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Abel to Yzerman

Drafting A Goalie With A High Pick In The First Round

07/12/2021 at 1:00pm EDT

from Travis Yost of TSN,

There are at least two interesting wrinkles with this year’s draft class. The first is a relative consensus of higher uncertainty surrounding prospect evaluation, the byproduct of less scouting and intermittent league schedules borne from the pandemic.

The second is a fascinating Swedish goaltending prospect in the form of Jesper Wallstedt.

Wallstedt – playing with Luleå HF in the Swedish Elite League as an 18-year-old – has emerged as the best goaltending prospect of the class. It should be noted that Edmonton Oil Kings netminder Sebastian Cossa is close behind Wallstedt and is also projected to be selected in the top half of the first round, which would make this an extraordinary draft year for goaltending prospects.

Wallstedt has always played above his age group through his developmental years, and his first taste of high-level professional competition saw him turn in a 90.8 save percentage in the 2020-21 season.

At last check-in with TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Wallstedt was ranked 10th on the draft board, opening up the door for the possibility of a team using a high draft pick on a goalie.

Teams have been increasingly gun-shy around goaltenders for a while now – less likely to use valuable picks on them, and certainly less likely to offer lucrative contracts to them when they are active NHL players.

read on

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