In anticipation of the 2013 NHL Draft on June 30, Kris Baker of SabresProspects.com makes his selections for the top 10 goaltenders available, including three who could prove to be very attractive to the Sabres on draft day.
ZACH FUCALE – 6’1”, 181 lbs. (Halifax, WHL)
The top-ranked goaltender by NHL Central Scouting, Fucale kicked the year off by earning a gold medal with Canada at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, and ended it by backstopping Halifax to a 45-5-2-1 record and a Memorial Cup title. Fucale employs a calm positional style, blending silky smooth technique with strong legs and quickness to execute crisply from move to move. He doesn’t leave a lot of net for the shooter and he doesn’t get rattled after giving up a goal. If there is one word to describe Fucale it is “winner” – and that’s never a bad thing when rating goalies.
ERIC COMRIE – 6’1”, 167 lbs. (Tri-City, WHL)
Comrie saw his campaign cut short in February due to hip surgery, but stymied enough shooters over the past two years to maintain his spot near the top of the draft class. A product of the up-and-coming LA Jr. Kings program, Comrie is an aggressive, energetic stopper with great reflexes and body control. His quick legs and ability to read the play have produced several highlight reel saves, and his track record of consistency softens concerns about the surgery (which should actually improve his flexibility). A dual citizen, Comrie will represent Canada internationally.
TRISTAN JARRY – 6’1”, 183 lbs. (Edmonton, WHL)
The quick and agile Jarry made the most of his minutes while sharing the net with Laurent Broissoit (CGY), finishing the year with an 18-7 record, 1.61 GAA and .936 save% for the Eastern Conference champion Oil Kings. Jarry moves well laterally, rarely over-commits, and is selective when challenging in the white ice. Despite not yet carrying the full load at the junior level, the Delta, B.C.-native looks to have what it takes to get an early call on draft day.
PHILIPPE DESROSIERS – 6’1”, 182 lbs. (Rimouski, QMJHL)
A main catalyst for Canada’s gold medal victory at the IIHF U-18 World Championship, Desrosiers shrugged off a mediocre second half of his QMJHL season to post an impressive .970 save% and 0.80 GAA at the season-ending tourney. The long-limbed battler is quick and flexible while exhibiting a cool, steady demeanor in the crease. With good size and a strong international showing under his belt, the foundation is in place for Desrosiers to earn a spot in the top half of the draft.
SPENCER MARTIN – 6’2”, 198 lbs. (Mississauga, OHL)
Martin, who models his game after Ryan Miller, stands out with excellent footwork and mobility for a man of his size. The Oakville, Ont.-native got his season off on the right foot with wins in nine of his first 10 starts before leveling off with just five victories after January 1. A very methodical worker in the crease, Martin drops and lets pucks hit him while using an effective power push to get from side to side. The results were a bit erratic, but Martin’s size, mobility and quick glove hand offer significant upside to teams looking to build depth.
JUUSE SAROS – 5’10, 180 lbs. (HPK, Finland Jr.)
The undersized Finn topped all junior league netminders with a 1.86 GAA and .933 save% to guide HPK to regular season and playoff championships. With superior technique and quickness, Saros consistently makes the first stop but has the acrobatic recovery skills to thwart second and third opportunities as well. Following his dominant club year, Saros showed his athleticism and flashy glove in backing Finland’s bronze medal run with a sparkling .946 save%. Big goalies have been en vogue in the NHL, but Saros has the heart and attitude to level the playing field.
CAL PETERSEN – 6’1”, 175 lbs. (Waterloo, USHL)
A scrappy battler, Peterson played for his hometown Blackhawks in 2012-13, amassing a respectable 21-11-1 record, 2.97 GAA and .906 save%. The grinding competitor is a rare southpaw, giving him an ability to confuse shooters when he squares up with his right-handed catching glove. Off to the University of Notre Dame in 2014, Petersen will have plenty of developmental time to dial-in his aggressiveness while rounding out his technique.
EAMON McADAM – 6’2”, 185 lbs. (Waterloo, USHL)
A Ryan Miller clone in terms of size and movement, McAdam is a hybrid style netminder who does a good job tracking the puck and taking the bottom shelf away from shooters. McAdam spent his second USHL season in a timeshare with fellow draft eligible Cal Petersen, picking up 17 wins and a pair of shutouts for the third-place Blackhawks. A Philadelphia-area native, McAdam was selected by London in the OHL draft but will enroll at Penn State in the fall for the Nittany Lions first-ever Division I season.
ANTOINE BIBEAU – 6’2”, 198 lbs. (PEI, QMJHL)
Confident and mature, Bibeau surpassed Dallas prospect Maxime Lagace on the PEI depth chart early in the year and never looked back. A big, hybrid-style goalie, Bibeau earns his keep with a mix of a thick frame, fast glove, and patience in waiting out the shooter. A recent participant at Canada's U20 goalie camp, Bibeau rubbed elbows with current Sabres prospect Andrey Makarov with the now-defunct Lewiston MAINEiacs before fighting his way up the ladder in PEI.
EVAN COWLEY – 6’4”, 182 lbs. (Wichita, NAHL)
The self-taught stopper played a league-high 50 games as a 17-year old rookie, posting a 2.90 GAA and .900 save% while earning a last-minute spot at the CCM USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game. Coached in Wichita by former Sabres prospect and Northern Michigan University standout Bill Pye, Cowley will head back to his home state of Colorado when he enrolls at the University of Denver in 2014. With a massive frame and loads of athleticism, Cowley is very raw but oozes potential.
THE THREE BEST FITS FOR BUFFALO?
Fucale – It’s rare to see a goalie guide a team to a Memorial Cup victory before the age of 18, but Fucale did just that. The Sabres haven’t used a first round pick on a goaltender since 1997 (Mika Noronen), but one may be needed to grab the laser-focused Fucale.
Desrosiers – Adding size and athleticism to the current group of goaltenders will only increase the competition moving forward. Desrosiers is the primary option in Rimouski, giving the talented stopper plenty of time to gain experience before entering the pro ranks.
McAdam – With Sabres owner Terry Pegula investing heavily in the Penn State program, how nice would it be for him to see his Sabres bring in a Nittany Lion recruit? Taking long-term potential and stashing McAdam in the B1G for a few years could work out well for both sides.
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