Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sun Rises in East...Caps Draft Goalie

George McPhee has presided over 12 entry drafts for the Capitals, including this weekend’s festivities in Ottawa. In nine of them (including each of the last five), he has taken at least one goalie.

This year’s goalie draftee was taken in the fourth round, at pick #93. Here he is (courtesy of…

Braden Holtby – Saskatoon Blades, 6’1” 205

2007-2008 record: 64 games, 25-29-8, 2.84, .908, one shutout

· Faced the second most shots (1875), among WHL goaltenders in 2007-08, behind Portland Winter Hawks' goaltender Kurtis Mucha (1897). In 64 games, he won 25 games, posted one shutout and finished 15th in the league with a .908 save-percentage.

· Patterns his game after Pittsburgh's Marc-Andre Fleury but also tries to take something from a lot of different goaltenders to create his own style.

· His most memorable hockey moment was his first game with Saskatoon – "it was a dream of mine, since I was about five, to play for the Blades".

· His dad, Greg, was a goaltender for the Saskatoon Blades and the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and he wears number one after his father.

· Got his start in hockey on the backyard rink that his dad built – "I always watched my dad when he played goal and I wanted to be just like him".

· His first hockey team was the Lashburn Flyers and he played his minor hockey with Lashburn (1994-03) and Lloydminster (2003-05).

· Credits his parents for having had the most influence on his career – "they have been tremendously supportive and have both taught me everything I know about life and hockey."

· The best advice he ever received was a quote by Victor Hugo written on a plaque given to him by his grandparents – "There is nothing like a dream to create the future".

· If he could invite any three people to dinner he would choose: Marc-Andre Fleury – "he is my favorite goalie and he always seems to have a good time", Sidney Crosby – "it's amazing how he handles himself in the spotlight and how he plays with so much passion" and Taylor Swift – "I love her music".

· His most embarrassing hockey moment was his first WHL game in Red Deer – "right before the national anthem a guy yells out the goalie's name and the whole crowd yells 'sucks' after. I went out to the hash marks and tripped and fell right as the crowd was yelling it out".

· If he wasn't playing hockey he would be playing baseball and if he could be in any one movie he would want to be Jason Bourne in the Bourne trilogy.

It’s worth noting that no goalie in the WHL played in more games last year (Chet Pickard also played in 64 games). Here’s his scouting report from NHL Central Scouting’s Al Jensen…

"He has unbelievable athleticism and quickness. He was able to keep his team in games and keep them competitive throughout the year. His recovery was exceptional as well as his ability to get his body in front of shots. He battled very hard and was strong. He is a flashy player – he has a very good glove hand and very quick hands and his play improved throughout the year."

Although Pickard has drawn comparisons to former (it’s still odd to say that) Caps’ goaltender Olaf Kolzig, Holtby might be fairly compared to him as well, especially in terms of Kolzig’s later years with the Caps. A lot of work on a team that struggled (29-34-9, ninth in the Eastern Conference of the WHL).

For the record, here is the compleat McPhee when is comes to goalies:

1997: Curtis Cruickshank (4th round/#89 overall), Pierre Luc-Therrien (8/200)
1998: Jomar Cruz (2/49), Rastislav Stana (7/193)
1999: none
2000: none
2001: Robert Mueller (9/275)
2002: Maxime Daigneault (2/59), Robert Gherson (5/145)
2003: none
2004: Justin Mrazek (8/230)
2005: Daren Machesney (5/143)
2006: Simeon Varlamov (1/21), Michal Neuvirth (2/34)
2007: Dan Dunn (6/154)
2008: Braden Holtby (4/93)

No comments: