The New York Islanders need a goalie for the NHL roster, and they need a goalie to add to the prospect pipeline. Neither should be accomplished by picking one in the first round, however. That's because goalies are maddeningly hard to project -- and even if you believe in picking them in the first, none should be selected at #15.
All draft picks are gambles, none more so than these masked men. Just agree to wait for later, then sign a superior skating in Scandinavia somewhere.
That said, people are going to ask, and goalies are going to get picked somewhere; the Isles may very well add one too, as they haven't drafted one since Mikko Koskinen and Anders Nilsson in 2009, er I mean the mysterious Cody Rosen in 2010.
Here's a quick look at some of the top-rated ones for Sunday's 2013 NHL Draft.
Zachary Fucale, Halifax (QMJHL)
Lanky goaltender with strong technical skills and quick reaction time... Lauded for his ability to handle big workload of games without burning out... Butterfly style goaltender who can sometimes be burned cheating early... Needs to continue to improve his strength...
Craig Button (I had to share this one because this write-up is none more Button. There can be no more Button than this.):
Zach is the type of goalie who wins games. He has excellent sense and awareness and understands the situation his team is in at any given moment and he responds with play that stymies opponents and buoys the confidence of his team. He is a morale booster for his team and a morale deflator for opposing teams. His skills are very good with lateral mobility and a very good positional approach to the game. He excels mentally in that he makes the saves when it matters and is outstanding at 'parking mistakes' and learning from them at the same time.
Definitely consider him over the type of goalie who loses games.
THN Draft Preview:
"Last year he looked better [because] he faced 35 shots a game," one scout said. "Now he's facing 20 and learning a new skill: keeping his head in the game. He's very good down low and side-to-side. Pucks hit him."
"Mature beyond his age," another scout said. "Goes about his job quietly. Not flashy."
Hockey Prospectus (Corey Pronman):
This year, he was one of the top goalies in the QMJHL, and he certainly has several interesting qualities, such as his hockey sense and panic threshold. For a U-18 goaltender, he looks very advanced and collected in net. His movements are very subtle, and he squares up pucks well. He has quick, powerful feet that allow him to move across the crease and position himself efficiently. Fucale's game, however, is called into question by some scouts who do not believe he has a game-breaking ability to make a high-athleticism second or third save...
Eric Comrie, Tri-City (WHL)
Season ending hip surgery derailed what was shaping up to be a great sophomore seasonâ€¦ Well rounded goalie with strong ability to track the play and reaction timeâ€¦ Competitor who consistently gives his team a chance to winâ€¦ Needs to improve strength for lateral movement in the crease.
Hip surgery? Grab that guy!
Eric has the qualities of a workhorse goaltender. He reads plays very well and gets himself into position to close off chances. He moves well and doesn’t compromise his positioning in doing so. Very good lateral quickness and agility.
Other names further down the list:
Tristan Jarry, Edmonton (WHL)
ISS: 2 (g) | CSS: 3 (NA g) | TSR: 51
Has had a big season as the understudy to Laurent Brossoit ... Plays a throwback hybrid style of goaltending... Likes to challenge shooters and come out to the white ice ... Hasn't had the workload of some of his peers but that shouldn't hurt his stock come draft day
Eamon McAdam, Waterloo (USHL)
ISS: 3 (g) | CSS: 6 (NA g)
Good luck with all that.