Top 10 NCAA drafted goaltending prospects

By DJ Powers

Below is a ranking of the top 10 NCAA goaltenders who have been drafted by NHL teams. To make the list they must have played a minimum of 300 minutes and have started in at least 50 percent of all their team’s games thus far. Several criteria were used in compiling the ranking, among them: overall and in-conference records, current goals against average (GAA), save percentage, number of shutouts and minutes played. All statistics are for all 2003-04 non-exhibition, regular season games played through November 23rd. Each player’s entire collegiate statistics are included as well (overall W-L-T record, shutouts, GAA, save percentage and minutes played by year).

1) JAMES HOWARD (Sophomore, University of Maine)
Drafted in 2003 by the Detroit Red Wings, 2nd Round, 64th Overall

Now in his sophomore season at University of Maine, Howard is once again starting to put up some stellar numbers. He has a 4-1-1 overall record that includes one shutout. Howard ranks ninth in the nation overall (fourth among goaltenders playing a minimum of 300 minutes) with a 1.81 goals against average. He is also tied for ninth in the nation in winning percentage with an impressive .750. His .925 save percentage ranks 15th overall in the nation. Howard, along with senior Frank Doyle, make up arguably the best goaltending tandem in the nation. Howard has played 365 minutes thus far this season for Maine. His in-conference record is equally as impressive as his overall record. Within Hockey East play, he’s thus far posted a very respectable 2-1-1 record. His 2.20 goals against average rank him third among all Hockey East goaltenders in that category. His .908 save percentage rank him tied for sixth among all Hockey East goaltenders. His most memorable outings thus far include his 25 save shutout win over Minnesota at the Maverick Stampede in Omaha on October 10th, as well as a 22 save night to tie Hockey East rival UMass on November 21st at the Mullins Center in Amherst.

YEAR
GP
TOTAL MINUTES
WINS
LOSSES
TIES
S0
GAA
SAVE PERC.
2003-04
6
365:00
4
1
1
1
1.81
.9.25
2002-03
21
1150:51
14
6
0
3
2.45
.916

2) MICHAEL AYERS (Senior, University of New Hampshire)
Drafted in 2000 by the Chicago Blackhawks, 6th Round, 177th Overall

When Michael Ayers leaves New Hampshire this spring, he’ll be leaving as the holder of many UNH goaltending records. The backbone of the Wildcats is off to having another career year. Thus far, Ayers has posted a 6-2-1 overall record that includes two shutouts. He has a 2.43 goals against average and a very respectable .915 save percentage. Ayers had played 518.39 minutes thus far for UNH. His in-conference record is excellent. In Hockey East play, he has a 2-1-1 record. His 2.43 goals against average rank him sixth among all Hockey East netminders. His stellar .925 save percentage ranks him third among all Hockey East goaltenders in that category. His two wins and tie all came in games against top-notch Hockey East foes. On November 7th, Ayers notched a 34 save shutout win against Boston University. It would be his fourth consecutive shutout of the Terriers dating back to the 2002-03 season. The following day on November 8th, Ayers would post a 35 saves win over top-ranked Maine. His only tie thus far came against Boston College on November 12th. On October 11th in the game versus Vermont, Ayers would once again set another new goaltending school record, this time for career shutouts with his ninth.

YEAR
GP
TOTAL MINUTES
WINS
LOSSES
TIES
SO
GAA
SAVE PERC.
2003-04
9
518:39
6
2
1
2
2.43
.915
2002-03
41
2499:05
27
8
6
7
2.18
.926
2001-02
20
1129:15
14
3
1
1
2.44
.915
2000-01
4
25:37
0
0
0
0
4.68
.875

3) CURTIS MCELHINNEY (Junior, Colorado College)
Drafted in 2002 by the Calgary Flames, 6th Round, 176th Overall

Just as Curtis McElhinney’s junior season was off to a roaring start, he was temporarily forced out due to mononucleosis. Prior to illness, McElhinney was backstopping the Tigers against some formidable opponents and putting up terrific numbers in the process. Although he’s only played 365 minutes for the Tigers thus far this season, he has amassed a 4-1-1 overall record that includes one shutout. He also has a 2.47 goals against average along with a .901 save percentage. McElhinney is tied for ninth in the nation in winning percentage at .750. His in-conference numbers are equally impressive. Within WCHA play, he is 2-1-0. His 2.00 goals against average ranks him third among all WCHA netminders, while his .908 save percentage is ranked seventh. McElhinney’s WCHA winning percentage of .667 ranks him tied for fifth in the conference. Among his best outings of the season thus far include a 15 save shutout win over WCHA foe Minnesota State-Mankato on October 31st and a weekend sweep of Alaska-Fairbanks at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks on October 17th and 18th.

YEAR
GP
TOTAL MINUTES
WINS
LOSSES
TIES
SO
GAA
SAVE PERC.
2003-04
6
365:00
4
1
1
1
2.47
.901
2002-03
37
2147:29
25
6
5
4
2.37
.906
2001-02
9
440:42
6
0
1
1
2.04
.918

4) MATTI KALTIAINEN (Junior, Boston College)
Drafted in 2001 by the Boston Bruins, 4th Round, 111th Overall

The Espoo, Finland native has become not only one of the best goaltenders in the NCAA, but he’s also becoming one of the nation’s most worked goaltenders as well. With 706:30 minutes logged thus far this season, Kaltiainen is ranked fourth in the nation in total minutes played. He has started in all but one game for Boston College thus far this season. Kaltiainen has a 6-2-4 overall record. His 2.04 goals against average rank him 12th in the nation. He also has a .895 save percentage. While Kaltiainen’s overall numbers are quite good, his record in conference play is sensational. He has yet to post a loss in Hockey East play, with a 2-0-2 record. His sparkling 1.30 goals against average rank him atop Hockey East in that category. His .934 save percentage rank him third among all Hockey East netminders. Among Kaltiainen’s best games played thus far include a 17 save win over WCHA powerhouse North Dakota at Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks on October 21st and a 23 save win on November 7th, handing conference leader Maine their first loss of the season.

YEAR
GP
TOTAL MINUTES
WINS
LOSSES
TIES
SO
GAA
SAVE PERC.
2003-04
13
706:30
6
2
4
0
2.04
.895
2002-03
30
1843:26
18
9
3
1
2.21
.903
2001-02
18
1080:09
8
10
0
1
2.67
.901

5) BRANDON CRAWFORD-WEST (Freshman, University of Miami-Ohio)
Drafted in 2001 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, 8th Round, 250th Overall

Brandon Crawford-West, a 21-year-old freshman from San Diego, California has helped lead the RedHawks to a share of second place in the CCHA thus far. Crawford-West has an overall record of 6-1-1. He has a 2.58 goals against average and a .903 save percentage. While Crawford-West’s overall record is very good his in-conference record is even better. He has a 5-1-0 record. He also has a 2.48 goals against average, which ranks him seventh in the CCHA and a .903 save percentage, which ranks tied for ninth in the conference. His winning percentage of .812 currently ranks him fifth in the nation. Thus far, Crawford-West has logged 487:33 minutes in net for the RedHawks. Among Crawford-West’s best games thus far is a 32 save win over powerhouse Michigan on October 10th and a sweep of conference rival Alaska-Fairbanks on November 21st and 22nd.

YEAR
GP
TOTAL MINUTES
WINS
LOSSES
TIES
SO
GAA
SAVE PERC.
2003-04
8
487:33
6
1
1
0
2.58
.892

6) BERND BRÜCKLER (Junior, University of Wisconsin)
Drafted in 2001 by the Philadelphia Flyers, 5th Round, 150th Overall

After a dismal season in 2002-03, Bernd Brückler is helping to lead the Badgers to start off the 2003-04 season with a bang. He has an overall record of 5-3-3. He has thus far posted an overall goals against average of 2.72 and a save percentage of .901. While he has good overall numbers, where Brückler has thrived is in conference play. He has a 3-2-3 record in WCHA play. His 2.55 goals against average rank him eighth in the WCHA while his .908 save percentage rank him 6th in the WCHA. His .562 winning percentage ranks him seventh in the WCHA in that category. Brückler’s 683:11 minutes logged rank him ninth in the nation among all goaltenders. Among Brückler’s best performances thus far include a 39 save win over Minnesota on November 15th and a weekend tie with conference rival Colorado College on November 21st and 22nd.

YEAR
GP
TOTAL MINUTES
WINS
LOSSES
TIES
SO
GAA
SAVE PERC.
2003-04
11
683:11
5
3
3
0
2.72
.901
2002-03
24
1358:26
9
11
3
0
2.83
.905
2001-02
18
972:35
6
8
2
1
3.08
.917

7) NATHAN MARSTERS (Senior, RPI)
Drafted in 2000 by the Los Angeles Kings, 5th Round, 165th Overall

At 6’4” and 215lbs. Marsters is one of the biggest college netminders in the nation. He’s also been one of the stories behind Rensselaer’s early season success. Marsters has an overall record of 6-3-1 that includes one shutout. He has a 2.47 goals against average and a .907 save percentage. His conference record shows even better numbers. Within ECAC play, Marsters has a 2-1-1 record. His 2.17 goals against average rank him seventh in the conference while his .921 save percentage rank him eighth in the ECAC. His .625 winning percentage rank him tied for fifth in the ECAC in that category. Marsters has thus far logged 607:26 minutes of ice time. Among Marsters best performances of the season thus far include a 22 save overtime win over Clarkson at Cheel Arena on November 7th and a sweep of WCHA leading St. Cloud State on November 21st and 22nd.

YEAR
GP
TOTAL MINUTES
WINS
LOSSES
TIES
SO
GAA
SAVE PERC.
2003-04
10
607:26
6
3
1
1
2.47
.907
2002-03
24
1285:51
7
15
1
0
3.41
.891
2001-02
28
1627:00
15
9
3
1
2.58
.920
2000-01
28
1631:02
14
13
1
4
2.35
.929

8) ADAM BERKHOEL (Senior, University of Denver)
Drafted in 2000 by the Chicago Blackhawks, 8th Round, 240th Overall

Adam Berkhoel is the second goalie drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks to make the list. Despite a humiliating 8-2 loss at the hands of North Dakota on November 21st, Berkhoel has played some excellent hockey thus far for Denver this season. His overall record is 6-3-0 and includes two shutouts. He has posted a 2.84 goals against average and a .911 save percentage. His in-conference record has suffered as a result of the loss to UND, but is respectable nonetheless. He has a 3-3-0 record in WCHA play. His 3.67 goals against average and .892 save percentage both rank him 10th in the WCHA respectively. His .500 winning percentage rank him tied for eighth in the WCHA. He has thus far logged 505:52 minutes of ice time. Among Berkhoel’s best outings thus far include a 23 save win over Ohio State on October 3rd and a 24 save shutout win over St. Lawrence on October 4th to win the Lefty McFadden Tournament in Dayton, Ohio. Berkhoel also posted a 31 save win over Minnesota at Mariucci Arena on November 1st and a 25 save win over in-state rival Colorado College at World Arena on November 7th.

YEAR
GP
TOTAL MINUTES
WINS
LOSSES
TIES
SO
GAA
SAVE PERC.
2003-04
9
505:52
6
3
0
2
2.84
.911
2002-03
26
1435:53
12
6
4
3
2.30
.908
2001-02
19
1025:56
12
4
1
1
2.34
.917
2000-01
14
693:38
7
4
1
1
2.94
.889

9) JORDAN SIGALET (Junior, Bowling Green State University)
Drafted in 2003 by the Boston Bruins, 7th Round, 209st Overall

If there’s one team in the NCAA that relies heavily on its goaltender, it is Bowling Green. Jordan Sigalet has started every game for the Falcons so far this season and his 800:17 minutes rank him first in the nation in minutes played, earning him the distinction of being the workhorse of the NCAA thus far. Sigalet is also the only goaltender in this ranking with a losing record. Overall he has posted a 3-5-5 record that includes one shutout. Despite an under-500 record, his goals against average and save percentage are quite respectable. He has posted thus far a 2.25 goals against average. His .923 save percentage rank him 16th in the nation in that category. Sigalet’s in-conference record is just below is overall records. In CCHA play, he has posted a 2-4-2 record, which includes his only shutout. His 2.59 goals against average rank him eighth in the CCHA while his .917 save percentage rank him fourth. Among Sigalet’s best outings thus far include a 56 save win over conference rival Notre Dame on October 17th at the Joyce Center, which also set a new BGSU school record for saves made that had stood for 29 years. Also among Sigalet’s best outings thus far was a 36 save tie with ECAC powerhouse Cornell on November 21st. Sigalet is the second Boston Bruins draftee to make the top ten.

YEAR
GP
TOTAL MINUTES
WINS
LOSSES
TIES
SO
GAA
SAVE PERC.
2003-04
14
800:17
3
5
5
1
2.25
.923
2002-03
20
1208:06
6
12
2
0
3.28
.910
2001-02
13
657:22
2
6
2
0
3.47
.909

10) BOBBY GOEPFERT (Sophomore, Providence College)
Drafted in 2002 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, 6th Round, 171st Overall

Goepfert, like Denver’s Adam Berkhoel, has played some terrific hockey this season, despite a bad loss. For Goepfert, the 7-4 loss came from rival Boston College on November 21st. Despite the loss however, Goepfert had made 41 saves in the game. He has posted an overall record of 6-2-1 thus far. But despite a very good winning record, Goepfert possesses a rather mediocre goals against average and save percentage. His overall goals against average is 3.18 while his save percentage is .899. In Hockey East play, the stats are even worse. Despite a respectable 2-2-1 record, Goepfert’s goals against average is a whopping 4.04, while his save percentage is .884. In both of the aforementioned categories, Goepfert ranks near at or at the bottom among all Hockey East netminders. Among Goepfert’s most memorable performances thus far include a 35 save win over New Hampshire on November 14th and a weekend sweep of Minnesota State Mankato at the Midwest Civic Center in Mankato on October 17th and 18th.

YEAR
GP
TOTAL MINUTES
WINS
LOSSES
TIES
SO
GAA
SAVE PERC.
2003-04
10
566:27
6
2
1
0
3.18
.899
2002-03
13
1208:06
6
3
1
1
2.39
.924

Discuss NCAA prospects on Hockey’s Future’s message boards.