Though the 2022 NHL Entry Draft lacks top-end goaltending prospects, there are still a good number of goaltenders with legitimate NHL potential who will hear their names called on Day 2 of the NHL Draft in July.
The 2021 Draft saw top goaltending prospects Sebastian Cossa (Detroit Red Wings) and Jesper Wallstedt (Minnesota Wild) drafted in the top-20 of the first round, making them the first two of 21 goaltenders drafted. NHL teams are always in need of goaltending, so there are usually plenty of goalies drafted each year, and this will again be the case this year despite the lack of a clear number one goaltender in this draft. Goaltending is a premium position in the NHL and it is a common saying among NHL teams that you can never have too many goalies. Many of the goaltenders in this year’s draft are ranked based on the potential that they have shown rather than their success and statistics as nearly all goalies take longer to develop than skaters, so patience is a given.
This list will be based on the final NHL Central Scouting rankings for goalies who played in both North America and Europe. Since North American and European goalies are ranked separately, I will be mixing those separate lists together to have a final list of the top 10 ranked goalies in the 2022 Draft. Before the list starts, I want to share a few honourable mentions who I believe will be drafted higher than their Central Scouting ranking implies.
Reid Dyck – Swift Current Broncos (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 8th (NA Goalies)
Reid Dyck narrowly missed the top 10 list, but I believe he will be drafted before several netminders ranked ahead of him due to one advantage that he has over them. Name recognition.
Dyck played for Team Canada at the recent U18 World Junior Championships and despite his lacklustre performance, I believe that he could be one of the first five goalies selected in this year’s draft. Playing for Team Canada is a near-universal draft stock booster as each game that Canada plays has a ton of eyes on it regardless of their opponent.
Thomas Milic – Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 28th (NA Goalies)
Thomas Milic is an overaged goalie who went undrafted in the 2021 Draft and has done nothing but raise his draft stock ever since. He had an excellent regular-season record in the Western Hockey League (WHL) this season which he has followed up with an exceptional playoff run. If Central Scouting were to update their rankings one last time before the draft, I wouldn’t be surprised if Milic cracked the top five for North American Goalies. Keep an eye on him. Now we’ll move on to the proper Top-10 list.
10. Cameron Whitehead – Lincoln Stars (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 7th (NA Goalies)
Cameron Whitehead is a tall goalie (6-foot-3) who was left undrafted following the 2021 Draft. He has shown how good he can be in the United States Hockey League (USHL) this season where he finished tied for eighth in wins among all goalies. He was also one of only three goalies to be invited to the 2022 NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo this June. The only other goaltenders invited were Tyler Brennan (1st ranked NA Goalie) and Topias Leinonen (1st ranked EU Goalie), so he was in good company.
It’s likely that he made good use of his time with NHL scouts and improved his draft stock in his interviews. Whitehead is set to return to the Lincoln Stars of the USHL next season before heading to Northeastern University of the NCAA for the 2023-24 season.
9. Ty Young – Prince George Cougars (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 6th (NA Goalies)
Ty Young began the season as the starting goalie for the Calgary Canucks in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) where he played well on a rather poor team. After 17 games, Young transferred to the Prince George Cougars in the WHL where he played backup to Tyler Brennan.
The 17-year-old adjusted well to the increased level of competition in the WHL, earning him a .899 save percentage (SV%) in 23 games. He is known for his strong work ethic and how seriously he takes the advice of his coaches. A mature young goalie with good rebound control and positioning.
8. Jan Spunar – HC Olomouc U20 (Czechia U20)
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 3rd (EU Goalies)
Jan Spunar is a calming presence to his teammates as he remains controlled and relaxed in all situations. He sees the game exceptionally well and is great at seeing plays moments before they develop and shutting them down before his opponents even get a chance. Spunar had an excellent season in the U20 league in Czechia which he will have to prove can translate to the pro level over the next few seasons.
It’s not all good, as Spunar has his weaknesses just like any other prospect. While he excels when it comes to mentally processing the game, his skill set lacks refinement when it comes to the technical aspects of goaltending such as sealing off the post and playing the puck. These are skills that can be developed consistently by good goaltending coaches so they shouldn’t cause too much worry.
7. Mason Beaupit – Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 5th (NA Goalies)
Mason Beaupit is a tall goaltender (listed at 6-foot-5) who has flashed incredible athleticism for his size. He broke out this season as a starting goaltender for the Spokane Chiefs who he helped lead into the WHL playoffs by stealing a handful of wins toward the end of the season against much better teams. His pairing of size and athleticism allow him to make some desperation saves even when he was originally out of position.
The biggest issue for Beaupit right now is his lack of consistency. Though he improved a bit as the season went on, he struggled to string together multiple good games in a row. At one point in the season, he had a shutout streak of nearly 100 minutes but that was immediately followed by three games where he allowed four or more goals. If he can play to his full potential consistently, then Beaupit will be an excellent goaltending prospect.
6. Tyler Muszelik – U.S. National U18 Team (USDP/USHL)
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 4th (NA Goalies)
Tyler Muszelik had an excellent season as the starting goaltender for the United States National Training Development Program (USNTDP) where he won 24 of the 35 games he started and sported a .900 SV%. He also earned two starts at the U18 World Junior Championships for Team USA, winning both for a .909 SV%. Muszelik has a large frame and uses it well positionally. He is one of the younger goaltenders available in the draft, not turning 18 until July 1.
5. Dylan Silverstein – U.S. National U18 Team (USDP/USHL)
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 3rd (NA Goalies)
Despite playing on the same team as Muszelik and earning less starts, Dylan Silverstein is ranked one spot higher among North American goaltenders. Even though he has a weaker statistical profile and is several months older, Silverstein’s explosive athleticism and his ability to stay calm while under intense pressure ultimately put him above his teammate.
Silverstein finds himself out of position regularly which makes for some show-stopping saves as he explodes across his crease to make a last-second save. However, it also makes for a lot of unnecessary scoring chances for his opponents, who can often score on him in these types of situations. He is committed to Boston College for the 2022-23 season and spending a few years in the NCAA seems like a great path for Silverstein to improve his positioning and his ability with his glove hand.
4. Ivan Zhigalov – Sherbrooke Phoenix (QMJHL)
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 2nd (NA Goalies)
Ivan Zhigalov is a Belarussian goaltender who went undrafted in the 2021 Draft but looks to be one of the first few goalies selected this year. After dominating the Belarussian junior leagues last year (albeit in a small sample size), Zhigalov transferred to the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) who held his Canadian Hockey League (CHL) rights. In his first season in North America, Zhigalov had a 23-9-3 record and earned a spot in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects game in March.
Goaltenders who are used to playing on the wider rinks in Europe also need to adjust when they move to the narrower North American ice, especially when it comes to positioning in their crease. This was not an issue for Zhigalov this season as he boasts incredibly advanced spatial awareness and fluid goaltending mechanics. He is solid with his glove (he catches with his right hand) and has very quick feet which allow him to make excellent adjustments and saves on the fly.
3. Hugo Hävelid – Linköping HC J20 (J20 Nationell)
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 2nd (EU Goalies)
Hugo Hävelid has had an incredibly successful season and has pushed himself into the conversation of which goaltender will be selected first in the 2022 Draft. He was borderline dominant in 28 games in the top Swedish Junior league this season (J20 Nationell) where he had a 1.82 goals-against average and a .920 SV%. At the end of the season, he was named the top goaltender in the league.
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Guide
He also played for Team Sweden in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup where Sweden went on to win the Bronze medal. Hävelid’s draft stock rose the most this season at the U18 World Junior Championships where he led Team Sweden to the Gold medal on the back of his incredible 47-save performance in the Gold medal game against the stacked Team USA.
Despite his consistently positive results and incredibly successful track record, Hävelid is still not the consensus pick as the top goalie in this draft class, mainly due to his size. The typical size for an NHL goaltender has risen significantly over the last decade or so to the point where a 5-foot-10 goalie such as Hävelid is extremely uncommon. Even though he doesn’t have the size of a prototypical NHL goaltender, Hävelid has the potential to be a legitimate starting goalie in the NHL. If he slips past the third round of the draft, he could very well be a late-round steal for whoever drafts him.
2. Tyler Brennan – Prince George Cougars (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 1st (NA Goalies)
If I had to choose which goalie in this draft that I am most confident will play a meaningful number of games in the NHL, it would be Tyler Brennan. His statistical profile this year was rather disappointing, but his overall play and potential will be exciting enough for most NHL teams that he could very well be drafted in the second or third round.
Brennan has the size that all NHL general managers crave at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds at just 18-years-old. The reason that Brennan is ranked so highly is that it seems like he is barely scratching the surface of his potential. His instincts and reflexes are excellent and allow him to come up with creative solutions to problems while under pressure.
He flashed a bit of his potential in the Prince George Cougar’s short playoff run in the WHL where he had a .954 SV% while on the losing side of a four-game sweep. His technical game could use some improvements but rebound control and puck handling are skills that have relatively simple solutions and training methods. It is a lot more difficult to teach a young goaltender how to react and adapt in the moment like Brennan does. If he can tap into his potential a bit further, then I could see a very clear path for Brennan to become a starting goalie in the NHL.
1.Topias Leinonen – JYP (Liiga)
NHL Central Scouting Final Report: 1st (EU Goalies)
Topias Leinonen looks like an NHL goalie, and I don’t just mean that because of his height. Leinonen has the ideal NHL frame measuring in at 6-foot-4 and 214 pounds, but what makes me feel confident that his game will translate to the NHL someday is his athleticism and positioning within the crease.
He doesn’t always make the flashiest of saves as some of the other goaltenders on this list do, but that is a direct result of his excellent positioning. Often, the coolest saves to watch as a fan are ones where the goaltender was woefully out of position and was forced to make a desperation save. Nothing against desperation saves but having the ability to make accurate and consistent decisions in the blink of an eye to stay in position is an incredibly important skill for a top-level goalie to have. He always seems to be in position, both for an initial shot as well as any rebound that he may give up as a result.
Leinonen was one of the best goalies in the Finnish junior league (U20 SM-sarja) and was so impressive in his 21 games there that he earned a brief stint in Liiga, the top professional league in Finland. As an 18-year-old goalie in a professional men’s league, Leinonen predictably struggled in his 4 Liiga appearances, but could very well work his way into the lineup in Liiga as the backup goalie as soon as next season.
I see a very clear path for Leinonen to become an NHL starter though he has struggled with his consistency at times, allowing several weak goals in quick succession. If he can improve his consistency, then Leinonen will likely become a starting goalie in the NHL. If he is unable to do so, then he could still end up as a tandem goaltender or as a good backup. I expect him to be drafted either late in the second round or early in the third, possibly by a team who holds multiple picks in those rounds such as the Seattle Kraken or the Montreal Canadiens.
Although this draft does not have a homerun goaltending prospect for teams to select as we’ve seen in many recent years, it does have a pretty good collection of goaltenders with the potential to make a real impact in the NHL. I expect to hear one of Leinonen, Brennan or Hävelid’s names called first out of the goalies in this year’s draft class though I recommend keeping your eye on Thomas Milic as his WHL playoff success might be enough to leapfrog him past the rest of the goalies in the draft.
Logan is a sports writer for the Detroit Red Wings as a member of The Hockey Writers team. He loves reading about statistics and advanced analytics, and discovering how they can enrich his hockey analysis and writing. Logan also writes about more general hockey topics on his blog https://www.crashthecrease.blog.