Maple Leafs goaltending pipeline

By Adam Gonsalves






Between 1998 and 2004, like clockwork, the Toronto Maple Leafs have used<br />their third round pick in each Entry Draft to select

Between 1998 and 2004, like
clockwork, the Toronto Maple Leafs have used their third round pick in each
Entry Draft to select a goaltender (the only exception being 1999, when instead
of drafting a goalie, they signed Sebastien Centomo as an undrafted free
agent). Not all have worked out very
well, with Jamie Hodson and Sebastien Centomo among those not expected back
with the organization next year. But
one of those third round picks, Mikael Tellqvist, is poised to take the reigns
when Ed Belfour retires.

 

Tellqvist was drafted in
2000 and has faced enormous pressure from the moment he was drafted, but
seems to have weathered it fairly well.
The third goalie on the 2002 Swedish Olympic team, Tellqvist has worked
hard to adjust to the North American style game. His hard work seemed to finally pay off in 2003-04 as he was the
first call up to the big club, often getting the start ahead of veteran backup
Trevor Kidd. In fact, he played so well
that GM John Ferguson Jr. has all but said that he will be getting the backup
job behind Belfour this season. Though
no longer classified as a prospect, Tellqvist is still learning and growing as
a player. Most project him as an elite backup or average starter. Whether he has the skills to become a
legitimate No. 1 goalie in the NHL remains to be seen, but regardless, he
currently represents the best hope that Toronto has for the future.

 

Below is a review of the
prospects that Toronto has between the pipes beyond Tellqvist, in order of
potential.

 

·        
Justin Pogge, age 18
– Drafted in the 3rd Round by Toronto in 2004

Year

Team

League

GP

W

L

T

Min

GA

SA

SO

GAA

SV%

2003-04

Prince
George

WHL

44

17

18

2

2271

107

966

3

2.83

0.900

 

The Leafs first pick in the 2004 entry draft, Justin
Pogge looks very promising. He posted
very good numbers for Prince George in 2003-04 and was named Rookie of the Year
by the team. Initial struggles in the
first half of the season had his rankings low, but a strong second half vaulted
him to the No. 8 ranked North American goalie by Central Scouting. Leafs Director of Amateur Scouting Barry
Trapp is very high on Pogge, but he is still an
unknown quantity. Next season will
really determine his true potential as he will have a starting job with Prince
George, which is looking to rebound from another disappointing season.

 

 

·        
Todd Ford, age 20 –
Drafted in the 3rd round by Toronto in 2002

Year

Team

League

GP

W

L

T

Min

GA

SA

SO

GAA

SV%

2000-01

Swift Current

WHL

20

12

4

2

1066

53

465

0

2.98

0.886

2001-02

Swift Current

WHL

37

18

12

3

2003

99

909

2

2.96

0.891

2002-03

Swift Current

WHL

28

12

9

5

1588

71

708

2

2.68

0.9

2002-03

Prince George

WHL

17

4

9

2

936

70

614

0

4.49

0.886

2003-04

Prince George

WHL

28

8

14

4

1480

82

793

0

3.32

.897

2003-04

Vancouver

WHL

10

1

7

1

570

33

306

0

3.47

0.892

 

Todd Ford was sent to the Vancouver Giants at the
2003-04 WHL trade deadline after future Leafs teammate Justin Pogge unseated
him from the starting job in Prince George, and Ford subsequently failed to
earn the starting job with the Gaints against fellow 20-year-old Aaron
Sorochan, who played the majority of minutes in the play-offs.

 

Ford’s underwhelming play in the 2003-04 campaign
left some surprised that the Leafs signed the lanky goaltender in June, and he
may have the lack of goaltending depth in the Leafs system to thank for his
good fortune. Expect Ford to start in Memphis of the CHL or back up J-F
Racine in St.John’s (AHL) this fall. Either way, Ford has a lot to prove as a
prospect for Toronto.

 

 

·        
Jean-Francois
Racine, age 22 – Drafted in the 3rd round by Toronto in 2000

Year

Team

League

GP

W

L

T

Min

GA

SA

SO

GAA

SV%

1999-00

Drummondville

QMJHL

14

6

0

1

3.28

0.881

2000-01

Drummondville

QMJHL

27

26

3

4

3.28

0.894

2001-02

Drummondville

QMJHL

29

30

3

2

3.43

0.892

2002-03

Memphis

CHL

19

8

2

0

2.69

0.910

2003-04

St.John’s

AHL

4

5

0

1

2.90

0.915

 

Racine is a player that the organization still holds
out hope for as he has shown steady improvement in his game for several
seasons. At 22, he still has a chance
of someday making it to the big club.
His past few starts in St. John’s have certainly earned him a vote of
confidence from Coach Doug Shedden. He
will most likely graduate to St. John’s next season full time and may share the
starting job with rookie goaltender Todd Ford.

 

Leaving the organization

 

Sebastien Centomo, 23, was signed as an undrafted free agent
in 1999 out of the Quebec league.
For many years, some thought he would be the goalie of the future that
Toronto had been waiting for. He seemed
to be rocketing to a sure fire job with the parent club, when suddenly his play
dropped off. Centomo’s contract is also
up at the end of this season and it is not expected that he will be offered a
contract.

 

Jamie Hodson, 24, was drafted in the third round by
Toronto in 1998. He has not developed the way the Leafs had hoped, suffering
numerous knee injuries early in his career, and watching fellow prospects
Centomo and Tellqvist surpass him on the depth charts as he rehabbed his knees.   Hodson
spent the last couple of years bouncing back and forth between the AHL and the
ECHL, never being able to land a permanent job in St. John’s, where the Leafs
organization seemed committed to giving Tellqvist the majority of the
AHL minutes. With his contract coming up for renewal this offseason, it is
not expected that Hodson will receive an offer from Toronto.

 

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2004 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate
without written permission of the editorial staff.