Filed under: Europe, NHL Entry Draft, OHL, QMJHL, USHL, WHL | Tags: campbell, conz, gibson, houser, mccollum, perhonen, pickard
Draft Dilemma is a daily feature on Future Considerations leading up to the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. FC’s Andrew Weiss polls his Twitter followers on if a prospect will go before or after a particular pick. Follow Andrew at @WeissFC to participate!:
Last year saw Jack Campbell go 11th overall and Mark Visentin go 27th.
The 2009 draft saw no goaltenders selected while in 2008 Chet Pickard and Thomas McCollum went in the first round.
The trend continues of the alternating goaltender-less first round and goaltenders going in the first round in the ‘07 and ‘06 drafts as well.
Will this year continue the trend and see no goaltenders in Friday’s first round? Will the United States’ John Gibson or Finland’s Chris Gibson hear their name called first? Will 20-year-old Benjamin Conz be selected after being passed over twice before? While all the goaltending uncertainty will be answered by Saturday afternoon, Twitter draft followers largely see eye to eye in their predictions today on this year’s crop of eligible goaltenders.
The followers have spoken and largely believe that the alternating trend will continue into its sixth year. With that being said, tweets rolled in with confidence that University of Michigan-bound John Gibson will be the first goaltender selected in front of Chicoutimi Sagueneens goaltender Christopher Gibson.
“I can’t get a good handle of Christopher Gibson,” tweeted Montreal native @GGpX. “Doesn’t have a great glove hand, lateral movement is mediocre at best, he doesn’t look big in the net, but he finds a way to stop pucks,”
When last year’s draft was said and done, many draft analysts were left scratching their heads as Swiss goaltender Benjamin Conz was not among the 21 goaltenders selected over the seven rounds despite a huge performance in the 2010 World Junior Championships. This year, Twitter believes Conz, for the third year and final year of his eligibility, will not be selected.
“Big goalies are all the rage in the NHL these days, not fire hydrants with goalie pads like Conz,” @twharry tweeted. “Don’t get me wrong, I like Conz and love what he’s done. I just don’t know that he’s going to be drafted.”
@WeissFC’s Prediction (in slightly more than 140 characters)
While it is fairly certain that there are no Campbell’s in this year’s draft that will be a lottery pick, the mystery is whether or not there will be a player that sneaks into the first round, like Visentin going to Phoenix, based on a team’s needs. In this year’s bottom third of the first round, there really is not a team like Phoenix that was missing a solid goaltending prospect. It is debatable on whether or not Anaheim, who holds the 22nd pick, has a cloudy goaltending future, but that is discussion for another day. I am confident that the trend will continue and both Gibson’s will have to wait until early Saturday to hear their name called.
After watching John Gibson play for the US NTDP the last two seasons, I see a very high ceiling for first team all-star in this year’s U18 World Championships. I believe he will go high in the second round. On the other hand, Christopher Gibson may not even be the first Finnish goaltender selected in this year’s draft. Lots of scouts like Samu Perhonen, despite having a poor U18 tournament that saw Finland place fifth, over Christopher Gibson. For the record, Perhonen is ranked 52nd and Christopher Gibson is 61st in Future Consideration’s final draft rankings.
Benjamin Conz is the most common name in a crop of overagers in this year’s draft may have the most depth compared to most recent years. I think Conz will be among the group of overagers that will be taken in the late sixth or seventh round. I am not sold on Conz’s having success in the North American professional leagues and when faced with the decision of London Knights’ goaltender Michael Houser, who is also and overager, and Conz I would certainly take Houser first. Obviously there is always uncertainty with late round selections, but teams have seen enough on Conz to know what they will be getting—a player that likely will not pan out, but has moderate potential.
Andrew Weiss is a Future Considerations columnist and can be found on Twitter at www.twitter.com/WeissFC. Follow the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed at www.twitter.com/FCHockey, on YouTube at www.youtube.com/futureconsiderations and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FCHockey
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