Drafting a goaltender usually means at least another year or two at least until fans can even begin to reap any type of benefit of their team’s choice. It’s the position that generally requires the most maturing before a player is able to make the jump. It also requires the most patience by everyone from the player himself, to management and coaching, all the way down to the fans.
It’s been about one full year now that the Dallas Stars drafted USA goaltender Jack Campbell 11th overall. So far only Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, Jeff Skinner, and Cam Fowler have managed to make any type of impact with their NHL clubs. The rest of the kids, and I reiterate kids, are back with their junior teams where 99% of players that age should be. And that includes Jack Campbell, who spent this season with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL.
Essentially, a draft pick is a roll of the dice. But if the player has the heart and the desire, then it’s up to the powers that be to develop him both mentally and physically until he’s ready. And even then, it’s still a process. So there’s no need to rush a player, especially a goaltender. They all take different paths. And if you compare where Jack Campbell is now to some of the greatest goalies to ever have played the game, everyone should remain calm.
Here’s a look:
Ed Belfour – The Eagle was never even drafted. Instead, he finished his days with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Winkler Flyers by the age of 21, and went on to play with the University of North Dakota in 1986. That year he won 29 of his 33 games, and boasted a 2.43 GAA with a .915 SV%. It was enough for the Chicago Blackhawks to take notice and sign him to a contract. He would play for the farm team Saginaw Hawks the 1987-88 season, and play in 23 games for Chicago the next. He would play the 1989-90 season with the Canadian National team before being called up by Chicago for the post season. In 1990-91 at the age of 25, the Eagle would finally soar. He posted one of the best rookie seasons in NHL history as he would win 43 games for the Blackhawks with a 2.43 GAA and a .910 SV%. He loaded up on the hardware in the process, taking home the Calder,Vezina,William.M.Jennings, and was named to the All Rookie Team and was a 1st Team All Star. Belfour went on to win a Stanley Cup with the Stars in 1999, won two Vezina trophies, and finished his career as the 3rd winningest goaltender in NHL history with 484 regular season victories.
Martin Brodeur – Drafted 20th overall by the Devils in 1990, the Saint Hyacinthe Laser spent the 1990-91 season with his junior team in the QMJHL. It was the following season that he saw his first NHL action. He played the season with Saint Hyacinthe before being called up by New Jersey in late March 1992 to play in four games. He spent the next season on the farm in Utica, playing 32 games to Corey Schwab’s 40 and posting 14 wins with a 4.03 GAA and a .884 SV%. But in 1993, the 21 year old Brodeur would make the big club in New Jersey and win 27 of 47 games. He posted a 2.40 GAA along with a .915 SV%, captured the Calder, and helped his team all the way to overtime in game 7 of the Eastern Conference final, eventually losing. His Devils captured their first Stanley Cup in 1994-95 and he has since won two more championships along with four Vezinas, and has set several goaltending records, including most shutouts as well as wins all time.
Dominek Hasek – The Dominator wasn’t always The Dominator. 198 players were drafted ahead of him in the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, and he spent the next seven seasons playing in his native land of Czechoslovakia. He finally mad his way over to North America in 1990 to play 33 games for the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL, as well as five with the Blackhawks. He posted a respectable 10-4-1 record with a 2.46 GAA and a .914 SV%. He split the 1991-92 season in Indianapolis and Chicago playing the backup role. Hasek was dealt to Buffalo where he would backup both Tom Draper and then Grant Fuhr. Due to an injury to Fuhr, Hasek was given his big chance at the age of 28 and took the bull by the horns. The 1993-94 season was his breakout year as he won 30 games, posted an amazing 1.95 GAA along with a .930 SV%. He was awarded his first of six Vezina trophies as well as his first of six 1st Team All Star nods that year as well. His unorthdox style won him the Hart trophy as the NHL’s MVP in 1997 and 1998, Olympic Gold in 1998 for the Czech Republic, and won a Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2002.
Patrick Roy – The Montreal Canadiens selected Patrick Roy with the 51st overall selection in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. He played the 1984-85 season with his junior team Granby Bisons of the QMJHL, but did manage to play in his first NHL game on February 23rd, 1985, as well as one game with the farm club in Sherbrooke. In 1985, Roy made the Habs and won 23 of his 47 games. He posted an unadmirable 3.35 GAA in the regular season, but the playoffs were where he would make his name. The 20 year old was nothing less than spectacular for the Canadiens, capturing the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP as he almost single handedly won the Stanley Cup in one of the greatest playoff performances of all time. Roy would only add to his legendary status as he would go on to capture three Vezina trophies, four Stanley Cups, and an NHL record three Conn Smythe trophies.
Here are some other goaltenders, past and present, along with their age when they even began to make any type of impact:
Ken Dryden – 23
Marc Andre Fleury- 21
Ron Hextall- 22
Curtis Joseph- 23
Roberto Luongo- 21
Ryan Miller- 25
Andy Moog – 21
Evgeni Nabokov – 25
Chris Osgood – 21
Bernie Parent – 22
Mike Richter – 23
Pekka Rinne – 26
Tim Thomas – 31
Marty Turco – 25
John Vanbiesbrouck – 21
Mike Vernon – 23
Jack Campbell – Currently 19
Patience is a virtue Stars fans.
About the Author
Written by Travis Currie
Im your typical sports fan. Just a little more crazy about it. I live and die for my teams and I drive my girlfriend nuts. I consider myself the world's biggest Stars fan. Ive been a fan since I was a young kid going back to the mid 80's. Favourite Stars player of all-time is of course Mike Modano. Favourite non-Stars player of all-time is Peter Stastny. I love talking sports so please leave a reply to anything you agree or disagree with. If youd like to contact me my email is email@example.com