In the days leading to the 2021 NHL Draft on July 23-24, NHL.com will break down the top prospects by position. Today: The top goalies available. NHL.com’s full draft coverage can be found here.
Jesper Wallstedt is expected to be the first Sweden-born goalie selected in the first round of the 2021 NHL Draft. The first round is July 23. Rounds 2-7 are July 24.
Wallstedt (6-foot-3, 214 pounds), whose strongest assets are his calmness and command of the position from a technical side, is No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of International goalies.
Oscar Dansk (Columbus Blue Jackets, No. 31, 2012) and Jacob Markstrom (Florida Panthers, No. 31, 2008) are the highest Sweden-born goalies chosen in the NHL Draft.
“Jesper has excellent pro potential with a very good chance to be a quality No. 1 goalie in the NHL,” Central Scouting’s Al Jensen said. “He’s got a very good pro presence in the net and uses his size very well. … He plays the top of the paint and is square to the shots, looks calm and controlled with a very good compete and plays a typical butterfly style with excellent coverage.”
No goalie has been selected in the top 10 since Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens at No. 5 in the 2005 NHL Draft. Iaroslav Askarov was the first of 20 goalies selected in the 2020 NHL Draft, going No. 11 to the Nashville Predators.
Here are NHL.com’s top 10 goalies available for the 2021 Draft:
1. Jesper Wallstedt, Lulea (SWE)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 1 (International goalies)
Wallstedt was 11-8 with three ties, a 2.23 goals-against average, a .908 save percentage and two shutouts in 22 games in the Swedish Hockey League. The 18-year-old also had a .923 save percentage in two games for Sweden at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.
2. Sebastian Cossa, Edmonton (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 1 (North American goalies)
Cossa (6-6, 210) was 17-1-1 with a 1.57 GAA, a .941 save percentage and four shutouts in 19 games in the Western Hockey League. The 18-year-old is 38-7-4 with a 1.98 GAA, a .928 save percentage and eight shutouts in 52 games in his two WHL seasons.
3. Benjamin Gaudreau, Sarnia (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 2 (North American goalies)
Gaudreau (6-2, 175) made the most of his opportunity with first-place Canada at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Championship. The 18-year-old was named the tournament’s best goalie after he went 5-0-0 with a 2.20 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. Gaudreau is quick, athletic, good at reading the play and can track pucks through traffic, according to Jensen.
4. Aleksei Kolosov, Minsk (RUS)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 2 (International goalies)
Kolosov (6-1, 185) was 3-5-1 with a 2.69 GAA, a .911 save percentage and one shutout in nine games in the Kontinental Hockey League, where he is expected to play next season. The 19-year-old also had a 2.23 GAA and a .910 save percentage in 12 games for Molodechno in the Belarusian Extraleague, the top professional league in his native Belarus. He has a 4.12 GAA and an .893 save percentage in three games for Belarus at the 2021 IIHF World Championship.
5. Tristan Lennox, Saginaw (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 3 (North American goalies)
Lennox (6-4, 190) is a huge presence and doesn’t give shooters much space on initial shots when in the butterfly, according to Jensen. The 18-year-old was 20-8-3 with a 3.63 GAA and an .876 save percentage in 33 games in the Ontario Hockey League last season.
6. Patrik Hamrla, Karlovy Vary (CZREP)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 3 (International goalies)
Hamrla (6-3, 194), who turned 18 May 21, was 1-2 with a 3.94 GAA and an .881 save percentage in six games in the Czech Extraliga, the top professional men’s league in the Czech Republic, and was 2-1 with a 2.02 GAA and a .921 save percentage in three games with Sokolov in the Czech second division. Playing a hybrid-butterfly style, Hamrla exhibits good positioning and competitiveness in denying opponents.
7. Aku Koskenvuo, HIFK Jr. (FIN-JR)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 4 (International goalies)
Koskenvuo (6-4, 173) went 2-3-0 with a 4.23 GAA, an .874 save percentage and one shutout in six games for Finland at the U-18 World Championship, and the 18-year-old had a 2.92 GAA and an .893 save percentage in 13 games in Finland’s junior league. He is committed to attend Harvard University in 2022-23 and will become its first Finland-born player.
8. Olivier Adam, Blainville-Boisbriand (QMJHL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 4 (North American goalies)
Adam (6-3, 178) was 12-7-3 with a 3.30 GAA, an .898 save percentage and one shutout in 23 games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The 19-year-old is quick and athletic with high-end skill and a powerful leg drive for quick lateral and positional play, according to Jensen.
9. Emerik Despatie, Gatineau (QMJHL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 5 (North American goalies)
Despatie (6-1, 173) is regarded for having good quickness, compete and athleticism. The 17-year-old was 2-3-2 with a 2.52 GAA and an .890 save percentage in seven QMJHL games.
10. Joe Vrbetic, North Bay (OHL)
NHL Central Scouting ranking: No. 6 (North American goalies)
Vrbetic (6-6, 190) relies heavily on his positional play while exhibiting patience with a calm and relaxed approach, according to Jensen. As an OHL rookie last season on a North Bay team that finished last in the league standings, the 18-year-old was 14-25-1 with a 4.23 GAA and an .881 save percentage in 42 games.
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