Top 20 SICHL Goalie Prospectsby Marcel Cormier | July 16, 2016, 1:53 AM ET
The Top Prospect Rankings were compiled following a voting process open to all 28 SICHL General Managers. Players eligible for consideration fit the pre-requisites of having played fewer than 50 SICHL games and are currently no more than 25 years of age. Original ballots were dispatched to all team offices with write in votes allowed. a total of 10 teams took the time to participate in the project. Voting for the Top D-Men ranking has begun to be followed shortly by the Top Forwards ranking.
20. MacKenzie Blackwood - Acadia Golden Bears Drafted: 2nd Round 2015 Age: 18 High Rank: 7 Low Rank: N/R
The OHL Goaltender of the Year also represented Canada at the 2016 WJC although he ended the tournament admitting he played less than his best. Blackwood is all about potential at this stage in his career and with another season of Major Junior ahead of him, don’t expect him to see SICHL time for years to come.
19. Zachary Fucale - Hamburg Gladiators Drafted: 1st Round 2013 Age: 19 High Rank: 11 Low Rank: N/R
After a statistically underwhelming QMJHL career, especially post 2013 draft, Fucale made his AHL debut and again failed to live up to expectations. That said, there are plenty of GMs who still believe and voted him into the top 20. In Hamburg there is no panic for Fucale to make the roster anytime soon which is the scenario that the Montreal Canadiens share.
18. Malcolm Subban - Whitehorse Huskies Drafted: 1st Round 2012 Age: 21 High Rank: 5 Low Rank: N/R
Despite one GM ranking Subban incredibly high, the vast majority of voters slotted the goalie around this area. Subban will have to be patient in Whitehorse as he’s behind some other capable netminders (as you’ll see) and at the NHL level, the Boston Bruins are thick at the position too.
17. Calvin Pickard - Vancouver Vipers Drafted: 2nd Round 2010 Age: 22 High Rank: 9 Low Rank: N/R
Depending on what the Vipers management decides to do in replacing impending UFA Jonas Hiller, Pickard could be the starter in SICHL Vancouver this coming season. With 25 games under his belt this past season, he’s probably hungry to take on more duty. Pickard might be ahead of his NHL pace where he’s locked into the relief role for the Colorado Avalanche.
16. Jon Gillies - Havana Revolution Drafted: 2nd Round 2012 Age: 20 High Rank: 9 Low Rank: N/R
The first of a pair of Revolution goalies to make the final ranking, Gillies will get ample time to work on his game at the minor pro level before the team even considers him for the SICHL roster. The former Providence Friar is definitely one to watch climb this list over the next couple of seasons though.
15. Antti Raanta - Brandon Wheat Kings Drafted: Undrafted Age: 25 High Rank: 6 Low Rank: N/R
The back up in Brandon at the SICHL level plays the same role in the NHL as a member of the New York Rangers. One of the oldest players on the list, Raanta won’t be on the list next year due to age but there is also the chance that he plays out of eligibility with the Wheat Kings in 2016-17 as he’ll split time with Ondrej Pavalec.
14. Eric Comrie - Acadia Golden Bears Drafted: 2nd Round 2013 Age: 19 High Rank: 4 Low Rank: N/R
After a solid but injury plagued WHL career, Comrie put together a strong AHL debut for the Winnipeg Jets affiliate. There’s no rush for him at either the NHL or SICHL levels so both the Jets and the Bears will allow him to continue to develop over the next 2-3 years before re-evaluating their needs between the pipes.
13. Michael Hutchinson - Fredericton Express Drafted: 3rd Round 2008 Age: 24 High Rank: 8 Low Rank: 18
The first of two entries on the list from Fredericton is closer to contributing big minutes than his future teammate. In fact, Hutchinson appeared in 16 games already last season but his spot as the back up to Semyon Varlamov is certainly not guaranteed. At the NHL level he’s earned a new contract in the Winnipeg Jets’ platoon system.
12. Louis Domingue - Calgary Mustangs Drafted: 4th Round 2010 (ACA) Age: 22 High Rank: 4 Low rank: 18
Injuries in Arizona gave him an opening which he took and now Domingue will rise shotgun for the Coyotes this coming season. In the SICHL it will be a similar scenario as the former Quebec Remparts tender settles in behind Ben Bishop and his lengthy contract.
11. Thatcher Demko - Denver Rapids Drafted: 1st Round 2014 Age: 19 High Rank: 8 Low Rank: N/R
Speaking of the Vancouver Canucks, their young goalie of the future is 19-year- old Boston College alum Thatcher Demko. Coming off a fantastic season, Demko is looking to turn pro but that’s still a year away in the SICHL which is unfortunate for Denver, a team completely void of goaltending depth above the prospect level.
10. Jacob Markstrom - Acadia Golden Bears Drafted: 2nd Round 2008 Age: 24 High Rank: 8 Low Rank: 12
Kicking off the top 10 is one half of the goalie tandem for the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks. Markstrom is expected to supplant veteran Ryan Miller at the NHL level but in the SICHL he’ll have to be patient waiting for an opportunity with the likes of Braden Holtby, Martin Jones and Cam Talbot all ahead of him on the depth chart. The one advantage the Swede has; two more seasons making $900K.
9. Robin Lehner - London Monarchs Drafted: 3rd Round 2009 (Oslo) Age: 23 High Rank: 6 Low Rank: 14
The last guy before a consensus top tier of goaltenders, according to the SICHL GM poll, Lehner looks like he’ll be the starter in Buffalo this year and that might preview the plans in London as soon as this year depending on what happens with potential UFA Kari Lehtonen.
8. Andrei Vasilevskiy - Fredericton Express Drafted: 1st Round 2012 Age: 20 High Rank: 1 Low Rank: 18
Some people believe it’s too big of a risk to draft a goaltender in the first round but the Express don’t subscribe to that theory. So far it looks like the gamble will pay off as Vasilevsky is pushing to be a starter with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lighting and is one of a pair of young tenders looking to do the same in the SICHL. He’s still young so there is no rush and he’s still on his $950K entry level contract too.
7. Connor Hellebuyck - Havana Revolution Drafted: 5th Round 2012 Age: 21 High Rank: 1 Low Rank: 10
He’s not ready for prime time yet but the Revolution have a good one in the 21-year- old Michigan native. Hellebuyck was a standout in college with the UMass-Lowell Riverhawks and is off to an impressive start at the professional level as well. In Havana, the Revolution have the luxury of giving him another couple of years to develop before they might need him to replace Jimmy Howard and James Reimer.
6. Petr Mrazek - Boston Colonials Drafted: 5th Round 2010 Age: 22 High Rank: 1 Low Rank: 17
An almost consensus top 6 choice for all SICHL voters, Mrazek finished a hair behind Gibson in the rankings this year but will almost certainly have played his way off of them by next summer. The Czech is in line right now to be the starter in Boston for the Colonials after his 8-game debut this past year.
5. John Gibson - Whitehorse Huskies Drafted: 2nd Round 2011 Age: 21 High Rank: 2 Low Rank: 12
The future is now in Anaheim for Gibson but can the same be said for Whitehorse? After all, Carey Price, at just 27 years of age, would appear to be the guy long term but he’s a RFA with contract demands that might price him out of the Yukon. Meanwhile, Gibson is getting to the point where he’ll force his way into more playing time although, granted, that may still be a year away in the SICHL.
4. Matthew Murray - Vancouver Island Norsemen Drafted: 4th Round 2012 Age: 20 High Rank: 2 Low Rank: 9
Is this lofty result and indication of being the beneficiary of NHL playoff heroics or was that just the tip of the iceberg for Matthew Murray? The NHL Penguins will have an interesting decision to make in the very near future and so will the SICHL Norsemen. The Islanders have a stud already signed long term at a reasonable rate in Jonathan Quick who will be their guy again in 2016-17 but for how much longer after that?
3. Jake Allen - Winnipeg Falcons Drafted: 2nd Round 2008 (RYK) Age: 24 High Rank: 1 Low Rank: 8
While it looks like he’ll get the chance to be the starter for the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, in the SICHL he’s probably stuck behind a legend for a couple more years. With Henrik Lundqvist locked up for 2 more seasons, Allen will have to bide his time and continue to develop. He’s got 33 games under his belt so not that far away from graduating from the prospects list anyway.
2. Frederik Andersen - Nova Scotia Schooners Drafted: 6th Round 2011 Age: 25 High rank: 1 Low Rank: 6
Just getting in under the wire age wise, Andersen looks like he’s ready to take on a bigger role than his 9 career SICHL appearances to date. The problem is he’s stuck behind Marc-Andre Fleury in Novas Scotia, at least for now. Perhaps Schooners management has a plan that would see the Dane off to another market thus reflecting the NHL after a move from Anaheim to Toronto this summer.
1. Martin Jones - Acadia Golden Bears Drafted: Undrafted Age: 24 High Rank: 1 Low Rank: 5
In the NHL, Jones is now established as the starter for the San Jose Sharks having led them to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. In the SICHL, Jones will battle incumbent number one goalie Braden Holtby for the top spot assuming Jones isn’t traded before the start of the season, a scenario pretty much expected since the Bears have made it clear that he is on the market.
Garret Sparks - Havana Revolution – The NHL/AHL tweener last year could expand on that role this coming season but he’s probably a year or two away for the Revolution.
Anthony Stolarz - Acadia Golden Bears – The Flyers saw a big step forward from Stolarz in his second pro season as he posted numbers significantly better than his rookie year and better than some ahead of him in the SICHL ranking.
Juuse Saros - Amsterdam Admirals – Coming off a strong AHL season with Milwaukee, is it crazy to think that Saros could challenge for the back up job in Nashville this year? Maybe, but even at 19 years of age he’s not far off.
Ville Husso - Edmonton Supersonics – The big Finn posted stellar numbers in his homeland but is headed back there for another year putting the St. Louis Blues and the Edmonton Supersonics on the back burner…for now.
Laurent Brossoit - Quebec Canons – The Quebec Canons will probably need Brossoit to be SICHL ready before he is but another year (or two) in the minors probably won’t hurt.
Tristan Jarry - Acadia Golden Bears – Injuries at the NHL level in Pittsburgh opened the door for a few goalies and Jarry took advantage of the opportunity in the AHL. The Pens and the Golden Bears have the luxury of depth to allow them patience.