Today's profile is on MacKenzie Blackwood, a goaltender with the Barrie Colts in the OHL
MacKenzie Blackwood, Goalie, 6-Foot-4, 215 Pounds, Catches Left
MacKenzie Blackwood is one of the top goaltender prospects in this year's draft. He was the top ranked North American Goaltender by the NHL Central Scouting Services but he is likely to be the second goalie off the board at the draft.
Blackwood has the natural size that is expected in modern NHL goalies. Despite the fact he has only played goalie for six years he knows how to use his size well while not letting it become a hindrance either. He's a good butterfly goalie, covering the bottom of the net with his legs and having an impressive glove hand.
He's also not afraid of playing the puck, he knows when to come out and play the puck. His passing ability is also very good. Having a goalie who can play the puck is pretty important to the game; it is nearly like having a third defenseman when it comes to breaking out of the defensive zone.
When it comes to rebound control and his general calmness there are very good reviews. He is good for his age at controlling rebounds and getting things under control. It is an area that will continue to grow but it is still high end for a draft eligible goalie. He is also noted to be very calm and controlled in how he handles the game.
Like all goalies who are young there are areas that still need refining. Sometimes his positioning could do with being a little tighter. These are relatively minor issues for a goalie as young as MacKenzie Blackwood. A good goalie coach and a few years should polish out any rough parts of his game.
Blackwood has had an impressive rise, he was the third man for the Barrie Colts in 2013-2014 when he joined them as a rookie. He quickly seized the starting role and has been going upwards mostly, apart from one spell of injury early this season.
Will the Dallas Stars draft him? There is no doubt that MacKenzie Blackwood is a good goalie prospect but my instincts say that he'll be going higher than the Dallas Stars want to draft a goalie. It is a pretty good bet that he'll be drafted in either the second or third rounds.
The Stars will probably draft a goalie but I don't think they'll use a pick that early to draft one.
What do they say:
Already at 6'4″ tall, MacKenzie Blackwood has the ideal size that teams look for in goaltenders now. He uses that size effectively and comes out to challenge shooters and take away the amount of net they have to look at. He skates extremely well and can back up quickly to close down the net on dekes. Blackwood is almost always square to the shooter, even on cross ice passes as he gets across very quickly due to a strong leg push. He stays in control and avoids oversliding. Blackwood plays a strong butterfly technique with strong legs that take away the bottom of the net, and an excellent glove hand. While he has very good rebound control for a goalie his age, it still continue to be improved still. He does a very good job of recovering quickly and getting square to the puck when he does give up a rebound though.
"My strengths are probably my size and speed," says Blackwood, who has a 2.89 average and .912 save percentage across 31 games with Barrie, one of the Ontario Hockey League's more offensively oriented clubs. "My areas of improvement, what I need to work on, are probably playing the puck and reacting to shots as they're coming — not just blocking them. Always reading the play, watching where other players are on the ice.
"You can always work on everything in your game, but those are probably the biggest ones," the 18-year-old adds.