Puck prospectus with a great article about the volatility of goaltenders in the draft. Essentially, while there is a slight advantage to picking goaltenders in rounds 1-3, it is much smarter to spend higher picks on position players.
Well as a Flyers fan I'd like to see them start drafting goalies in the first 3 rounds because they rarely do so and so far haven't had much luck in the latter rounds. In general I prefer a skater in the first, but I am not sure there is much difference in taking a goalie over a skater in the 2nd or 3rd rounds.
I think with most goalie prospects I agree that the first 3 rounds are poor use of an asset.
However those guys like Luongo, Fleury, Lehtonen, DiPietro... I can agree if they are a clear cut Top 3 or 5 talent in the whole draft then they should go high....otherwise just hope that a later round Sateri or Tokarski works out...
I actually sat down and went over the last 30 drafts, and I agree (with a caveat).
Goalies identified as future "franchise goalies" tend to at the very least become starters, provided they stay healthy. When I say "franchise goalies," I don't mean guys who are ranked to go in the first round, but rather goalies who are top-10 talents. Picking goalies in the top-10 is a suprisingly good way to get a starter. Here's a list of goaltender picked in the top-10 since 1980:
Trevor Kidd (actually went 11th, but I'll include him because he was hyped big-time)
As you can see, if they stay healthy, goalies drafted in the top-10 have historically had a more-than-reasonable chance of being a starting goalie. We can argue all day over whether Blackburn, Krahn, and Finley could have been starters (I'd personally lean toward the "no" side for 2/3), but their careers were profoundly impacted by injury and we'll never know for sure. That leaves Storr (decent four-year span, then fell off the map), Waite (outright bust), and Montoya (incomplete, showing signs of promise of late). Again, they're not all "franchise goalies," but many of them are/were considered legitimate starters even if they fell short of the "franchise" mark. Furthermore, the odds of getting a starter in the top-10 are better than hitting on a top-6 forward or a top-4 defenseman, which makes goalies with the "franchise tag" attractive picks.
Once you exit the top-10, picking goalies becomes a massive crapshoot. I only looked at the 11-60 slot, but I found that there was no correlation between draft position and future performance in those slots. There were awesome goalies sprinkled throughout the range, but most were outright busts regardless of whether they were picked 17th or 59th.