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Goalies a rare breed in first round of NHL Draft

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Posted: Monday June 28, 1999 04:40 PM

  Pittsburgh's Tom Barrasso, the No. 5 pick in 1983, has won two Stanley Cups. Brian Babineau/Allsport

By Ryan Hunt, CNN/SI

To this day, Michel Plasse stands alone.

Plasse was selected by the Montreal Canadiens with the first pick in the 1968 Amateur Draft, becoming the first goaltender to be taken at No. 1. And 31 years later, no other goaltender has been picked No. 1.

However, since 1969, when the NHL adopted its current drafting system (from 1963-68 teams sponsored junior clubs to develop players), seeing a goaltender picked in the first round is news.

In the last 30 drafts, 619 players have been picked in the first round. Only 29 have been goaltenders, which translates to 4.7 percent.

In fact, just eight of the 29 goaltenders have been picked in the top 10. And of those, only Roberto Luongo (No. 4, Islanders, 1997) has been selected higher than fifth.

First class
Active NHL goalies drafted in first round
Name Team Year Drafted
Grant Fuhr
Tom Barrasso
Jimmy Waite
Olaf Kolzig
Trevor Kidd
Martin Brodeur
Jocelyn Thibault
Jamie Storr
Eric Fichaud
Dan Cloutier
J-S Giguere
Martin Biron
Marc Denis
STL
PIT
PHO
WAS
FLA
NJ
CHI
LA
NAS
NYR
CGY
BUF
COL
1981
1983
1987
1989
1990
1990
1993
1994
1994
1994
1995
1995
1995
8th by EDM
5th by BUF
8th by CHI
19th by WAS
11th by CGY
20th by NJ
10th by QUE
7th by LA
16th by TOR
26th by NYR
13th by HFD
16th by BUF
25th by COL
 

It's curious that the position that is so important to winning a Stanley Cup isn't coveted more on Draft Day. But, getting drafted in the first round doesn't guarantee the Cup.

Only four -- Michel Larocque, Tom Barrasso, Grant Fuhr and Martin Brodeur -- have hoisted Lord Stanley's Cup in the last 30 years.

Then again, being drafted high doesn't even guarantee success.

Ray Martyniuk (1970) never played in an NHL game. Terry Richardson and Gord Laxton, first-round picks in 1973 and 1975, respectively, won a combined total of seven games. Even Plasse won just 92 games over an 11-year NHL career.

Still, teams have made a more concerted effort to draft goalies higher in the '90s. Seventeen of the 29 first rounders have been taken since 1990, including a record four in 1994.

And of the original 29 first-round netminders, 13 played at least one game in the NHL last season.

 
Scouting slip-ups
Draft position of some of the NHL's prominent goalies
Name Team Year Drafted
Ed Belfour
Curtis Joseph
Dominik Hasek
Nikolai Khabibulin
Arturs Irbe
Guy Hebert
Damian Rhodes
John Vanbiesbrouck
Chris Osgood
Patrick Roy
DAL
TOR
BUF
PHO
CAR
ANA
ATL
NYR
DET
COL
1986
1988
1983
1992
1989
1987
1987
1981
1991
1984
Not drafted
Not drafted
207th by CHI
204th by WIN
196th by MIN
159th by STL
112th by TOR
72nd by NYR
54th by DET
51st by MON

In 1999, the crop of first-round goalies likely will grow with Brian Finley, Maxime Ouellet and Evgeny Konstantinov. None is expected to be drafted in the top five, leaving Plasse alone at the top for at least another year.

In this respect, Dallas' Ed Belfour, this year's Stanley Cup winning goaltender, isn't in the same class as Plasse.

Belfour, after all, wasn't even drafted.


 
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