2020 NHL Entry Draft: Top Goaltender Options for the Predators

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 7: Connor Ingram #39 of the Nashville Predators makes the save against Jimmy Huntington #47 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during an NHL Prospects game at Ford Ice Center on September 7, 2019 in Antioch, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 7: Connor Ingram #39 of the Nashville Predators makes the save against Jimmy Huntington #47 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during an NHL Prospects game at Ford Ice Center on September 7, 2019 in Antioch, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Now that the NHL has crowned this year’s champion, we can begin going in depth on the NHL draft. This draft will be a significant one for the Nashville Predators.

This offseason will be one of the craziest in recent memory for the Nashville Predators. Regardless of how you spin the information, the team finds itself amid a mini rebuild.

We are a week away from the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. The Predators hold the 11th pick overall in the first round.

While the Predators have some pressing needs at forward and defense due to General Manager David Poile’s “youth movement” that may drain their prospect pool, goaltending isn’t a first-round priority.

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But that isn’t to say that the Predators shouldn’t be thinking about the future.

With Pekka Rinne likely facing retirement after this upcoming season, Connor Ingram should move to the NHL as the back-up to Juuse Saros during the 2021-22 season. At least that’s the perceived plan.

Other current prospects in the system include Troy Grosenick, Ethan Haider, and Tomas Vomacka.

Poile also recently announced that the Predators had signed Devin Cooley to a two-year entry-level contract.

Cooley is possibly being groomed to be the back up to Grosenick for the Milwaukee Admirals once Ingram moves to the NHL roster.

According to the Predators news release, Cooley appeared in 32 NCAA games for the University of Denver, posting a 1.93 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.

With all of this movement in the goaltender prospect pool, the Predators need to consider picking up a goaltender or two in the draft.

I’m confident that the Predators will undoubtedly use the 11th pick to choose a forward. The first round is rife with shooting forwards of which the Predators desperately need.

Since European goaltender Yaroslav Askarov is projected to be the 10th-overall pick and we know that the Predators aren’t picking a goaltender, I have identified three likely candidates.

With two picks in the 2nd round, two picks in the 3rd round, a 5th round pick, and a 6th round pick, one of these goaltenders should be on their radar provided they are still available.

Nico Daws

Nico Daws is the top-ranked North American goaltender, playing in the OHL for the Guelph Storm. Daws has played for the Storm for three seasons.

According to NHL.com, Daws went 23-8-6 last season and led all OHL goaltenders with a .924 save percentage. He tallied five shutouts and was also named OHL goaltender of the year.

Here is his scouting report from his NHL.com player profile:

"Very calm, relaxed, and composed. Solid positionally and technically sound. Smart at reading and reacting to situations with efficient and controlled body movements. Gives his team a chance to win every game."

Daws went undrafted in 2019 and put in lots of work to make sure that a team drafted him this year.

After viewing his highlight reels, you can see that his hard work paid off.

If the Predators are looking for a higher-ranked prospect goaltender, they may want to consider using one of their second-round picks to acquire Daws as I doubt that he will make it out of the 2nd round.

Drew Commesso

Drew Commesso is the next ranked North American goaltender coming into the draft. Commesso played for the USA Hockey National Development Team.

Per NHL.com, Commesso’s record last season was 18-7-1. He posted a GAA just above two goals per game, a .920 save percentage, and three shutouts.

Here’s what Mike Morreale of NHL.com had to say about Commesso:

"He presents excellent instincts, quickness and a calming presence in tense situations. Commesso could be one of the steals of the 2020 draft class if developed properly."

Commesso could be a third-round or later pick for the Predators if they pass on Daws. He’s currently a freshman at Boston University, and will need some development to bring his game to the next level.

With the Predators helping with his development, Commesso could grow into a great goaltender that will help them down the road as players cycle in and out of the NHL and affiliate team rosters.

Samuel Hlavaj

According to his NHL.com profile, Samuel Hlavaj, ranked 3rd among North American goaltenders, was ranked in the top-five for all QMJHL goaltenders last season.

Hlavaj played in 39 games last season and recorded a .915 save percentage, a 2.25 goals-against average, and three shutouts.

Al Jensen of NHL Central Scouting said of Hlavaj:

"Has good pro size with quickness and athleticism. He’s capable of challenging shooters with very good net coverage and angle play."

Like Daws, Hlavaj was also passed over in last year’s NHL Draft, but looks to prove himself worthy of a shot at an NHL roster.

Hlavaj’s NHL.com profile says that he models his game after Stanley Cup champion Andrei Vasilevskiy, a great goaltender to emulate.

Hlavaj, like Commesso, will also need some development time if selected. He will also be a later round pick.

If the Predators look to add Hlavaj, it would probably be a 5th or 6th round pick.

Related Story. NHL Entry Draft: Best Options for Nashville Predators in 1st Round. light

The Predators’ roster will most likely look very different when the new season starts.

Moving prospects up to the NHL roster creates a domino effect for their affiliate teams, most notably the Milwaukee Admirals who were the top team in the AHL last season before the season was canceled

With the importance of good goaltending at the forefront of today’s NHL game, the Predators need to make sure that they make wise decisions when replenishing their goaltending prospects.