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HAWKSINSIDER  /  NHL  /  NEWS

The Top 10 Prospect Goalies Revealed: Under 25 Years Old

Published July 29, 2023 at 11:56 PM
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Today we are going through the top 10 ranked goaltending prospects that we may be seeing dominating the NHL soon, we are analyzing Scott Wheelers list of best goaltenders under 25 years of age, and a Chicago Blackhawks goaltender made the cut! All credit throughout this data provided is to Scott Wheeler, writer at the athletic; you can find his profile here..

https://theathletic.com/author/scott-wheeler/

1.Jesper Wallstedt, G, 19 (Minnesota Wild — No. 20, 2021)

Wallstedt's the best goalie prospect on the planet for me. And that's not meant as a slight to the next four names on this list, who each belong in that group or not far behind. But there's just a control to his game that is so singular and rare in goalies his age. I've written about it in the past as almost robotic, and that's truly the best descriptor for it. Wallstedt's a big 6-foot-3 (he fills the net for his size) goalie who plays sharp lines positionally, holds those lines, and swallows the first shot so that he doesn't have to make a ton of second saves. His movement is compact, he tracks through layers incredibly well to find pucks, and he reads opposing shooters so well that he's rarely beat cleanly.


Scott Wheeler compares Wallstedt to many well-known faces in the NHL such as: Andrei Vasilevskiy, Igor Shesterkin, Jacob Markstrom and Connor Hellebuyck, with Juuse Saros, Thatcher Demko and Ilya Sorokin .

2. Yaroslav Askarov, G, 20 (Nashville Predators — No. 11, 2020)

Last season was the first real valley on Askarov's trajectory, after the three prior had followed a steep incline. I had to remind myself, though, when I found myself watching him and he was struggling, that he was still a 19-year-old playing for the entire year (he just turned 20 in June) — and playing at Russia's top two pro levels. My belief in his tools or his upside as a starting NHL goalie is not deterred, but I did pause at times and his play wavered just enough to make Wallstedt an easy choice for the top spot on this list. Askarov's raw talent certainly makes him unique. His ability to change directions in the net, stay on top of shooters, track their hands, and make reactionary saves is elite. His athleticism is, too. He regularly makes second- and third-chance saves holding firm in his positioning even when he's laying on the ice. But there are tools in his game that still need some refinement.

3. Sebastian Cossa, G, 19 (Detroit Red Wings — No. 15, 2021)

Between the Traverse City Prospects Tournament in September, a pair of Calgary camps with Canada in August and December, and the Memorial Cup in June, I've watched Cossa play live more than double-digit times this season. In those viewings, I've seen him look unflappable. I've also seen him look rattled as shots sneak through holes they shouldn't be finding. The same was true this year for him in the WHL, where his previously-stellar numbers came back down to earth.

4. Dustin Wolf, G, 21 (Calgary Flames — No. 214, 2019)

I seriously considered ranking Wolf third here. That's how good I think this kid is. And if you've been following my work for any amount of time, you'll know that Wolf is my favourite goalie prospect in the sport, so that won't come as a surprise to you. When the Flames drafted him at the end of the seventh round, he ranked in the second round of my 2019 draft board, as my second-ranked goalie behind only Knight. He possesses elite footwork and tracking. He never loses sight of the puck and anticipates the movements of opposing carriers so, so well, making him extremely hard to beat with a deke. You'll rarely see a player beat him side-to-side on a breakaway because he can stick on top of them. He has everything you look for in a top goalie prospect today except for the size. The results are there, he's athletic and his technical ability is refined.

5. Devon Levi, G, 20 (Buffalo Sabres — No. 212, 2020)

Levi had a season for the ages at Northeastern, posting a .952 save percentage across 32 games and winning both the Mike Richter Award as college hockey's top goalie and the Tim Taylor Award as its top rookie. His journey from the CCHL to the world juniors and then the Olympics all during the pandemic is one of the best stories in hockey these last couple of years.

6. Lukas Dostal, G, 22 (Anaheim Ducks — No. 85, 2018)

After a slow start to the season (really his first extended run of mediocre play in years), Dostal regained his form after Christmas to again look like the goalie who'd performed so well from Liiga right through to the AHL across the previous three seasons. Dostal's a smallish goalie who has turned his lean 6-foot-2 frame into an asset by slowly adding some strength and power to a game that was already built on agility. He's got pristine technical ability, great hands (especially his glove), and quick feet which help him stick with dekes, track the play through screens, and make recovery saves on scrambles.

7. Dylan Garand, G, 20 (New York Rangers — No. 103, 2020)

Garand has really emerged these last three years as one of the top goalie prospects in the sport, to the point where he is now the CHL Goaltender of the Year and a lock to be Canada's starter at the restarted 2022 world juniors in Edmonton in August. That light isn't going anywhere either. Next year, in his final season in the WHL, he'll get to backstop his Memorial Cup host Blazers. And though he's listed at 6-foot-1 by the Blazers and by Hockey Canada, he's listed at 6-foot by the NHL, making him the fourth consecutive goalie on this list (the next name will make it a fifth) who is below average in size.

8. Drew Commesso, G, 20 (Chicago Blackhawks — No. 46, 2020)

After a .915 freshman year at BU, Commesso climbed back to a .914 sophomore season with the Terriers following a slow start (for him and the team in front of him, which was banged up and not at its best out of the gate), while also continuing to be a focal point of USA Hockey's with an invite to the Olympics. I see a mature makeup as a kid and goalie. At 6-foot-2, he's not big by today's standards for a goalie, but he blends a studious approach to the position with sharp angles, sound technique, and a calming, poised demeanour to keep shots in his chest, control rebounds, settle down plays and hold firm to his edges. And while he's not a dynamic athlete, he can fall back on his athleticism when the play does break down, he's efficient in his movements, he's quick on his feet and he doesn't put himself into many scrambles because of the way he reads the play. Commesso reliably makes the saves that he should and plays the same game-to-game. He doesn't steal a ton of starts and I wouldn't say he's got any A-plus tools that really pop, but there's not a lot in his game that you can nitpick either. I'm not convinced he's going to be a starter at the next level, but I — and the rest of the hockey world — fully expect him to become an NHL goalie.

9. Erik Portillo, G, 21 (Buffalo Sabres — No. 67, 2019)

After waiting for his turn in the Wolverines goal as a freshman, Portillo ran with the net as a sophomore, playing every night to some of the best non-Levi results in college hockey, with a .926 save percentage across 42 games (second only to Hobey Baker winner Dryden McKay's 43) to backstop Michigan to a Frozen Four appearance. Portillo is massive, with a 6-foot-6 and 225-pound frame. He uses that frame to play a poised, deep-in-his-net style, rarely overcommitting to shooters in an effort to play within his net and avoid scrambles when things start to break down.

10. Stuart Skinner, G, 23 (Edmonton Oilers — No. 78, 2017)

I've been slow to come around on Skinner and this ranking is me admittedly playing a little bit of catch-up. For a few years, I saw him as kind of slow in the net and believed he struggled to make the tougher reactionary saves while moving that many of today's goalies excel at. And while I think I misread that a little, I also believe he has made real progress in those areas these past two seasons to put it all together and earn his NHL promotion. He's never going to be the quickest goalie on his feet but he's got desirable size (6-foot-4, over 200 pounds), he has some legitimate power and his habits have become so consistent that he's consistently square to the first shot. His emergence has been all about learning to play within himself and developing efficiency in his movements. I don't think he has the upside of the goalies in front of him here but the results are starting to speak for themselves and suggest he's probably here to stay as a solid NHL goalie now. He's not going to be on this list this time next year because he'll be considered fully graduated, I'd wager.
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