Goaltending 101: Leave It Up to the Pros
I’m often asked how I evaluate and assess young goaltenders.
Realistically it’s a very valid question.
A matter of fact very valid, but extremely difficult to formulate.
My answer is usually very complex and circular in nature.
Circular in the sense that I don’t necessarily know the exact answer to that one and ironically it keeps coming back to the essential “look-fors” that I consider important.
Now don’t get me wrong I know the basics of the position and the essential “look fors,” but when it boils right down to it, I always say, I guess you have to leave it up to the professionals.
I can identify general discrepancies in young goaltenders technique and general positioning, but clearly that’s not good enough.
You see that’s why I try to pick the brains of as many goaltending coach’s and consultants as I can.
I try to talk with goaltending coaches from QMJHL teams on a regular basis to ensure my perspectives on young prospects are accurate or that my assessments on tendy’s already in the league is also accurate.
Sure I may know how to evaluate and rank them, but that’s still why I’m trying to learn and improve.
So how the hell do I answer the question?
You can rely on your instincts and experience as a former player, coach and scout, but that’s where it ends.
You can’t fake it and to be brutally honest people need to stop trying.
Every team needs a goaltending coach or instructor.
Every team needs to provide time in practice for their goaltenders to work on technique and fundamentals.
Realistically that needs to happen every practice, but it doesn’t.
I’ve been there and it’s sucks.
If teams aren’t complying with that they are failing these kids.
As a coach I probably failed my goaltenders several times and it’s one regret that I have from my coaching career.
As the years went by I became more confident, but I always tried to have a goaltending instructor on the ice.
Clearly thats why I take the approach to leave it up to the experts.
This is another reason why I have like a million questions for them when I see them at the rink or the press box.
I can only imagine what they’re thinking, but it’s the only way I’m going to get better as a scout and colour analyst.
Asking questions about the position learning and growing isn’t a stretch for goaltending coaches and consultants, they actually do it all the time.
I was blown away seeing how open and transparent they truly are within the goaltending fraternity.
Now they aren’t going to come out and openly criticize or give away secrets.
The bond within the goaltending fraternity is extremely competitive yet very welcoming.
Every goalie coach that I have ever interviewed or talked to are extremely transparent and open to share.
You see sharing is growing, sharing is learning and gaining a different perspective is extremely powerful.
In a position that’s takes incredible focus, technique, athleticism, skating ability, flexibility, body awareness, anticipation reflexes and instincts, goaltenders across the hockey world are always willing to gain the upper hand and help each other to reach their maximum potential.
You really have to admire the goaltending community for being so willing to give back and continue to grow and develop.
Collaboration is a wonderful thing, but every goaltending guru has their own strategies, philosophies and agendas to cover in relation to their clients or stable of goaltenders.
There’s a time to collaborate, but there’s also a time to be extremely ultra-competitive.
The undercurrent of competitiveness, fundamentals and cutting edge innovation continues to drive the the goaltending community.
1. What vital component do you look when observing, assessing and evaluating young goaltenders?
2. What’s the biggest misconception that scouts have about the position and young goaltenders when they are being evaluated?
3. Why does it take longer for goaltenders to mature and develop?
4. Technique, poise, confidence, skating ability, hockey sense anticipation and battle and compete level, what’s the most important factor that people should look for when scouting young goaltenders and why are those aspects sometimes overlook?
To be continued……