If you have glanced at an NHL Mock Draft lately, you would have seen that this upcoming draft looks to be chalked full of offensive talents, especially down the center of the ice. However, what you won’t find is a lot of quality goaltenders on those lists. That doesn’t mean that they’re not out there, though. Merely that they have just fell victim to NHL clubs narrowing their parameters when searching for their next goaltender of the future. Those parameters in question are that of a goalie’s height. Over the years, the league as a whole has developed the thought process of “the taller a goalie is, the better he must be.” Hence why the league’s average height of an NHL goalie today has climbed to 6’3, compared to that of a forward or defenseman playing in this league that has a mean of just 6’1.
Now, while I understand the game is a lot different than it used to be, I don’t believe a goalie’s height should define his career’s ceiling! Plenty of great goaltenders from the past were of diminutive stature. Take Hockey Hall of Famer Rogie Vachon for insistence. He was able to win a Vezina Trophy and raise the Stanley Cup on three separate occasions with Montreal despite him only standing at only 5’8, and that’s before he ever went on to don the purple and gold in LA, where he became thought of as one of the premier netminders of his time.
For these reasons mentioned above, I think Rogie’s grandson Calvin, who is a 6’0 tall draft-eligible goaltender, has not yet received the acclaim and/or respect he thus deserves. Calvin is a classically trained goaltender who, (like his grandfather) is aggressive in the net, challenging the shooter on every play by coming out well past the top of the crease to cut off the shooter’s angles. On top of that, Calvin follows the puck very well, and when he has to drop to the ice, he tends to keep his hands high to cover the top of the net.
Now, I already know what you’re thinking, but I assure you while being born with a famous surname may have helped to get Calvin some early media exposure while he was playing for the Los Angeles Jr Kings in his early teens. It has been this young guardian of the blue paints’ skill set that has gotten him to the point of possibly being drafted by an NHL team this summer. For example, Vachon has been on this path of greatest for some time. At just 13 years of age, Calvin posted an unheard-of 0.59 goals-against-average (G.A.A.) over 57 games played that season.
If we transition our focus to the current season, we can see that not much has changed. So much so that Calvin got the chance to represent Team USA in this year’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup and is now playing his third season up in Minnesota for the Shattuck St. Mary’s 18U Preparatory High School team (a club that has such alums as Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and Zach Parise, just to name a few) where he has played in parts of 14 games this season and currently holds an 11-0-0 record on the year with four of those wins coming by way of a shutout. All of which while averaging a 1.86 G.A.A. and a .932 save percentage.
But sadly, because Calvin is not 6’6, he is only being projected to go in the 7th round of this year’s draft. This reminds me of a 6’0 goaltender in Devon Levi, who was a 7th-round draft choice from the 2020 entry draft that I said would prove to be one of the best goaltenders coming out that season. Ergo Levi being named both a Hobey Baker Award Finalist and receiving the honor of being named the Mike Richter Award recipient (award given to the top collegiate goaltender) last year in just his first year competing in the NCAA.
So, I guess what I’m saying is if you’re an NHL team this off-season that is in the market for a goaltending prospect, don’t follow the league norm and pass up the chance to select this excellent young goaltender with an exceptional NHL pedigree just because he is a little shorter than you would like. Because if you do, he is bound to make you regret it!