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When it comes to the NHL draft, Fitzpatrick knows the angles

<p>St. John’s native Evan Fitzaptarick, a goaltender for the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix, is Central Scouting’s top-rated North American netminder for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, beginning tonight in Buffalo.</p>
<p>St. John’s native Evan Fitzaptarick, a goaltender for the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix, is Central Scouting’s top-rated North American netminder for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, beginning tonight in Buffalo.</p>

In 2000, the New York Rangers made a young Swedish goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, the 205th overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft. A Canadian puckstop, Brent Krahn from the Calgary Hitmen, went ninth overall.

Lundqvist has 685 NHL appearances and a Vezina Trophy. Krahn played in one NHL game.

Braden Holtby, who won the Vezina Wednesday night, was selected 93rd overall in the 2008 draft. The first goalie selected in that lottery, Chet Pickard in the 18th slot, has yet to play in the NHL.

Martin Jones, the hero for the San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup final, was not even drafted, signed instead to a free agent contract by the Los Angeles Kings.

So you see why Evan Fitzpatrick isn’t getting too caught up on who’s ranked where with the NHL Draft kicking off tonight in Buffalo.

Related story:

Players from Newfoundland and Labrador taken in the NHL draft

There are few guarantees to a draft — other than the fact the Toronto Maple Leafs, holders of only their second No. 1 pick in franchise history, will select Auston Matthews — and no one knows this better than Fitzpatrick.

“They’re only rankings,” he said, “and different teams have different rankings. It all doesn’t mean too much.

“It doesn’t matter if you go in the first round, or the seventh round. You’re still getting the same opportunity as any other player.”

Fitzpatrick’s half correct on that front. Higher the draft spot, chances are there’s more money on the table. And make no mistake, the high draft selection will always get a longer look at training camp than the low pick.

But Fitzpatrick isn’t entirely wrong in his assessment, either.

Matt Murray, this year’s Stanley Cup-winning puckstop, went 83rd overall only four years ago.

Fitzpatrick, who played his minor hockey in St. John’s and is now a resident of Lower Sackville, N.S., is the highest-ranked Newfoundlander in the draft.

And his ranking has been all over the map. NHL Central Scouting has Fitzpatrick, who starred for the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season, as the top North American goalie.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie has Fitzpatrick as the 64th ranked player in the draft — in the third round — behind Swedish goalie Filip Gustavsson, Tyler Parsons of the London Knights and the Everett, Wash. Silvertips’ Carter Hart.

Craig Button, TSN’s director of scouting, has Fitzpatrick further down the list, at No. 80, behind Hart, Parsons, Joseph Woll from the U.S. National Development Team program and Gustavsson.

At 6-3 and 220 pounds, Fitzpatrick fits the mould of the new-age goalie — he’s big, and he can move.

He was 18-26 for the Phoenix this season, with a 3.42 goals against average and .896 save percentage.

That last stat might be a bit unnerving to some scouts, some of whom have questioned his consistency over the long haul.

Fitzpatrick was 5-2 for the fourth-place Canadian squad at the world under-18 championship, though he was lit up for seven goals on 30 shots in relief in a 10-3 loss to the host U.S. in the bronze-medal game.

Earlier this season, he played in the BMO CHL Top Prospects game in Vancouver, and stopped all 17 shots he faced while suiting up for Team Cherry.

“This is a very exciting time,” said Fitzpatrick, who left for Buffalo Wednesday.

He said some 20-odd NHL teams have chatted with him, though certainly none have come out and expressed a keen interest.

“You know what they’re like,” he said. “No team wants to show its hand.”

Two other Newfoundlanders are also ranked by Central Scouting. Nathan Noel of St. John’s, who was passed over last June, is ranked 171st, slipping from 136th at midseason. Noel had 21 goals and 57 points for the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. In the playoffs, Noel registered three goals and 10 assists in 16 games.

Gander’s Jordan Maher is ranked 198th, improving six spots from his mid-term ranking. Playing for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL, Maher potted 15 goals and added 23 helpers in 68 games. He had one post-season goal.

NHL Central Scouting rankings do not include Europeans, nor goaltenders.

Matthews, the American who played for Marc Crawford in Switzerland last season, will be selected by the Leafs. The Winnipeg Jets, picking second, are expected to nab Finnish sniper Patrick Laine at No. 2.

Torbay resident Mark Hillier, the Jets’ director of amateur scouting, will run the draft table for Winnipeg.

The Columbus Blue Jackets select third, and are expected to go with another Finn, Jesse Puljujarvi.

 

rshort@thetelegram.com

Lundqvist has 685 NHL appearances and a Vezina Trophy. Krahn played in one NHL game.

Braden Holtby, who won the Vezina Wednesday night, was selected 93rd overall in the 2008 draft. The first goalie selected in that lottery, Chet Pickard in the 18th slot, has yet to play in the NHL.

Martin Jones, the hero for the San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup final, was not even drafted, signed instead to a free agent contract by the Los Angeles Kings.

So you see why Evan Fitzpatrick isn’t getting too caught up on who’s ranked where with the NHL Draft kicking off tonight in Buffalo.

Related story:

Players from Newfoundland and Labrador taken in the NHL draft

There are few guarantees to a draft — other than the fact the Toronto Maple Leafs, holders of only their second No. 1 pick in franchise history, will select Auston Matthews — and no one knows this better than Fitzpatrick.

“They’re only rankings,” he said, “and different teams have different rankings. It all doesn’t mean too much.

“It doesn’t matter if you go in the first round, or the seventh round. You’re still getting the same opportunity as any other player.”

Fitzpatrick’s half correct on that front. Higher the draft spot, chances are there’s more money on the table. And make no mistake, the high draft selection will always get a longer look at training camp than the low pick.

But Fitzpatrick isn’t entirely wrong in his assessment, either.

Matt Murray, this year’s Stanley Cup-winning puckstop, went 83rd overall only four years ago.

Fitzpatrick, who played his minor hockey in St. John’s and is now a resident of Lower Sackville, N.S., is the highest-ranked Newfoundlander in the draft.

And his ranking has been all over the map. NHL Central Scouting has Fitzpatrick, who starred for the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season, as the top North American goalie.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie has Fitzpatrick as the 64th ranked player in the draft — in the third round — behind Swedish goalie Filip Gustavsson, Tyler Parsons of the London Knights and the Everett, Wash. Silvertips’ Carter Hart.

Craig Button, TSN’s director of scouting, has Fitzpatrick further down the list, at No. 80, behind Hart, Parsons, Joseph Woll from the U.S. National Development Team program and Gustavsson.

At 6-3 and 220 pounds, Fitzpatrick fits the mould of the new-age goalie — he’s big, and he can move.

He was 18-26 for the Phoenix this season, with a 3.42 goals against average and .896 save percentage.

That last stat might be a bit unnerving to some scouts, some of whom have questioned his consistency over the long haul.

Fitzpatrick was 5-2 for the fourth-place Canadian squad at the world under-18 championship, though he was lit up for seven goals on 30 shots in relief in a 10-3 loss to the host U.S. in the bronze-medal game.

Earlier this season, he played in the BMO CHL Top Prospects game in Vancouver, and stopped all 17 shots he faced while suiting up for Team Cherry.

“This is a very exciting time,” said Fitzpatrick, who left for Buffalo Wednesday.

He said some 20-odd NHL teams have chatted with him, though certainly none have come out and expressed a keen interest.

“You know what they’re like,” he said. “No team wants to show its hand.”

Two other Newfoundlanders are also ranked by Central Scouting. Nathan Noel of St. John’s, who was passed over last June, is ranked 171st, slipping from 136th at midseason. Noel had 21 goals and 57 points for the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs. In the playoffs, Noel registered three goals and 10 assists in 16 games.

Gander’s Jordan Maher is ranked 198th, improving six spots from his mid-term ranking. Playing for the Acadie-Bathurst Titan of the QMJHL, Maher potted 15 goals and added 23 helpers in 68 games. He had one post-season goal.

NHL Central Scouting rankings do not include Europeans, nor goaltenders.

Matthews, the American who played for Marc Crawford in Switzerland last season, will be selected by the Leafs. The Winnipeg Jets, picking second, are expected to nab Finnish sniper Patrick Laine at No. 2.

Torbay resident Mark Hillier, the Jets’ director of amateur scouting, will run the draft table for Winnipeg.

The Columbus Blue Jackets select third, and are expected to go with another Finn, Jesse Puljujarvi.

 

rshort@thetelegram.com

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