Greetings Keeper League GMs!
In this, the second installment in the Top 100 Prospects series, we feature the Top 20 prospect goaltenders.
2. Probability of realizing a player's full potential,
3., Track record of team/coaching staff in developing prospects,
4. Flight risk (esp. those "enigmatic" Russians),
5. ETA to the NHL, and
NOTE: A "Prospect" is not strictly defined, however, a player's rights must be owned by an NHL franchise. Generally speaking, skaters on this list will have played in something less than a full season in the NHL and goalies will have played 25 games or less at the NHL level.
So, let's get to the rankings...
1. Robin Lehner
Born Jul 24 1991 -- Gothenburg, Sweden
Height 6.03 -- Weight 220 -- Shoots R
Selected by Ottawa Senators round 2 #46 overall 2009 NHL Entry Draft
Lehner is Ottawa's goaltender of the future. He currently leads the AHL with a .938 Save% and has all the physical tools to excel at the next level. Lehner is a hybrid butterfly goalie with excellent lateral movement, especially for a big man, and he possesses excellent intangibles including a most excellent demeanor in the face of adversity. Craig Anderson is signed through the 2014-15 season, and Ben Bishop will provide strong competition, but the ceiling on Lehner is simply phenomenal.
2. Viktor Fasth
Born Aug 8 1982 -- Kalix, Sweden
Height 6.00 -- Weight 192 -- Shoots L
Signed as Free Agent by Anaheim Ducks on 5.21.12
Fasth is a veteran of the SEL where he won back-to-back Honken Trophy awards as the #1 netminder in Sweden. He plays a hybrid butterfly-standup style, is a fiery competitor, and possesses superior reflexes. Fasth is also durable, consistent, and resilient. In other words, he has everything it takes to be a workhorse goaltender. Fasth turned in a series of terrific performances in January and February which earned him a 2-year contract extension with Anaheim.
Born Jul 25 1994 -- Tyumen, Russia
Height 6.03 -- Weight 204
Selected by Tampa Bay Lightning round 1 #19 overall 2012 NHL Entry Draft
Tampa Bay simply could not pass on the Russian phenom and made Vasilevski the 1st goaltender taken in the 2012 draft. He plays a butterfly style with precision form and superb athleticism. He chooses his angles smartly, squares up well, and possesses excellent size all of which he uses to aggressively challenge shooters. As an 18 year old, Vasilevski is still multiple years away from The Show. When he arrives, the big Russian has the intangibles to go along with the physical skills to be a Top 10 netminder .
Born Jan 31 1990 -- Gavle, Sweden
Height 6.06 -- Weight 195 -- Shoots L
Selected by Florida Panthers round 2 #31 overall 2008 NHL Entry Draft
Markström is having another fine year in the A on a subpar San Antonio Rampage team: 16-15-2, 2.65, and .920, and even better numbers in three appearances for the Florida Panthers. He is known for being extremely competitive and yet calm and collected at the same time. Exactly the mental disposition you want from your netminder. At 6'6", he is one of tallest and most physically imposing goaltenders in hockey. Unfortunately, he's been dogged by knee injuries which have slowed his development. Nonetheless, few have serious doubts that he will make it as a starter in the NHL. Given the season-ending injury to Jose Theodore, the future is now for Markström.
5. John Gibson
Born Jul 14 1993 -- Pittsburgh, PA
Height 6.03 -- Weight 212 -- Shoots R
Selected by Anaheim Ducks round 2 #39 overall 2011 NHL Entry Draft
Gibson made headlines this January by leading Team USA to gold at the World Juniors in Ufa, Russia. His maturity and mental resiliency are uniformly lauded, and he has a big frame and technical proficiency in spades. Although he lacks the high-end athleticism of those ahead of him in these rankings, he has the intangibles to overcome any physical shortcomings. He will, however, need to stay healthy as his durability is sometimes questioned (a hip injury is his injury du jour, although he is expected to return any day now). If he continues on his current trajectory, the 19 year old will be stopping pucks in the NHL in a few years.
6. Eddie Lack
Born Jan 5 1988 -- Norrtalje, Sweden
Height 6.05 -- Weight 196 -- Shoots R
Signed as Free Agent by Vancouver Canucks in 2010
Läck is yet another tall, Swedish goaltender to grace to the top of these rankings. His style is hybrid butterfly and he demonstrates excellent agility and reflexes between the pipes. He was coming off two excellent seasons in the AHL (.925 and .926) when he signed a 2-year deal with the Canucks this past summer. This year, he's on a two-way contract, and next season he will be on a one-way with a guaranteed NHL salary of $750,000. That's a good indication that Canucks management expects him to be the #2 (to someone?!?) for their 2013-14 campaign. Complicating matters somewhat is the hip surgery Läck underwent in January. Still, when the dust settles on the Roberto Luongo imbroglio, it would not be surprising to see Lack in the NHL as early this October.
Born Dec 21 1993 -- Rexdale, ONT
Height 6.02 -- Weight 201 -- Shoots L
Selected by Boston Bruins round 1 #24 overall 2012 NHL Entry Draft
Subban was the 2nd goaltender off the board in the 2012 draft. He's shown a steady progression in the OHL minding the nets for the Belleville Bulls. And while he is still years away from The Show, it is hard not to get excited by his lightning reflexes and acrobatic saves. Subban possesses explosive lateral agility and a flair for the bold. He didn't have the best World Juniors tournament, and his technique needs refinement, but the sky is the limit for P.K.'s younger brother.
Born Aug 7 1992 -- Waterdown, ONT
Height 6.02 -- Weight 201 -- Shoots L
Selected by Phoenix Coyotes round 1 #27 overall 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Visentin had a stellar final season for the OHL's Niagra Ice Dogs posting a sparkling 30-9-2 record and ratios of 1.99 and .926 in the 2011-12 campaign. This year, his first in the AHL, Visentin is splitting time with Chad Johnson on a solid Portland team. His numbers there are less immediately impressive: 11-9-1, 2.85, and .909, but his transition has nonetheless been considered a success. Visentin is the Coyotes goaltender of the future, and while he will require additional seasoning most expect he will make the jump successfully.
The 1st goaltender off the board in the 2010 draft, Campbell's junior career has been a bumpy one to say the least. It didn't help that his Windsor team played a wide open style that often left him exposed, but his numbers there were resoundingly underwhelming. Campbell has been better now that he is with the AHL's Texas Stars. This year, he's 13-9-3, 2.58, and .906. Not terrific, but he's stabilizing, showing improvement. The key with Campbell is that he has all the physical tools--and raw talent of his caliber will land you in the Top 10. Like most young goalies, he just needs to find consistency in his game.
10. Ben Bishop
Born Nov 21 1986 -- Denver, CO
Height 6.07 -- Weight 205 -- Shoots L
Selected by St. Louis Blues round 3 #85 overall 2005 NHL Entry Draft
Bishop is a good technical goaltender who covers his angles well. Given his size,when he's "on" he can appear impenetrable. Coming into last night's game, "The Altitudinous One" was playing so well for Ottawa this season: 4-3-0, 2.15 and .938, that it wouldn't be surprising to see another team make a play for his services. His name comes up in rumors rather frequently given the logjam the Senators have at the top of their goaltending depth chart. If he is moved, it will likely be for an opportunity to earn a #1 role.
11. Karri Rämö
Born Jul 1 1986 -- Asikkala, Finland
Height 6.02 -- Weight 192 -- Shoots R
Selected by Tampa Bay Lightning round 6 #191 overall 2004 NHL Entry Draft
Calgary acquired Rämö along with Mike Cammalleri, and a 2012 5th round pick from Montreal in the deal that sent Rene Bourque, Patrick Holland, and a 2013 2nd round pick to Montreal. Cammalleri and Bourque were the headliners, but Rämö could prove to be a shrewd under-the-radar acquistion. Calgary's goaltending situation is a mess. Kipper is signed for one more year, but father time is catching up with him and, even before his extended stay on IR, he was posting crooked numbers this season. Rämö meanwhile has been dominant in the KHL this season for Avangard Omsk: 26-9-5 (4 shutouts), 1.54 and .929. He's the type of "back-up" who can challenge for the #1 gig as soon as October--provided he comes to North America, that is.
12. Magnus Hellberg
Born Apr 4 1991 -- Uppsala, Sweden
Height 6.05 -- Weight 196 -- Shoots R
Selected by Nashville Predators round 2 #38 overall 2011 NHL Entry Draft
Owner of undoubtedly the finest name of any goaltender, ever, Magnus Hellberg was the 1st goaltender selected in the 2011 draft. Nashville has a penchant for tall, Swedish, athletic, albeit raw, goalie prospects, and Hellberg is the latest to win the Mitch Korn lottery. While he is considered somewhat of a project, if anyone can transform him into an NHL starter it's Korn. His recent progress has been encouraging. Just last week, Hellberg was named AHL Goaltender of the Month after going reeling off six consecutive wins (including two shutouts) for the Admirals with sparkling ratios: 1.36 and .950.
13. Petr Mrazek
Born Feb 14 1992 -- Ostrava, Czech Rep.
Height 6.01 -- Weight 187 -- Shoots L
Selected by Detroit Red Wings round 5 #141 overall 2010 NHL Entry Draft
What he lacks in size, Mrazek makes up for with his vision and competitiveness. On almost every goaltending scout's top prospects list, he was up for a cup of coffee this year for Detroit. Mrazek started 2 games, got his 1st NHL win, and posted a 2.01 and .922. At Grand Rapids so far this year he is 18-9-1, 2.34, and .915. So, for the most part, he's living up to the hype. Just beware that he's still several years away from a regular gig in the NHL.
14. Niklas Svedberg
Born Sep 4 1989 -- Sollentuna, Sweden
Height 6.01 -- Weight 176 -- Shoots R
On opening night, Michael Hutchinson got the nod in net for the Providence Bruins, but shortly thereafter Svedberg took over as the teams #1. At present, he leads all AHL netminders with 27 wins versus 7 losses and 2 OTLs. His ratios are stout too: 2.26 and .921. Svedberg is a bit on the small side and not all that impressive in practice, but he battles fiercely (he's known for having a bad temper) and his intangibles translate directly into wins. Does that sound like another recent Bruins goaltender to you?
15. Alex Stalock
Born Jul 28 1987 -- South St. Paul, MN
Height 6.00 -- Weight 185 -- Shoots L
Selected by San Jose Sharks round 4 #112 overall 2005 NHL Entry Draft
In 2011, Stalock made his NHL debut in a back up role to Antii Niemi. He played 30 minutes and stopped every shot he faced. Shortly thereafter he was reassigned to Worcester, and, in a game against Manchester, he got stepped on and a skate blade sliced a nerve behind his knee. That gruesome injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season. After surgery, he attacked rehab, and was back on the ice in under a year. Last month, splitting starts with Harri Sateri, Alex posted a 3-2-0 record to go along with sparkling ratios: 1.41 and .955. Yes, he's back. And in one of the best goaltender systems in the league.
16. Calvin Pickard
Born Apr 15 1992 -- Winnipeg, MAN
Height 6.01 -- Weight 208 -- Shoots L
Selected by Colorado Avalanche round 2 #49 overall 2010 NHL Entry Draft
Already having earned a reputation as a workhorse, Pickard projects as an NHL starter in the not too distant future. Don't let his numbers fool you. He's played on some really bad teams. Pickard is technically sound and can handle facing a lot of rubber without it crushing his confidence. Varlamov and Giguere both have one more year on their contracts, so barring injury, don't expect to see Pickard in The Show until the 2014-15 season. All things considered though that wouldn't be all that long to wait.
17. Anton Khudobin
Born May 7 1986 -- Ust-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan
Height 5.11 -- Weight 199 -- Shoots R
Selected by Minnesota Wild round 7 #206 overall 2004 NHL Entry Draft
Khudobin is an undersized, unconventional netminder who has had almost uncanny success at the NHL level. The diminutive Russian's numbers in 11 GP are 8-2-0, 1.83, and .940. It helps that he plays for Boston. Over the past several seasons, the Bruins have been the most goaltender-friendly franchise for which to play. Rask is a RFA and although he is likely to be re-signed, recent history has shown that being the #2 in Boston is a pretty good spot from which to launch a goaltender's career.
18. Martin Jones
Born Jan 10 1990 -- North Vancouver, BC
Height 6.04 -- Weight 187 -- Shoots R
When will Jonathan Bernier be traded? Seems like we've been asking that question for three years now, because, well, we have. If/when Bernier is moved, Jones is next on the organizational depth chart for the Kings. The undrafted Jones has been solid again for the Monarchs this season (16-19-3, 2.51 and .919). That makes 3 years in a row of very steady performances and that kind of consistency eventually gets rewarded.
19. Darcy Kuemper
Born May 5 1990 -- Saskatoon, SASK
Height 6.04 -- Weight 212 -- Shoots L
Selected by Minnesota Wild round 6 #161 overall 2009 NHL Entry Draft
It seems a bit odd that Kuemper was once considered a goalie with a big frame that was a "bit of a project." Since his breakout year in 2010-2011 with the Red Deer Rebels, he has been a consistently excellent performer. This season with Houston, Kuemper was 10-6-0 with a 1.79 goals-against average, .938 save percentage, and four shutouts, prior to his first taste of NHL action. It was his success, and the confidence it breeds, that made him the callup of choice last month (over Matt Hackett). In 4 games with the Wild, Kuemper has not disappointed. He's allowed a stingy 2.22 goals against average while registering a commendable .924 save percentage. Bottom line: over the past few years, he's had success at every level, and his arrow is pointing up.
Born -- Edmundston, NB
[27 yrs. ago]
Height 6.00 -- Weight 191 -- Shoots L
Desjardins's best attribute is his focus. He's a butterfly goalie with impressive reflexes, but what sets him apart is his mental approach. This is sometimes overlooked as we ooh and aah over a prospect's size or draft pedigree, but it is absolutely essential. Without it, literally, nothing else matters. Desjardins was re-acquired by the Tampa Lightning just last month. That organization knows him well and wanted him back for good reason. Last year, he led the AHL in save percentage: .932 and was 3rd in GAA at 2.11. This season, his time with Hamilton was marred by injury, but he's back at full steam and crunching it for Syracuse: .928 and 1.85. Desjardins is the type of darkhorse that could end up an NHL starter if the cards fall right. In Tampa, Lindback has underwhelmed, and he's only signed for 1 more year. Garon has been semi-decent as a backup, but he's 35 years old, on the slow fade, and an UFA in July. Desjardins could be in the NHL sooner than later.