Ranking the top goaltenders at the NHL Draft (5-1)
Today, however, the topic at hand is goalies.
Here are the top-five netminders available in the upcoming draft:
5. Felix Sandstrom, Brynas Jr., Sweden
Sweden has produced the likes of current NHLers Henrik Lundqvist, Eddie Lack, Jonas Gustavsson, and Jhonas Enroth and the 18-year-old Sandstrom could be the next stud goaltender to come out of the country.
The Swede spent the majority of the 2014-15 season with Brynas of the Super Elite league, entering 14 games and recording a goals-against average of 2.63.
He also appeared as part of Sweden's Under-18 team at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial, splitting time between the pipes with Adam Werner, while posting a GAA of 3.35.
His twin brother, Simon, a defenseman, also plays in the Super Elite league.
4. Samuel Montembeault, Blainville-Boisbriand, QMJHL
The 18-year-old netminder was ranked as the second-best goaltender available from the Q after Callum Booth by NHL Central Scouting and ranked as one of the top-three overall from North America.
"Montembeault is one of the best goalies in this draft, might be the best when it's all said and done," one scout told Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News. "He's big, athletic and calm ... he's got it all."
The Quebec native is tall and lanky – at 6-foot-3, 166 pounds – and sported a fantastic 33-11-7 record for the Armada in 2014-15.
His GAA increased from 2.35 to 2.59, which could be a concern, but he did play 38 more games than the season before, logging close to 3,500 minutes in total for his squad.
3. Callum Booth, Quebec, QMJHL
The netminder, who will be 18 by the time the draft hits, was the top goaltender for the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL.
NHL Central Scouting has him listed as the No. 2 netminder available from North America and that should be where he ends up on draft day, thanks to a number of outstanding traits.
"Callum is very composed and confident. He has excellent positional play and net coverage and is strong in all areas. He has great instincts and reads and reacts to plays very well," according to Al Jensen of NHL Central Scouting.
The Montreal native played over 2,400 minutes for the Remparts split between the regular season and playoffs and posted a record of 23-13-2 in 41 regular-season games to go along with two shutouts.
2. Mackenzie Blackwood, Barrie, OHL
The Barrie Colts netminder should be the first North American goaltender drafted in June.
The 18-year-old beast posted an impressive record of 33-14-2 for the Colts in the regular season.
The youngster impressed Kennedy at the Draft Combine.
Blackwood finished third overall and these combines aren't necessarily geared towards netminders. But if you think about it, Blackwood's explosiveness would serve him well when pushing off from side-to-side in the crease. And with his 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame, he's already covering a lot of net.
1. Ilya Samsonov, Magnitogorsk Metallurg, Russia
The top-ranked goaltender outside of North America comes in the form of Samsonov, who is slated by TSN's Bob McKenzie to be the first netminder drafted in June and saves like the one below show why.
The 18-year-old Russian stud has gone from a 5.71 GAA and a .887 save percentage at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in 2013-14 to a 2.67 GAA at the IIHF U-17 World Championship and he's growing in size – and potential – by the second.
Craig Button, TSN's Director of Scouting had the following to say about the youngster.
Combines essential elements of size and athletic ability to be imposing in the net and make scoring difficult. He is very aware and reads the play well and is quick to close down the net. An ultra competitor who never gives up on a play. With normal technical refinement, he can become a star.
He currently stands 6-foot-3 and weighs in at 201 pounds and could become a franchise-changing goaltender that any team would love to have in its system.