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Goaltending: Are we up for the fight with Finland?

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04-02-2013, 04:44 PM
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joe89
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Goaltending: Are we up for the fight with Finland?

Finland has been regarded as a powerhouse when it comes to goaltending for a long long time. Sweden's usually had one good goalie at the time, which is good enough for International play, but with underwhelming depth.

So.. Finland's had six goaltenders starting a game this season in the NHL. Sweden's had nine. That's an incredibly flawed stat as every single one of the Finnish goalies is an above average or better starter(three or four arguably world class), while we still only have one full-time starter and a couple of 1a, 1b guys.

---------------

A comparison..

NHL

Sweden:
Lundqvist
Fasth
Lindbäck
Hedberg
Lehner
Markström
Enroth
Gustavsson
Nilstorp

Finland:
Bäckström
Rinne
Rask
Kiprusoff
Niemi
Lehtonen

Their crop is starting to come to age a little as only Rask(26) is under 29 years of age.
Hedberg is old, but other than that Lundqvist at 31 is our oldest goalie, with four guys being younger than Rask.

AHL/ECHL

By my count we have an additional six goaltenders playing pro hockey in North America, which means that 15 of 30 NHL teams have a Swedish goalie signed and playing within the organization already. Those other six are:
Svedberg
Hellberg
Nilsson
Läck
Owuya
Karlsson

Owuya and Karlsson aren't much, but the other four are really good prospects and/or having great seasons.

Finland have another five goalies themselves playing pro in NA:
Aittokallio
Hovinen
Helenius
Rynnäs
Säteri

Other than Aittokallio, probably not guys with a great NA future.

Recently Drafted Prospects(2010-2012) in Europe/CHL/USHL

Sweden:
Dansk
Gustafsson
Ullmark
Lundström
Forsberg
Mattsson
Pettersson-Wentzel

Finland:
Gibson
Korpisalo
Tuohimaa
Kiviaho
Perhonen
Iilahti

Some really good, some decent and some meh for both. A bit early to tell really.

---------------

To take out of this, Finland trumps us big time when it comes to NHL starting goalies which is all that really matters, but from age 25 and under(guys born -88 or later) it seems like we really have an edge in current development. Both in quality and in depth.

How many starters do you think we have in 3-4 years time? Who takes the next step?
And do we take up the fight with the Finns as a goaltending nation?

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04-02-2013, 09:34 PM
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Darth Yoda
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What are the universially excepted reason that Finland has produced so many great goalies? Other than development, has anyone risen the question if pure luck has also played a part? If so, their recent talents looking weaker than ours might be simple logic.

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04-03-2013, 03:27 AM
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Finnpin
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Luck? It's Finland you are talking about, we are like Donald Ducks

One of the biggest reason of the Finnish success is good goaltender coaches and maybe the Finnish mentality suits well for a goalie.

Also guys like Bäckström, Rinne and Niemi were quite late bloomers/signings to NHL. Nobody outside Finland didn't knew much about these guys untill they went to NA. So that said... having a better prospects now doesn't necessarily mean one nation will be having better top front goalies in the future.


Last edited by Finnpin: 04-03-2013 at 03:33 AM.
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04-03-2013, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finnpin View Post
Luck? It's Finland you are talking about, we are like Donald Ducks

One of the biggest reason of the Finnish success is good goaltender coaches and maybe the Finnish mentality suits well for a goalie.

Also guys like Bäckström, Rinne and Niemi were quite late bloomers/signings to NHL. Nobody outside Finland didn't knew much about these guys untill they went to NA. So that said... having a better prospects now doesn't necessarily mean one nation will be having better top front goalies in the future.
First of all, the Finland angle was just one I liked to make this thread. You want a measuring stick, you take the one Finland has made for us/the rest of the hockey world. Take it as a compliment.

Sweden didn't have goaltending prospects at all for some time. Just the odd natural talent. You need depth to get top end depth. Minus Lundqvist, all our middle-aged goalies are guys who blossomed late when they got a goalie coach to work with full time. Sweden was long behind with goalie coaches. And picking up things at 25 is a lot harder than at 15, something the current wave of prospects have had the luxury of. It's a guessing game, but you need a base to stand on and that base has slowly been built for 8-9 years now and is starting to pay off. Even for the odd older guy like Fasth.

---

Those are just in the span of 4 years(88-91):
Lindbäck
Enroth
Markström
Lehner
Läck
Nilsson
Svedberg
Hellberg
Owuya
Eriksson
Pettersson-Wentzel

This is talent we could've spread over a 15 year period before. The 92-95 pool is similar in a depth. So realistically when you plant trees like that, you're bound to get some cherries.

Guys who I will be surprised if they don't make it:
Markström
Lehner

Good chance to get there:
Lindbäck
Läck
Hellberg
Nilsson

Moderate chance:
Enroth
Svedberg

Swedish starters in three years realistically, imo:
Lundqvist
Fasth
Lehner
Markström

So in three years we go from one starter and a bunch of 1a, 1b's to four starters and probably another couple of backups/1a,1b guys. That's pretty good.

Continuing with the Finland theme, in three years Kiprusoff is 40 and Bäckström is 38 and possibly stepping down from the throne. But let's say that Rämö is starter material and sticks. That leaves Finland with 5, Sweden with 4, with the depth probably on our side. Then there's another step from being a starter to being an all-star, of course. So it's not a fair matchup currently, but I like were we are heading.

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04-03-2013, 10:43 AM
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It will be pretty even and probably very soon and you might have the better top talent after some years but like I said goalies are different breed and you never know about these prospects will they develop to be a starters and there always might come more "late bloomers" (from both country).

Rask and Lehtonen were the only top prospects from Finland. All the other starters entered the league more from a "side door".

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04-03-2013, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finnpin View Post
It will be pretty even and probably very soon and you might have the better top talent after some years but like I said goalies are different breed and you never know about these prospects will they develop to be a starters and there always might come more "late bloomers" (from both country).

Rask and Lehtonen were the only top prospects from Finland. All the other starters entered the league more from a "side door".
Definitely. Very few goalies are considered top prospects from the day they are drafted. Off the top of my head only Markström, Lehner and Dansk among the Swedes. That's something I really like about goalie prospects, even if you're undrafted or older there's still a good chance to prove yourself and it won't be held against you. And if you look at a guy like Lehtonen, it has taken him time to reach his full potential despite being a lottery pick.

But still, the best measuring stick we have for the future are the current youngsters and what they do.

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04-04-2013, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe89 View Post
First of all, the Finland angle was just one I liked to make this thread. You want a measuring stick, you take the one Finland has made for us/the rest of the hockey world. Take it as a compliment.

Sweden didn't have goaltending prospects at all for some time. Just the odd natural talent. You need depth to get top end depth. Minus Lundqvist, all our middle-aged goalies are guys who blossomed late when they got a goalie coach to work with full time. Sweden was long behind with goalie coaches. And picking up things at 25 is a lot harder than at 15, something the current wave of prospects have had the luxury of. It's a guessing game, but you need a base to stand on and that base has slowly been built for 8-9 years now and is starting to pay off. Even for the odd older guy like Fasth.

---

Those are just in the span of 4 years(88-91):
Lindbäck
Enroth
Markström
Lehner
Läck
Nilsson
Svedberg
Hellberg
Owuya
Eriksson
Pettersson-Wentzel

This is talent we could've spread over a 15 year period before. The 92-95 pool is similar in a depth. So realistically when you plant trees like that, you're bound to get some cherries.

Guys who I will be surprised if they don't make it:
Markström
Lehner

Good chance to get there:
Lindbäck
Läck
Hellberg
Nilsson

Moderate chance:
Enroth
Svedberg

Swedish starters in three years realistically, imo:
Lundqvist
Fasth
Lehner
Markström

So in three years we go from one starter and a bunch of 1a, 1b's to four starters and probably another couple of backups/1a,1b guys. That's pretty good.

Continuing with the Finland theme, in three years Kiprusoff is 40 and Bäckström is 38 and possibly stepping down from the throne. But let's say that Rämö is starter material and sticks. That leaves Finland with 5, Sweden with 4, with the depth probably on our side. Then there's another step from being a starter to being an all-star, of course. So it's not a fair matchup currently, but I like were we are heading.
You could up Läck on your list, together with Lehner and Markström. I am not evaluating their skill, but more the Canuck's situation.
Surgery and Loungo not being traded is why he is not in NHL this season. He will be Schneider's back-up next season, his development, other competition and cap situation suggest that.

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04-04-2013, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by LiveeviL View Post
You could up Läck on your list, together with Lehner and Markström. I am not evaluating their skill, but more the Canuck's situation.
Surgery and Loungo not being traded is why he is not in NHL this season. He will be Schneider's back-up next season, his development, other competition and cap situation suggest that.
I would've done it if he didn't miss almost an entire year this season, I'm a big Läck fan. When I say "make it" I mean being a starter down the line, I could've been clearer with that. Otherwise Lindbäck and Enroth would've been in that group aswell.

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04-04-2013, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finnpin View Post
Luck? It's Finland you are talking about, we are like Donald Ducks

One of the biggest reason of the Finnish success is good goaltender coaches and maybe the Finnish mentality suits well for a goalie.

Also guys like Bäckström, Rinne and Niemi were quite late bloomers/signings to NHL. Nobody outside Finland didn't knew much about these guys untill they went to NA. So that said... having a better prospects now doesn't necessarily mean one nation will be having better top front goalies in the future.
I dont have any doubt Finland had better knowledge about how to produce top-end goalies, but i must say that the late bloomer part in your post might point to some level of luck there as well.
If you dont keep just as lucky, and we're producing the better young talents, Sweden is bound to surpass Finland in the goalie department.

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04-07-2013, 06:22 AM
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A team should sign Joacim Eriksson.


Last edited by Hockeyfrilla: 04-07-2013 at 08:28 AM.
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