2015 NHL Draft: What Late Round Goalies Could The Dallas Stars Target?
As the 2015 NHL Draft approaches it is time to have a look at a few prospects who the Dallas Stars could select at the draft.
In the past three years the Dallas Stars have selected a goaltender in each draft. It has been stated, though I can no longer find the article online, that the Stars will aim to draft a goaltender every year.
It is a pretty sound bet that the Dallas Stars will continue to follow this trend and select another goaltender this year. When they decide to go the goaltender route is an interesting question. In the last three drafts the Dallas Stars have used a second round pick (Philippe Desrosiers 2013), a fourth round pick (Brent Moran 2014) and a fifth round pick (Henri Kiviaho 2012) to select goaltenders.
With the Stars having only two picks in the top 100, 12 and 47, it seems unlikely that they'll use a pick that high to select a goalie. It is much more likely that the Dallas Stars will decide to choose a goalie in the later rounds. This means that some of the top goalies will have already been drafted by the time they decide to select a goaltender. Prospects like MacKenzie Blackwood and Ilya Samsonov are going to have already been drafted.
However there are some interesting goaltender prospects who should still be available from the fourth round onwards. There is obviously some guess work involved here and it depends if a team has taken a shine to a particular goalie prospects.
So who are the candidates and what is the likelihood that the Dallas Stars will select them, or that they'll still be available when the Stars turn their minds to netminders.
Daniel Vladar, 6-foot-5, 185 Pounds, Catches Left, Kladno (Czech Juniors)
Daniel Vladar is one of the top rated goalies following the duo of MacKenzie Blackwood and Ilya Samsonov. He's a very big goalie and can move pretty well for a player of his size. Despite his big frame there is still room to bulk up and to become physically stronger
He's spent time this season playing for the big club in the Czech Republic and their U20 team. He's one of the youngest players in the draft, having his birthday in late August.
He is a very mature and calm goalie, even during the big stage games. There are issues with his game and technique but nothing out of the ordinary for a young goalie. Generally he has the whole package in terms of potential. He'd take a few years to develop but everything is there for him to become an NHL goalie in the future. It is just a matter of putting it all together.
Will the Dallas Stars draft him? It is possible but Vladar is a borderline third or fourth round pick. I find it hard to see him dropping out of the top 100 picks but it's possible he could be there for the Dallas Stars fourth round pick.
Veini Vehvilainen, 6-foot, 180 Pounds, Catches Left, JYP Jyvaskyla (Finland 2)
Veini Vehvilainen doesn't the size that jumps out at you for a goalie prospect. But he's got a lot of talent and has excelled in the Finnish adult second division in the past year. He also performed very well for Finland in the U18 tournaments.
He's another calm goalie but he's got excellent positioning and some of the best reflexes out of this year's goalie draft class. Vehvilainen is a consistent goaltender who keeps his head up and in the game no matter what the score is. He doesn't become disheartened and he constantly communicates with his teammates.
Positioning wise and technique wise he plays at a high level, staying in his crease and tracking the puck well. There aren't any real glaring weaknesses in his game but his puck handling skills aren't particularly impressive and some of his movement could do with being a little faster.
Overall he has a lot of potential and has shown he can consistently play at a high level. He'll likely spend a few more years in Europe playing after the draft but the tools are there for him to become a good goaltender.
It is hard to predict where Vehvilainen will be drafted, I can see him going early in the third round but it wouldn't surprise me if he's still available in the fourth round.
Samuel Montembeault, 6-foot-2, 173 Pounds, Catches Left, Blainville-Boisbriand (QMJHL)
Samuel Montembeault was one of the top goaltenders in the QMJHL. He won 33 games of the 52 games he played in his second season in the QMJHL and he finished with a 2.59GAA and a 0.891SVS%.
He's a big and prototypical butterfly goaltender. He's got a fast glove hand and is very good at using his size to make the saves. Most of his saves are made from his knees in the butterfly position. He's an intelligent goaltender, tracking the play and calculating how it is going to develop and adapting to suit the changing situation.
He rose up the rankings during an impressive performance at the CHL Top Prospects game back in January. There is a lot of potential there and his numbers for the QMJHL are quite impressive.
Montembeault is another one of those goaltenders I think could still be available in the fourth round but I wouldn't be surprised to see go off the board in the third.
Matej Tomek, 6-foot-3, 185 Pounds, Catches Left, Topeka (NAHL)
Matej Tomek is a Slovak goalie who came to the USA this season to play in the NAHL and will be attending the University of North Dakota next season. He was named goaltender of the year for the NAHL after finishing the season with a 1.83GAA and a 0.928SVS%.
Tomek is a big lanky goaltender who is very quick and athletic. He can change his positioning very quickly, allowing himself to adjust to where the next shot is coming from so he can make the stop.
He moves very well in his crease and can get from post to post quickly to stop any potential wraparounds. When the puck leaves the danger zone Tomek can be seen to relax, only resetting his position when the puck begins to return towards his own zone.
While he is playing in the NAHL his numbers are still quite impressive. If he can continue to show that kind of performance while continuing to improve his game in the NCAA he could become a good goalie.
Matej Tomek could be drafted anywhere from the third round or beyond. It is possible he'll be available to draft when the Stars start to think about picking a goalie but I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't.
Michael McNiven, 6-foot-1, 205 Pounds, Catches Right, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Michael McNiven is one of those goaltenders that I found quite intriguing. He's slightly smaller than the idealised size for an NHL goaltender, though not a tiny goaltender either. He's got lots of skills and talent but there are significant elements in his game that need to working on.
He can push himself too much in the crease, resulting in sliding out of the crease. Apart from this he generally is positionally sound and knows how to play the angles well on the first shot chances. This lack of control isn't just limited to his crease movement, he also has some issues with kicking out rebounds to opposing players.
But this is his first season in the OHL, he's had some particularly bad moments but he has also shown some very good ones too. He has a very good glove hand and technically he plays well. His problem comes from a lack of control; something that can be worked on and refined. It isn't a particularly uncommon issue, especially for a goalie playing in his first season in the OHL.
McNiven is a longshot but he is the type of goaltender you take a flyer on in the very late rounds and hope it works out for the best.
Joren Van Pottelberghe, 6-foot-2, 200 Pounds, Catches Left, Linkoping J18 (Sweden Juniors)
Joren Van Pottelberghe is a Swiss goaltender that is plying his trade in the Swedish Juniors. He's a big, calm goaltender both in Sweden and on the international stage for Switzerland.
He's an aggressive goaltender, making the majority of his saves outside of his own crease. He is good at sealing away the bottom of the net when the play does come in close but this also leaves the top half of the net open despite his size.
Van Pottelberghe is an athletic goaltender that is very useful when it comes to scrambles infront of the net. He maintains some composure here, at least keeping up positioning. It's this ability to keep his cool and his positioning that has led to his reputation for being a cool goaltender.
His main weakness is his skating, he moves slowly when it comes to moving around the crease but that is something that can be worked on with a goalie coach.
Joren Van Pottelberghe is another project goalie that could come together given another time and refinement. He'll likely be drafted late in the draft and spend many years in Sweden and the rest of Europe developing his game.