While the 2020 NHL Draft may be months away, that gives us plenty of time to discuss and speculate about some of the players who could be selected. Today, we will take a deeper into the 2020 goaltenders class to see what talent is available. Also, we will discuss the Anaheim Ducks coming to an agreement with a new ECHL team and one of the top goaltending prospects available this year.
Fisher’s Final Goaltender Rankings
Despite so many 2019-20 seasons getting cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic, that hasn’t slowed draft analysis. For example, THW’s own Larry Fisher recently released a final, massive 500 player ranking of the class.
With this ranking available, he then started talking about different segments of the draft, including goaltending that we will discuss today.
As with any draft class, it’s impossible to know what these young goaltenders could become in three, five, or even ten years. However, Fisher is blunt with his initial take of this group.
This isn’t a great year for goalies, but there is a great goalie available at the top of this list in Yaroslav Askarov (10), who has been touted as the best goaltending prospect to come through the draft since Carey Price went fifth overall in 2005.
What makes this goalie class different is the lack of high-end talent that you would expect to be selected behind a top-pick like Askarov. However, that doesn’t mean that this group is bad by any means. In fact, it is a fairly deep class that has a lot of potential in the later rounds.
These goalies may not be second or third-round picks, but they could become those sixth or seventh-round chances that develop into legit prospects for a franchise. Will they make an immediate impact? Likely not. But there are goaltenders with starter potential that could be pulled out of those later rounds of the draft.
For a few names to keep an eye on, remember Will Cranley, Garin Bjorklund, Brock Gould, Jan Bednar, and Calle Clang. All of these goalies are expected to be selected in the fourth round or later, but they have the build and potential to become, at the very least, AHL starters that could threaten for NHL time in the future.
Ducks Reach Agreement With Tulsa
As some franchises recently reached agreements with their current ECHL teams, the Ducks made a move to bring a new face into their prospect pipeline. On July 1, it was announced that they had signed a multi-year affiliation with the Tulsa Oilers.
Related: Anaheim Ducks Jersey History
After having a working relationship with the Oilers for the last two seasons, this three-year agreement makes that now a primary affiliation. This should further solidify the Ducks’ system, which should continue to receive great talent from high-end draft picks from the 2020 NHL Draft.
Prospect of the Day: Drew Commesso
With the conversation focused on NHL goaltending, let’s look at one of the top goalies at the draft, Drew Commesso. While Askarov is the clear number-one goaltender, there’s a strong argument that Commesso could be number-two.
See, Commesso has all of those intangibles that a franchise looks for in a high-end goaltending prospect. As said by THW in his draft profile:
At 6-foot-2, Commesso already has the size and frame that most NHL franchises look for in a goaltender. He also has a strong hockey IQ, with the ability to track the puck like an elite prospect.
While many project Commesso to get selected in the third or fourth round, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he got taken as early as the second if there is a run on goaltenders. This is what happened in the THW mock-draft, where he was taken with the 55th-overall pick.
Related: THW 2020 Mock NHL Draft Round 2
So, if you’re looking for a great goaltending prospect with starter potential, Commesso could be your guy. Just remember, it will be years before he will be able to fully showcase his abilities to the franchise that drafts him.
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.