Looking Back at Goalies Taken in First Round of the NHL Draft
Since 2000, 13 goaltenders have been selected in the first round of the NHL Draft. Russian goalie prospect, Yaroslav Askarov, is expected to join that list in this year’s draft.
Here is a look back at the 13 goaltenders Yaroslav Askarov would be joining if he is taken in the first round of this year’s NHL Draft.
Spencer Knight (2019, 13th overall)
Drafted by the Florida Panthers at 13th overall in 2019, Spencer Knight played the 2019-20 season with Boston College. In 33 games, Knight went 23-8-2 while posting an impressive 1.97 GAA and a .931 save percentage.
Knight most notably started in net for the U.S. at the 2020 World Junior Championships where he appeared in four games, finishing with a record of 2-2.
The Florida Panthers signed veteran goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky last offseason to a seven-year deal while a true backup has yet to emerge.
Knight has yet to sign his entry-level contract with the Panthers, but it is just a matter of time.
Jake Oettinger (2017, 26th overall)
Another World Junior Championships alumnus for the U.S., Jake Oettinger was selected 26th overall by the Dallas Stars in 2017.
After three years as the starting goalie at Boston University, Oettinger has spent the past two seasons with the Stars’ AHL affiliate, Texas Stars.
In the 2019-20 season, Oettinger appeared in 38 games for Texas with a record of 15-16-4 while posting a 2.57 GAA and a .917 save percentage.
Oettinger is currently signed to his entry-level contract with Dallas, which expires after the 2021-22 season. With the current Stars’ backup Anton Khudobin’s contract expiring this summer, it may be time Oettinger finally makes his NHL debut next season.
Ilya Samsonov (2015, 22nd overall)
Ilya Samsonov was drafted 22nd overall in 2015 and is currently the Washington Capitals’ backup goaltender behind Braden Holtby.
After spending just one season with the Capitals’ AHL affiliate the Hershey Bears, Samsonov appeared in 26 games for the Capitals this season with a record of 16-6-2.
With just one season left on his entry-level contract, many speculate Samsonov will be Holtby’s predecessor and will one day be the Capitals’ starting goaltender.
Andre Vasilevskiy (2012, 19th overall)
Andre Vasilevskiy was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning 19th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft.
Already appearing in 259 NHL games over the past six seasons, Vasilevskiy has emerged as one of the best netminders in the NHL , being awarded the Vezina Trophy in 2019 as the NHL’s best goaltender.
Vasilevskiy’s lucrative $10.5 million contract expires this summer and the Lightning will have to keep his pockets full to ensure he stays in Tampa.
Jack Campbell (2010, 11th overall)
Selected 11th overall by the Dallas Stars in the 2010 NHL Draft, Jack Campbell only appeared in one game with the organization before being traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 2016.
As Jonathon Quick’s backup in Los Angeles, Campbell appeared in 57 games for the Kings with an overall record of 20-24-5.
The Kings traded Campbell to the Toronto Maple Leafs this past February and started six games for the Leafs before the season was paused, finishing with a record of 3-2-1.
Chet Pickard (2008, 18th overall)
Chet Pickard may be the only goalie taken in the first round since 2000 considered a true “bust”.
Selected 18th overall by the Nashville Predators in 2008, Pickard never played for the Predators and appeared in 49 AHL games over a five-year span.
Pickard played the 2019-20 season with the Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams of the DEL (German professional hockey league) with a record of 7-13.
Jonathan Bernier (2006, 11th overall)
Since being selected by the Los Angeles Kings 11th overall in the 2006 NHL Draft, Jonathan Bernier is now playing for his fifth organization in 12 seasons.
For a three-year stretch in Toronto from 2013-2016, Bernier had moments where it seemed he could be a starting goaltender. He had a combined GAA of 2.81 and a .915 save percentage.
Now with the Detroit Red Wings, Bernier is splitting time with 36-year old Jimmy Howard, whose contract expires this summer.
Carey Price (2005, 5th overall)
Winner of the NHL’s best goalie this season voted on by the NHLPA, Carey Price was taken 5th overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2005 and has been the backbone of the franchise ever since.
Concluding the 2014-15 season, Price was well-recognized as not just the best goalie in the league by winning the Vezina Trophy but was also awarded the Hart Trophy as the leagues’ most valuable player.
With a contract of $84 million over eight years, Price will continue to be the face of Montreal’s franchise for some time.
Al Montoya (2004, 6th overall)
As the 6th overall pick in the 2004 NHL Draft by the New York Rangers, Al Montoya never played a game for the team. He spent his first three seasons playing for the Ranger’s AHL affiliate in Hartford before being traded to the Phoenix Coyotes organization.
Montoya appeared in just 168 NHL games over a 15-year span. He most recently played 11 games for the Bakersfield Condors during the 2018-19 season and is currently unsigned.
Marc-Andre Fleury (2003, 1st overall)
In 2003, Marc-Andre Fleury was just the third goaltender ever taken first overall in the NHL Draft. During his 13-year span with the Penguins, Fleury was a major part of the Penguin’s winning three Stanley Cups.
Fleury was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft and recently signed an extension with the team which runs through the 2021-22 season.
Fleury has played the best hockey of his career for the Knights, with a combined GAA of 2.51 and a .915 save percentage over the past three seasons. He has yet to win a Vezina Trophy but has been in the top-10 in votes three times throughout his career.
Kari Lehtonen (2002, 2nd overall)
As the 2nd overall pick in the 2002 NHL Draft, Kari Lehtonen spent his entire 14-year NHL career with just two franchises; the Atlanta Thrashers and Dallas Stars.
Lehtonen saw time as a starting goalie many times throughout his career between the two franchises and played his last game in 2018 with the Stars.
His best season in the NHL was 2011-12 with the Dallas Stars where he posted an impressive GAA of 2.33 and a .922 save percentage.
He is probably most known for his unusual antics, such as sitting on top of the net during a game in 2013.
Pascal Leclaire (2001, 8th overall)
After being selected 8th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2001, Pascal Leclaire started in just 108 NHL games over his nine-year career.
His best season was in 2007-08 with the Blue Jackets when he received the eighth-most all-star votes by a goaltender.
He last played in the 2010-11 season with the Ottawa Senators and announced his retirement in 2012.
Rick DiPietro (2000, 1st overall)
As just the second goaltender ever taken first overall in 2000 by the New Islanders, Rick DiPietro started just 108 games over his 11-year career.
He was the Islanders’ starting goaltender from 2005-2008 and had his best season in 2006-07 when he finished eighth in voting for the Vezina Trophy.
DiPietro played his final game in the 2013-14 season with the Charlotte Checkers and went into broadcasting shortly thereafter.
Is Askarov Next?
Yaroslav Askarov is projected to be the next goaltender taken in the first round of the NHL Draft. Hockey media powerhouse Sportsnet has him listed as the tenth-best prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft.
Askorov is far and away the best goalie eligible for this year’s draft and could be the first taken in the top-ten since Carey Price in 2005.
The Chicago Blackhawks could land themselves a pick somewhere in the top fifteen and some are saying Askarov is their best option. Whether or not Askorov turns out to be more like Chet Pickard or Carey Price is yet to be seen. Whatever does happen, expect him to play a major role in whichever franchise decides to take him in this year’s draft.