2019 Nashville Predators Prospect Rankings: The Goalies

The organization’s goalies have a clear pecking order.

Last week I highlighted who I believe are Nashville’s top 25 prospects heading into the 2019-20 season. This was a list constructed from a few categories: my own scouting, my belief in each prospect’s potential and closeness to the NHL, and the model that I built to measure on-ice success relative to age and league. You can explore those rankings at the link below:

2019 Top 25 Prospects

There were moments in those rankings where a prospect’s position differed from the output that my model created. So, I want to breakdown the pipeline by position to explore further what said model found. In my introduction for this series (found here), I noted that this model will include all players in the organization outside of Nashville, regardless of age or contract status. As such, players like Matt Donovan (veteran) or Hunter Garlent (AHL contract) are included.

For goalies, as highlighted in this post, below are the numbers that were included and weighed when building my model:

GSgames started in 2018-19
SV %save percentage
GSAAgoals-saved above average. This measures how many more or less goals a player stopped than the average league goalie given the amount of shots they faced
QS %quality start percentage. This is a measure of how many starts a goalie posted a better save percentage than this league-average rate in compared to their total number of starts
Line 'x'this is the same multiplier mentioned above to account for backups versus starters
NHLethis rate was constructed using the framework of Perry’s stated above to normalize how close players are to the NHL. For instance, Ethan Haider may have stronger numbers than Niclas Westerholm, but the latter’s above average stats in a league more similar to the NHL help widen his edge

Throughout this process, if you have any questions about these measurements, feel free to ask, and I’m happy to explain.

My model was fairly consistent when ranking the organization’s goalies. Below I’ll display those outputs and provide a quick note on each player.

Troy Grosenick

It’s no surprise that Grosenick is the clear frontrunner on this list. He was arguably the best goalie in the AHL last season, with a staggering 20.99 goals saved above average, and will likely again be a top performer for the Admirals in 2019-20.

His GSAA wasn’t the only number that boosted his output: a 73.3% quality start rate (a start with a save percentage above the league average) was near tops of the league, too.

Connor Ingram

Ingram came to the organization in a curious trade shortly before the draft this summer and immediately became the top prospect in net. Despite a bumpy 2018-19 season off-ice, Ingram posted an impressive 0.667 win rate, saved 11.41 goals above average, and posted six shutouts.

Expect him to challenge for an even split of games with Grosenick in Milwaukee this season.

Niclas Westerholm

Westerholm didn’t see the ice a ton at the top Finnish level last season with just 12 starts, but he performed well with two shutouts, a good save percentage, and a 66.7% quality start rate.

The Finn will start full-time for SaiPa this season and should perform as one of the better starters in the Liiga before coming to North America for 2020-21.

Konstantin Volkov

Volkov is often forgotten in the organization’s pipeline, but he’s still just 21 years of age. 2018-19 challenged him with a trade, injury, and a backed-up depth chart, but his numbers in limited showings were good.

Despite only one credited win in eight appearances, Volkov’s save percentage boosted him up the rankings. He’ll challenge for more ice time as a backup for Ugra in 2019-20.

Ethan Haider

Haider, a 2019 draft pick, was arguably the best rookie goaltender in the NAHL last season with 19 wins in 37 starts. Combine that with three shutouts, a 0.926 save percentage and a remarkable 15.00 goals-saved above average: Haider could turn out to be a savvy pick.

He’ll go for Sioux City in the USHL this season before heading to Clarkson University in 2020-21.

Tomas Vomacka

Many of you expected Vomacka to rank higher and that’s fair; he’s likely the best prospect talent-wise behind Ingram. But a rocky freshman campaign at UConn knocked him down a tad. The Huskies struggled to score and play good defense, but Vomacka found his stride towards the end of the season.

Vomacka will start for the Huskies in 2019-20, and I anticipate vast improvement.

Milan Kloucek

Kloucek struggled in net for one of the worst teams in Czechia last season. Despite being the better of their two goalies, he was often shortchanged with starts ,and four wins all season won’t help.

He’ll start the season in the Chance Liga (the second tier of Czech hockey) for development and should fare as one of the better goalies league-wide.

Ken Appleby

Appleby was signed to an AHL contract this summer and will likely spend most of his time in Florida for the Everblades. He split time between the AHL and ECHL last season, faring much better in the latter. However, in the AHL, his save percentage and goals saved above average mark were putrid.

Cam Johnson

Johnson was brought in under similar circumstances to Appleby and is likely better set in the ECHL this season. His 0.872 save percentage in the AHL last year is unmistakably bad and the 26.04 more goals he allowed than the average AHL netminder doesn’t help matters at all.

All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com, pick224.com, theahl.com, vhlru.ru, liiga.fi, nahl.com, uconnhuskies.com, and hokej.cz.