2009 NHL Draft: Mikko Koskinen and Big European Goaltenders

 The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau ranks 13 European goaltenders this season.  Only four of them are shorter than 6'1"; the rage in the NHL these days is toward big men in net - something which I'm at a loss to explain.  Yes, Roberto Luongo's a big guy, but that doesn't mean your goaltender needs to be a big guy to enjoy success (see Tim Thomas, circa 2008-09).

In any case, here's the list - excluding some Swiss guys and one Russian since they didn't have their save percentage posted.  Players are ranked by save percentage, which is followed by CSB ranking:

  • Mikko Koskinen (FIN): .931 SV% (2nd) - born July '88, stands 6'5" - Koskinen is older than most of the other goaltenders in this draft.  Lowetide has him ranked 18th for the coming draft; frankly, I think that's too high when guys like Vitaly Kolesnik are available for free (just for a lark, check out who Kolesnik's backup was and how he fared by comparison).  The fact of the matter is that Koskinen could be a very good goaltender (and he outplayed AHL/ECHL tweener Bernd Bruckler by a fair bit) but he has a lousy junior record and I that's why he wasn't drafted in years past.  He could be a flash in the pan; this is a deep draft, and I wouldn't take him any higher than the second round.  Not a lot of scouts have seen him (source: THN) and so he's a real wild card. 
  • Anders Nilsson (SWE Jr.): .927 SV% (5th) - born March '90, stands 6'5" - Nilsson's two years younger than Koskinen and brings some of the same qualities (big body, pretty save percentage).  The other thing he brings is two good years in a row (albeit at a lower level) and a lot less hype, meaning he could be available much later in the draft.  I'd say an NHL team has a decent chance of getting value out of this guy with a late round pick.
  • Marek Mazanec (CZE Jr.): .925 SV% (6th) - born July '91, stands 6'3" - Very little information is available on Mazanec; he played at the U-18 but didn't impress.  He's got nice numbers given his age.  He's a right-handed catcher, which generally appeals to me in a goaltender.
  • Antti Raanta (FIN Jr.): .921 SV% (11th) - born May '89, stands 5'11" - Again, there's very little information available on this prospect.  Given his age, size, and the league he's playing in, I doubt he gets drafted.  He played a lot of minutes though.
  • Joni Ortio (FIN Jr.): .917 SV% (7th) - born April '91, stands 6'1" - Hockey's Future has pretty much the only real scouting report I can find on this guy; like Raanta, he's a work horse, but he's also two years younger.  Here's the key line from HF:
    Perhaps his biggest strength is his level-headedness, and an ability to never get too flustered or frustrated at early struggles. His biggest challenge will be increasing his physical strength, quickness, and lateral movement as he adjusts from junior to professional shooters.

    In other words: calm, cool and slow laterally.

  • Juraj Holly (CZE Jr.): .913 SV% (3rd) - born January '91, stands 6'4" - Again, Hockey's Future is the place to turn:
    Holly is mostly self-taught, and doesn't position himself the way most goaltenders might. He is tall and quick, but needs a lot of refinement.
  • Mark Owuya (SWE): .911 SV% (12th) - born July '89, stands 6'1" - Mark Owuya (video above) is easily the most interesting prospect in this group, although not from a hockey standpoint.  A quick Google search shows that I'm not the only blogger who couldn't resist the video either.  As for his actual hockey skill, Hockey's Future has this interesting snippet:
    To describe Owuya as a goaltender is not very easy. A butterfly goalie with a technique that is not very developed nor pretty, but he has good attitude, self confidence and stops the pucks, which it all is about in the end. He has a lot of advantage being of large size (6’2) and is pretty good at moving side-to-side. Has problems with high shots. Agility could still be better.
  • Robin Lehner (SWE Jr.): .903 SV% (1st) - born July '91, stands 6'3" - CSB's top-ranked prospect had a poor U-18 tournament and is knocked in THN for his consistency and rebound control.  He'll probably be a relatively high pick.
  • Erno Suomalainen (FIN Jr.): .902 SV% (9th) - born March '91, stands 6' - Again, it's very difficult to get reliable information on this guy; he's been Ortio's backup on the international stage and probably won't get drafted.
  • Felix Bruckmann (GER-3): .833 SV% (13th) - born December '90, stands 5'11" - Bruckmann's played so little that it's virtually impossible to rank him.  He could go undrafted (likely) or he could get selected based on one or two showings by a single scout (ala Evgeni Nabokov).

Unlisted are Lukas Flueler (4th), and Benjamin Conz (8th) of Switzerland as well as Igor Bobkov (10th) of Russia since statistics were unavailable.

I'm not high on any of these guys, but someone like Nilsson or Mazanec might be worth a late-round flyer.  Then again, I'd much rather see my NHL team sign someone like Kolesnik or Stanislav Galimov or Sergei Borisov.  These guys are everywhere, for cheap.

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