainly could go much higher then 4th amongst goaltenders.
Gibson spent the past 2 seasons with the US development team in the USHL, compiling an impressive record for his age. Teamed up with fellow top goaltending prospect Matt McNeely, Gibson has really made a name for himself.
Gibson has won 2 gold medals with Team USA in the under 17 and under 18 tournaments. He compiled astounding records in both tournaments, including the top goaltender award in the U-18.
With a commitment to the University of Michigan for next year, Gibson will be able to develop into a strong goalie, and definitely has NHL starter potential.
Draft Position: 2nd round to St. Louis
3. Benjamin Conz
Current Team: Langnau
Stats: 46 GP, 2.98 GAA, .905 Sv%
Benjamin Conz would be my dark horse pick in net. Ranked third amongst European goalies, Conz does not get the credit or attention a goalie of his calibre deserves.
Conz first caught people's attention in the 2010 World Junior Championships in Saskatchewan. Playing for the Swiss junior team, Conz stole the show, standing on his head night in and night out, giving team Switzerland a fighting chance every game. Upon conclusion, Conz was selected for the tournament all-star team and was named the best goaltender in the tournament.
This past World championships Conz once again led the Swiss team with an impressive 2.97 GAA, and .918 Sv%.
Conz has steadily improved his game over the years, and has proven he can step up his game when the pressure is on.
Look for Benjamin Conz to be drafted higher than expected, and develop into a very solid goalie.
Draft Position: 4th round to Florida
2. Samu Perhonen
Current Team: JYP Jr.
Stats: 29 GP, 2.71 GAA, .922 Sv%
Samu Perhonen is another fine example of how Finland keeps producing outstanding goaltending prospects.
Perhonen is the top rated Euro goalie, and for good reason. He plays a very solid all around game, and really has shown that he can cover all areas of the net. With no real weaknesses Perhonen has really stepped into focus for a lot of NHL teams.
The differences between Perhonen and my number one pick are tiny, and either one has a legitimate chance of being selected in the first round of the draft.
Perhonen has that elite goalie potential, and that will be very hard to pass on in the draft.
Draft Position: 2nd round to Boston Bruins
1. Christopher Gibson
Current Team: Chicoutimi Sagueneens
Stats: 37 GP, 2.42 GAA, .922 Sv%
It should be no surprise to anyone that yet another Finn tops the list for the top goalies available in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
Playing for Chicoutimi in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Gibson had an amazing sophomore season, putting up the second best goals against average, the second most shutouts (4), and the leagues best save percentage. In fact Gibson's .920 save percentage puts him tied for second best in the 60 team Canadian Hockey League.
Gibson's talent is undeniable, he has developed in every aspect of his game, and continues to improve. What is most impressive about his game, is that he can put up such great numbers in a league that is very much an offensive powerhouse.
While he may not have had the same success in the World Juniors as he has had in Chicoutimi, with a couple more years in the "Q" he could very well be one of the better goaltending prospects out there. Which is what puts him atop the rest in the top 10 goalies for 2011.
Draft Position: 1st round to San Jose
Next Week we will take a look at the top 10 defencemen available in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft