With the first round over, the real work begins as the rest of the draft starts at 10-in the morning. Teams may be led by first round picks, but they can’t win without the role players found later in the draft that will be selected today.
But for the goaltender position, waiting into the later rounds isn’t unheard and for most – it is almost better the longer they wait as it takes the pressure off of contributing early allowing them to develop.
For this year’s consensus top goalie Thatcher Demko, he missed an opportunity to become the first American goaltender to be drafted in the first round since Jack Campbell was selected by the Dallas Stars but he could very well be one of the first names to be called during day two.
Despite the Florida Panthers being set in net for the immediate future, their goaltending future beyond Roberto Luongo is murky at best, and selecting Demko with their second round pick would clear it up the second his name is called.
Standing at 6’4”, Demko quickly took over the starting role for Boston College this past season as a true freshman and helped his team to another Frozen Four appearance.
In 24-games, the San Diego, California native posted a 16-5-3 record with a 2.24 GAA, a .919 SV% to go along with two shutouts.
Demko has franchise goaltender potential, but the Panthers have stated they will not be addressing the goaltender position in the draft – so in all likelihood he was left off of their draft board.
Despite being signed through the 2022-season, anyone who actually believes that Luongo is going to play out his contract – or play it out at the level he is currently at – is dreaming. Martin Brodeur, one of the best goalies ever – showed that father time spares no one, even the best of them, keeping a pipeline of goaltenders is crucial.
The Panthers have built a surplus of defensive depth in their farm system, and by the time Demko is ready to take control of the crease those prospects will be established NHLers and will make the transition easier on the goaltender.
It is unlikely to happen, the Buffalo Sabres could even be eyeing him, but adding Demko to the Panthers’ farm system will only add to the team’s bright future. Saying they won’t be adding any goalies may mean that they feel comfortable with the goalies they have in the system now.
Florida signed Sam Brittan to an entry-level contract yesterday, and he will begin his pro career this upcoming season, he could very well be the guy they believe can take over one day.
How would you feel if the Panthers selected Demko with their first pick today? It takes goalies usually 3-5 years before they are ready to contribute at the NHL level, so it will be a while till we see him.