Thatcher Demko THW Close-Up:
Team: Boston College
Date of Birth: 12/8/1995
Place of Birth: San Diego, California
Ht: 6’3.75″ Wt: 192 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2014
THW Ranking: 44
ISS (North American Goalies): N/A
CSS (North American Goalies): 1
Future Considerations: 22
Craig Button: 53
Bob McKenzie: 32
*Check out THW’s 2014 Draft Guide: The Next Ones, your quintessential draft resource*
NCAA Paving The Way
Not only has Thatcher Demko been the number one ranked North American netminder on CSS’s rankings since January, he has been a rock in Boston College’s crease ever since strapping on the pads for his NCAA team. Playing in his first season in Hockey-East, Demko managed to post spectacular numbers (24 GP, 16-5-3, 2.24 GAA, .919 Save Percentage) for a newcomer and improved in many statistical categories since last season.
As a butterfly goalie, Demko certainly covers enough area in the crease – and he certainly isn’t hindered by his big frame as his movements are calculated and efficient. For a big goalie that could play big in his net, Demko is definitely a catch for any team looking to replenish its goaltending talent, but his attributes don’t just start and stop with his size.
Playing with a tremendous amount of confidence and intelligence, Demko reads plays very well and almost always puts himself in the best position to make a save. While Demko still is a young goaltender by age, he certainly plays with a demeanor of someone that is much older and experienced.
After splitting last season between the U.S National U17 and U18 Teams and USNTDP Juniors, Demko looked every bit as ready as one could have possibly been for the start of their first NCAA-hockey campaign. Demko’s ability to man the Boston College crease in his freshman year not only evidenced the young netminder’s comfort level in an unfamiliar environment, it also displayed his willingness to adapt to his surroundings in as efficient a manner as possible.
There is no doubt about the fact that Boston College will be treasuring their netminder when the puck drops on the 2014-2015 NCAA season, and NHL teams shouldn’t hesitate to view Demko in much the same light. Regardless of where Demko ends up – and it is highly likely that he will be the first goalie selected at this year’s proceedings – NHL teams will certainly have a winning and competitive netminder to consider early on if they are looking for one on the draft board.
“He was so far ahead of the under-aged players last year that if he was draft-eligible in 2013 he would have probably been drafted high; that’s how far ahead he was then and is now. He’s a huge, strong goalie with excellent net coverage and has that NHL presence in the net. He’s more of a positional-style goalie that relies on his angles and size and he plays big in his stance. When he drops in the butterfly he gets his body in front of a lot of shots. He’s smart at reading the play and gets set quickly; strength is definitely not an issue with him.”
– Al Jensen via NHL.com
“Thatcher Demko is already 6’4″ meaning that he has ideal size that NHL teams look for in their goalie prospects. This size, combined with his ability to cut down angles well gives shooters very little to look at when they come in on him. Demko skates well, meaning he recovers quickly and stays with shooters if they try to deke. He also has a strong push giving him very good lateral movement and his puck tracking ability is very solid. He understands where the play is going, anticipates well, and gets across the crease quickly for cross-ice passes and one-timers. Demko plays a butterfly style and is extremely hard to beat down low due to his long and quick legs. He is so big that even when he does go down he can still take up a lot of the upper portion of the net. He does need some work on his rebound control. He is very good at staying square to the puck, even when does given up rebounds thought, and this usually puts him in good position for those second chance opportunities. He also has a quick glove hand.”
– Ben Kerr via Lastwordonsports.com
“He has an ability to move very well laterally and is able to recover pucks. Thatcher is extremely competitive and very coachable. To me, if you have those two things it’s very positive for his development. For a bigger kid he’s pretty athletic. I think at the beginning of the year he may have lacked just a little bit of confidence knowing he was the youngest college player, and that’s only natural. But he’s continued to battle and has gotten wins for us. For a freshman to come in and do what he’s done is pretty impressive. It’s a true sign of his makeup and attitude and his hunger to be better.”
– Mike Ayers via NHL.com
“The San Diego native had one of the better under-19 seasons in the Hockey East conference in the modern era. He didn’t surpass Jon Gillies‘ tremendous 2012-13 season save percentage (.931), but he did eclipse Cory Schneider‘s .916 (2004-05) and Jimmy Howard‘s .916 in 2002-03. He has the natural look of a goalie from a physical standpoint — 6-foot-4, 192 pounds — and by how he plays the game, as his high-end positioning and angles leave little room for shooters. He’s sound technically, but Demko also has aggressiveness in his game and doesn’t shy from challenging shooters. His reactions and quickness in his lower body are solid; he’s quite nimble for a big man. According to scouts I’ve spoken with, Demko can still use some more explosiveness in his push-offs and lateral movements. His tracking of the puck also is a little inconsistent.”
– Corey Pronman via ESPN.com
Where He’ll End Up In June:
Thatcher Demko will most likely be the first goalie selected at this year’s NHL Entry Draft as he looks to be the best talent available – not just out of North American netminders, but out of the whole crop of draft-eligible goaltenders.
- Q & A With Thatcher Demko via Conte Confidential
- Interview With Thatcher Demko via The Boston Globe
- THW’s Q & A With Thatcher Demko
- Demko has appeared in international tournaments such as the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and the WHC-17. He also made the 2014 World Juniors roster for Team USA as its third-string goaltender, but he did not see action behind Jon Gillies and Anthony Stolarz.
- 3-5 Years
- Risk: 1.5-2/5 Reward: 4-4.5/5
- Number one starting goaltender.
- Good glove hand.
- Solid reflexes.
- Superb mental composition/awareness.
- Calm demeanor.
- Good positioning/angular play.
- Good recovery on secondary chances/rebounds.
- Good puck handling abilities.
- Competitive personality.
Flaws/Aspects He Needs to Work On:
- Rebound control.
- Puck tracking.
- Goaltending: 8.5-9.5/10
- John Gibson
In his third year with The Hockey Writers, Toli covers all things related to the New York Islanders. Focusing on the Islanders, the NHL Draft & draft-eligible prospect goalies, and hockey history, Toli can be contacted on Facebook by searching/messaging Toli Metter and on twitter by searching @ToliMetterTHW.