Sunday, June 28, 2009

Draft Observations – Part 2

The Goalie Odds

The Islanders drafted two goalies early on Saturday morning with Mikko Koskinen at # 31 in the second round and Anders Nilsson at # 62 in the third round. Add Stefan Ridderwall, a sixth rounder in 2006, and Kevin Poulin, drafted in the fifth round in 2008, the Islanders most likely have a starting or back-up goaltender of the future in their system.

Why am I so sure about that? Because teams are just as likely to find an NHL goaltender in the first or second round of the draft as they are in rounds three or four or five, six or seven.  Most goalies do bust before they get signed by their draft team, but by playing their odds over the last four draft, the Islanders have put themselves in good position to beat the odds.

Look at the 2001 draft:
- The Islanders drafted Rick DiPietro with the first overall pick. For better or for worse, he started an NHL All-Star Game and was the No. 1 goalie on the US Olympic team.

- The Calgary Flames drafted Brent Krahn ninth overall that year. He has played in one NHL game.

- Ilya Bryzgalov was drafted by Anaheim in the second round, 44th overall. Mathieu Chouinard was taken with the very next pick by Ottawa. That’s 189 NHL games vs. 1 NHL game, respectively.

- Peter Hamerlik (Pittsburgh, third round), Jean-Francois Racine (Toronto, third round), Stefan Liv (Detroit, fourth round) and a dozen more goalies were taken before the NY Rangers took Henrik Lundqvist in the seventh round, 205th overall.

All four Islanders prospect goalies I spoke about above could turn into busts. But with a wide selection of goalies, chances are one of them will make it. And with three of them European prospects, the Islanders will hold onto their rights for a long time unless a transfer agreement gets ratified by the IIHF.

Advantage: Islanders.

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