TORONTO, Ont. -- Our buildup to the 2017 OHL Priority Selection on April 8th continues with the formal release of our '01 Top 30 Goaltender Ranking for subscribers.
Jam-packed with more than 3,500 words worth of commentary, our ranking elaborates beyond just the names; providing analysis, rationale, and projections on how each goaltender's draft day might play out.
This is a particularly intriguing crop, as the American-born contingent is very strong at the top-end; while Ontario has a strong run of goaltenders in the second and third tiers of the age group. That said, size comes at a premium in this age group as there's a number of sub-6-foot goaltenders that might push teams outside of their traditional comfort zone.
That comfort zone we're referencing, is one that's become quite a trend in recent years. Just four goaltenders in the league today are listed at under 6-foot-1 with the average height of goaltenders in the league being right around that 6-foot-2 benchmark. While there are certainly a number of examples of goaltenders who have bucked that trend in recent years, it's clear that on the whole, OHL teams are looking for size in the crease.
A year ago, 31 goaltenders were selected in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection, but just five of those went in the Top 100 picks. Could we be in for a similar draft day story this year? It's very plausible. If that's the case, expect the run on goaltenders to start somewhere between the 6th and 8th rounds, like it traditionally does.
Another storyline to monitor will be the impact of the new U18 Priority Selection that the league has announced for midget players. Could this have an adverse effect on first-time eligible goaltenders? That, too, is very possible, as some teams may prefer to see if they can potentially watch a goaltender develop in midget rather than investing a pick on them this year. Two years ago there were just 28 goaltenders selected in the draft, so that could potentially be closer to the number we see go this year.
Oh, and in case you're wondering why we separate goaltenders in our rankings, we elect to do this similar to most OHL teams. Due to the unique element of the position, drafting a goaltenders largely comes down to assessing their value relative to a particular range of round(s) and then determining your team needs in terms of organizational depth heading into the draft. Just because the best player available on your list in the third round might be a goalie, doesn't mean you're going to take them if you already have another similar-aged goaltender in your organization that you're high on.
In any event, the goaltenders tend to be more of a draft within a draft, and like every year, this one will surely hold a few surprises along the way.