Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 05/25/14 at 08:05 AM ET
The Toronto Sun's Steve Simmons discusses a multitude of topics in his Sunday column, but this one struck me as most pertinent given the fact that player development continues to evolve into a more systematic and borderline scientific practice in every "skater" position, but not in goal:
When the Maple Leafs selected Mikael Tellqvist with the 70th pick in the 2000 NHL Draft, not only did they believe they were getting the best young goaltender in Sweden, but they thought they were getting the most NHL-ready goalie.
They were correct about Tellqvist — he played his first game for the Leafs in the 2002-03 season, three years before the best goalie from that class would emerge. That goalie’s name: Henrik Lundqvist.
Lundqvist was the 22nd goalie chosen that year, the third Swede taken: Rick DiPietro was the first pick of that draft and a goalie named Brent Krahn went in the first round to Calgary as well. Krahn went on to play one period of NHL hockey and it wasn’t for the Flames.
Lundqvist has grown into a generational goaltender and the lesson about scouting goaltenders is clear — nobody really knows.
Ed Belfour and Curtis Joseph were never drafted. The Flames once traded up to get Trevor Kidd when Martin Brodeur was available. Craig Billington and Daryl Reaugh were taken ahead of Patrick Roy in 1984.
And the goalie selected just before Jonathan Quick was taken by Los Angeles: Kristofer Westblom? He spent this season stopping pucks for the Brampton Beast.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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